- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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RENTON, Wash. -- There are reminders of USC littered throughout the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, the Seattle Seahawks’ practice facility. Much like during Pete Carroll’s time at the school, there are “I’m In!” signs that players and coaches tap before entering the weight room and practice field. An “Always Compete” sign hangs below the scoreboard on the practice field, and a copy of Carroll’s new book, “Win Forever,” is in the lobby.
Before "Competition Wednesday," a practice theme holdover from Carroll’s USC days, he was reminded of an aspect of his time at USC he’d just as soon forget. On Tuesday, Reggie Bush forfeited the Heisman Trophy he won five years ago and on Wednesday the Heisman Trust announced the 2005 award would remain vacated.
“Reggie’s got to do what he’s got to do on this stuff and make his determination,” Carroll said. “I support whatever he’s doing. I’m sure he’s figured it out and he’s living it. I’m not really focused on it. There’s nothing I can really do about that. All of our attention is on Denver and getting ready for the game. I wish him the best and hope they figure it all out.”
In the Seahawks’ locker room before practice, the three former USC players on the active roster -- linebacker Lofa Tatupu, wide receiver Mike Williams and tight end Anthony McCoy -- said they were disappointed by the news and still considered Bush the best player in the country in 2005 when he won the Heisman Trophy by a landslide.
“It’s sad that it’s come to this,” Tatupu said. “In my opinion he was the best football player that year and that will last in everyone’s memories. I don’t think he really needs a trophy to validate that. He doesn’t need the hardware to know that he was the nation’s best player. It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it is.”
Bush became the first player in the 75-year history of the Heisman Trophy to return the award. Williams believes Bush’s gesture should win him back some supporters.
“It takes good values of a person to give something like that back,” Williams said. “Hopefully the public and the media and everybody will let this guy get on and live his life.
“I respect him for giving it back and doing what he felt was right. I feel sorry for him that he had to deal with this situation. He’s a good dude. I don’t take anything away from him as a person. I hope people take this as a gesture of him trying to right the ship.”
USC has distanced itself from Bush, removing all pictures and mentions of him on campus and at the Coliseum.
“He made a mistake but I still think he’s a Trojan and he’s done so much great for that school and can still make a positive impact there,” Williams said. “I know people in their anger are sweeping him and everything he did under the rug but hopefully this is the first step toward one day rebuilding that relationship.”