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Pete Carroll: ‘It was a really big deal being’ in New England, but I’ve moved on

10.10.12 at 4:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Pete Carroll will go against his old team this weekend when the Patriots visit Seattle. It’ll be the first time Carroll — who coached New England from 1997 through 1999 before moving on to a stint at USC — will face his old team as a head coach, and he said Wednesday that while he relishes an opportunity to go “against people that I like and that I know” like Bill Belichick and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, it will still be a “regular game” for him.

“It’s a regular game for me that I look forward to because of coach Belichick and [Tom] Brady and the relationship with Robert. I’ve always liked playing against people that I like and that I know — it always adds something a little bit special to it,” he said on a Wednesday afternoon conference call with New England reporters. “The fact that I was there — I know that’s what you’re asking — it’s not a big factor. That was a long time ago for me. But I’m aware of it. I know what you’re asking. I don’t think it’s a big deal. But I’m so excited about the opportunity to play such a good team, that’s drawing all my focus.”

Carroll certainly had an interesting tenure as coach in New England, and said Wednesday that one of his favorite memories was getting a chance to represent Patriots’ fans.

“I loved living there and representing those fans — I thought they were awesome,” said Carroll, who took over as coach in Seattle in 2010. “They were so intense and loved the team so much — in all the sports, not just football. Whether it was basketball, hockey, baseball … this is a great fan base, and I loved being connected with them. And I appreciated it more the tougher they got on us, because I knew how much they loved it and how much they cared about it.

“It was a really big deal being there. I regret not being able to get it done the way we wanted to. We did some really good things and we were close, but I learned so much coming out of that experience that it changed me. I’ve had a lot of good stuff since then, and I’m grateful for that, but I wish I would have been able to … I’m never going to give up on a situation — I’d have loved to been able to fix it and finish it, but we didn’t get to.”

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