RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Friends and fans in Seattle weren't the only ones to notice Pete Carroll didn't draft hometown hero and USC star Taylor Mays for the Seahawks.
Mays was picked in the second round Friday by the San Francisco 49ers and passed over by his old college coach.
"I definitely thought from the relationship that we have — from the things that he had told me about what I needed to be, what the draft process is, things that I needed to do — I felt he told me the complete opposite of the actions that he took, which was definitely alarming," Mays said during a conference call.
Not only was the former star at Seattle's O'Dea High School miffed Carroll didn't draft him, Mays was further frustrated that the Seahawks instead drafted Texas safety Earl Thomas. Thomas is younger, less experienced and less familiar to Carroll.
"There were things he told me I needed to do as a football player versus the actions he took and who he took as a safety," Mays said. "I understand it's a business, but with it being a business, honesty is all I'm asking for."
The 49ers took the speedy, 6-foot-3, 230-pounder with the 49th overall pick. The 22-year-old Mays started all but two games in his career for the Trojans and Carroll. He was an All-American at USC, though his 2009 season fell short of lofty expectations.
He was a 2005 high school All-American and All-State star at O'Dea. He was also a two-time state sprint champion in track for the Fighting Irish.
His dad, Stafford Mays, was a defensive lineman at Washington in 1978 and '79, who then played in the NFL for St. Louis and Minnesota from 1980 to '88.
Carroll says he doesn't blame Mays for being mad at him, that his "heart sunk when he didn't get picked earlier." He said he hasn't talked to his former Trojan, but that one of the members of his Seahawks coaching staff did on Friday.
"First off, I love Taylor. I love the player that he is," Carroll said Friday night. "We were thinking we had a terrific chance to get him somewhere. We didn't think Earl was going to get to us. So we jumped to that opportunity there. Earl is an incredible player.
"I'd like to pick all my guys, but it just didn't work out. And unfortunately for Taylor, it was a hard day for him. His expectations were very, very high. And mine, too. So I feel for him."
Carroll laughed and said he knows Mays will carry a chip on his shoulder, especially into the two NFC West games each season between San Francisco and Seattle.
"He's a remarkably competitive guy, and prideful ... (but) he might want to wait a couple days before he talks to me," Carroll said with a wry smile.
"Nah, I love him to death. I know how competitive he is. And actually I don't blame him for being (angry). I would probably be surprised if it was something other than that."
STRINGER'S LEGACY: Korey Stringer always used to say, "Don't talk about it, be about it."
Kelci Stringer has taken her late husband's words to heart.
The widow of the former Minnesota Vikings' Pro Bowl offensive tackle has partnered with the NFL and the University of Connecticut to open the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn's Neag School of Education.
Stringer, the Minnesota Vikings' Pro Bowl offensive tackle, died during training camp in 2001 at the age of 27 from complications due to heat stroke.
Kelci Stringer said during a news conference at Radio City Music Hall before the NFL draft Friday that since her husband's death people have often reached out to her with stories of athletes who died from heat-related illnesses.
She never quite understood why, until one day when she said to herself that someone needed to do something to prevent what happened to Korey from happening to others.
"Finally, I realized that someone was me."
The NFL, along with Gatorade, is providing financial support.
"The health and wellness of players at all levels of competition is of great importance to the NFL," said Garry Gertzog, senior vice president of business affairs for the NFL.
Doug Casa, professor of kinesiology at UConn and the lead researcher for the institute, said despite increased awareness over the years of the dangers of heat stroke and sudden death in sports, the problem is getting worse.
If the past 35 years are broken into five-year blocks, the worst segment for such deaths has been the past five years. Casa said there have been twice as many deaths in that span than was the average for previous five-year blocks.
"Our goal is the eradication of sudden heat death in organized sports in America," he said.
Casa said while the NCAA and NFL have taken steps toward achieving his goal, much more needs to be done, especially at the high school level where many states have no guidelines for coaches to follow when it comes to the length and frequency of practices in the late summer.
Casa also said less than half the high schools in America have certified athletic trainers on staff.
The Korey Stringer Institute will work to change that.
"I would like Korey's legacy to be about life and saving lives," Kelci Stringer said.
SMART CHOICE: Tim Tebow is the fifth winner of the Campbell Trophy to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
The quarterback who helped Florida win two national titles was the surprise No. 25 pick of the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
The William V. Campbell Trophy is awarded to the nation's top scholar-athlete by the National Football Foundation.
"Tim Tebow is a once in a lifetime student-athlete," NFF president Steve Hatchell said in a statement Friday. "Whether it's his 3.66 GPA, his countless hours of community service or his Heisman Trophy, Tim has proven that he'll be successful in any environment."
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner "has all the traits you're looking for in terms of toughness, competitiveness. He's intelligent. He's won a lot of games. He's a leader. He works hard. He's got all the intangibles you look for in a player at that position."
Last year's Campbell Trophy winner, center Alex Mack of California, was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 21st pick of the first round. The other Campbell/first-round picks were QB Peyton Manning (No. 1, Colts, 1998); OT Matt Stinchcomb (No. 18, Raiders, 1999); and QB Chad Pennington (No. 18, Jets in 2000).
SAY WHAT? A sampling of comments from coaches and GMs following their team's first-round picks Thursday night:
— "We're addressing positions, not just with Band-Aids, but plugging them pretty good." Lions coach Jim Schwartz on No. 2 pick, Ndamukong Suh, and No. 30 pick, RB Jahvid Best.
— "This guy has a tremendous motor. ... He's very powerful, he's productive, he's explosive and he's versatile." — Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland on No. 28 pick, DL Jared Odrick.
— "As I made the comparison to basketball the other day, to me he's like a 7-footer who can play." — Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt on No. 26 pick, DT Dan Williams, who is 6-3, 327 pounds and will move to NT.
— "This guy wants to be the best left tackle in the NFL. He might want to be the best left tackle ever. He's got a presence about him." — Seahawks GM John Schneider on No. 6 pick, OT Russell Okung.
— "We think the guy has the biggest upside of any player in the draft. That's how we feel about this guy. We feel the sky is the limit." — Giants GM Jerry Reese on No. 15 pick DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who played one season at South Florida.
— "I was here when we drafted L.T., and I know how excited I was that day. I'm equally excited to get Ryan here now." — Chargers coach Norv Turner after team traded up for No. 12 pick and chose RB Ryan Mathews.
— "I've had a lot of questions about him at No. 10, and I completely understand it. I am not trying to win a popularity contest. I understand that people are going to have questions. I'm about winning a Super Bowl." — Jaguars GM Gene Smith on surprising No. 10 choice, DT Tyson Alualu.
HEISMAN FACTOR: Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow became the third pair of Heisman Trophy winners to be chosen in the same draft: Bradford was the No. 1 pick by St. Louis; Tebow the No. 25 pick by Denver. The other Heisman winners to go in the same draft were: Desmond Howard (No. 4, Washington, 1992) and Ty Detmer (No. 230, Green Bay, 1992); and Reggie Bush (No. 1, New Orleans, 2006) and Matt Leinart (No. 10, Arizona, 2006).
AP Sports Writers Richard Rosenblatt and Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.