Looming USC sanctions 'never were a factor in jump to Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he “never dreamed” of the trouble that would befall Southern California after he left the school in January to return to the NFL.

In an interview with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel set to air on Wednesday night, Carroll reiterated that he did not leave USC because he feared what they would to the program.

“Oh, it– it wasn’t even a factor,” Carroll told HBO. “It never even dawned on me that that was even an issue.”

The NCAA imposed sanctions on USC that include a two-year bowl ban and a loss of scholarships after an investigation that determined that Reggie Bush received improper benefits while at the school.

Carroll has criticized the NCAA’s harsh sanctions, though he said earlier this week he accepted some responsibility for his connection to the program.

But he insisted he didn’t his decision to go to the NFL wasn’t intended to flee the coming sanctions:

“I’d been living with it for five years. It was all about the competitive draw of it. The part about the investigation–never, ever entered in. You have to understand, I never thought it would ever happen like this. I never even dreamed it could go to this point.”

Carroll had opportunities to return to the NFL in previous seasons. Now he is rejoining a league where he had two previous head coaching jobs, most recently in 1999.

Now 58, he told HBO he is a different person than the man who coached the New England Patriots more than a decade ago:

“Basically, I didn’t know me. You know, I didn’t know what was important to me. And I hadn’t asked myself the– the important questions, so that I would be really crystal clear on where I was coming from. To go back is, like, having that opportunity to do something over again–that you wished you would’ve known then what you know now.”

Real Sports debuts on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET.