Renton – One former Green Bay player views Lambeau Field as his favorite place to play on the road, and another former Packer is looking to set the record straight in his first game against his former team.
It’s safe to say that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and defensive tackle Collin Cole, while ultimately fighting for the same result – the team’s second win this year on the road – have different perspectives on Sunday’s contest at Green Bay.
Hasselbeck, 34, will play at Lambeau Field for the fifth time of his career, with the first four trips – two regular-season games and two playoff games – all resulting in losses.
“There are certain places … like in college, I can remember going to South Bend, and there was just something really cool about that,” Hasselbeck said. “In the NFL, I think Lambeau is probably that place, with the tradition and the history there with that organization. It’s a lot of fun. It’s probably my favorite place, on the road, to experience.”
Hasselbeck is still razzed by former teammate Brett Favre for the now-famous words he spoke at the overtime coin flip during playoff contest at Green Bay in 2004, when he said, “We want the ball, and we’re going to score.”
Hasselbeck went on to throw a pass intended for receiver Alex Bannister that Green Bay cornerback Al Harris picked off and returned 52 yards for the winning touchdown, giving the Packers a 33-27 win.
“I think Brett has said that to me at every coin toss I’ve seen him at, every time,” Hasselbeck said. “Actually, this year in Minnesota, it was Brett and (former Green Bay kicker) Ryan Longwell, who I think was out there.
“It’s all good though. Again, you just got to embrace it, and you know, have fun.”
Hasselbeck wore gloves during practice on Wednesday. With snow and temperatures in the 20s forecast for Sunday’s game in Green Bay, Hasselbeck said he’s considering wearing gloves during the game.
“It was one of those things where, you never know what it feels like unless you try,” he said. “So this week, I tried it out. I doubt I’ll wear it. I doubt I’ll even wear sleeves. But you never know. You practice just to see.”
Hasselbeck needs 73 yards to pass Dave Krieg as the team’s all-time leading passer. Hasselbeck has 26,060 yards passing; Krieg had 26,132.
“To be close is pretty cool,” he said.
Hasselbeck addressed the news that former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren declined the team’s offer to return as the head of football operations, instead taking a similar offer from the Cleveland Browns.
“I think all of us thought that he would be back in the game,” Hasselbeck said. “We didn’t really think that he was staying out for good, so you know, you just never know. The NFL is crazy.”
Hasselbeck did have a question for his former coach though.
“We might want to get our retirement motorcycle money back that we bought him,” he said. “We did buy him a motorcycle as a retirement gift last year. So I don’t know if we can get him to sell that and give us some of our money back, or what the deal is on that.”
Another former Packer looking forward to playing in Green Bay is Cole, a defensive tackle. The seventh-year player said he has a point to make after his former team’s lukewarm pursuit of him during free agency during the offseason.
After signing a five-year, $21.4 million deal with Seattle during free agency in March, Cole said he believed the Packers did not view him as a starter and wanted to bring him back only as a reserve nose guard for their 3-4 defensive front.
“Not that this is a vengeance thing,” Cole said. “But we’re in a great situation to make it so this team doesn’t get an opportunity to go into the postseason, and if we can make that happen and play spoiler to somebody and make someone’s Christmas not as happy, that’d be awesome.”
So does Cole feel like he has something to prove to his former team?
“It’s not so much something to prove as much as it is a point to make,” Cole said. “I feel like I have a point to make, and I plan on making it.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be giving it that much more of an ‘oomph’ this week, just to kind of get back at some people I wouldn’t say I don’t like, but some people who may not have seen me as much of a commodity going into last offseason.”