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SEATTLE – Fresh off spending more than two hours winding his way in front of a parade crowd that surpassed the population of Seattle, Pete Carroll was ready for the postseason to finally arrive.
Perhaps Carroll was so prepared for a break because he believes there is very little the Seattle Seahawks need heading into the offseason.
"I don't see anything that we need to add. We just have to get better," Carroll said. "These players know that they got better all the way to the last game of the season. That's always out there for us and that will continue to be our focus."
Carroll and his team were feted in grand fashion on Wednesday, enjoying the first championship parade for a team in one of the four major sports in the city of Seattle since 1979. Seattle officials estimated the crowd along the parade route at 700,000 while owner Paul Allen, addressing a celebration at CenturyLink Field, said it was 1 million fans that crammed downtown streets.
Carroll was at the front of the parade and later was leading the charge that this team he helped put together is not expecting to be a one-year wonder.
"They have come together to do something very special and it's not just one year," Carroll told the crowd. "We're just getting warmed up if you know what I'm talking about."
That means Carroll doesn't believe the Seahawks need to make major offseason additions as they did a year ago when Seattle signed defensive linemen Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel and Michael Bennett in free agency and traded for Percy Harvin. Seattle will continue to mine the draft for gems like those they have found in the past and look at free agency but Carroll said they are very comfortable with the roster they have moving forward.
"The priority is for us to get back to work and work really hard again. That's going to be more important. It's not going to be something from the outside of us. We have what we need, we just need to get back to work when the time comes with the right attitude and the right focus. That's all I'm concerned about."
It appears Seattle's free agency focus will be on trying to retain players on its current roster that could be coveted by others. Wide receiver Golden Tate and Bennett will both be free agents in the offseason and both expressed their desire to return to Seattle.
Tate is at the end of his rookie contract, while Bennett gambled on a one-year deal with Seattle last offseason and now could be in line for a significant pay increase after a standout season with a team-high 8½ sacks in the regular season and another 1½ in the playoffs. Bennett became the interior pass rusher that Carroll has sought since his arrival in Seattle and part of a defensive line rotation that caused havoc.
"I want to be back here 100 percent," Bennett said. "I love the team. I love my teammates. Pete does a great job letting us play. I want to be a part of that. I know we can go back and win a Super Bowl again with all of these guys."
Tate was Seattle's leading receiver this season, his fourth with the team after being a second-round pick in 2010 as part of Carroll's first draft class. Tate said he would consider accepting a "little" less money for a chance to stay with the Seahawks.
"In my eyes I would rather stay and play in a great organization, in a great city, around great people, around great teammates for a little less than go to a crappy city and win a ball game every now and then and be miserable for six months and have a fan base that doesn't care about the sport," Tate said. "You've got to give a little or take a little, whatever. We'll see how it works out. Hopefully, it does work out. I think I've done everything in my power to earn the trust and respect of this organization."
Carroll said Seattle will go into the offseason very healthy, the only lingering concern being a possible surgery on the toe of left tackle Russell Okung, who was injured in Week 2 against San Francisco and aggravated it later in the season. Harvin came out of the Super Bowl fine with his hip and now gets an entire offseason to get healthy.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org