At 36, Lawyer Milloy still a force for Seahawks
THE NEWS TRIBUNE
RENTON – Sunday afternoons, Lawyer Milloy is an ageless inspiration
frisky and fearless as a rookie.
For the next couple of days, he’s a tired and sore 36-year-old man
a veteran who ascribes to this theory of graceful aging: Never let them see you suffer.
“Mondays and Tuesdays, I can barely walk,” he said. “I don’t show that to my teammates. If I’m hurting – because I’m a leader – I don’t let them see it. It’s not an example you want to show as an older guy.”
What he imagines, as he struts through the locker room despite his pain, is that the younger players look at him and wonder how a man his age is able to do it.
“It’s a mind-set,” he said.
He hopes it’s not only a mind-set, but a degree of professionalism that is contagious.
Aggressive while also being assignment-correct, spirited yet disciplined, Milloy is so valuable as a team leader. But if anybody thinks he’s some elder statesman hanging on as safety emeritus, they haven’t been watching.
Milloy is one of the best players on this team. He has three sacks, a forced fumble and leads the team in tackles.
I wish you could see this guy practice. Every day, every drill, Milloy goes at it like he’s a free agent trying to make the team.
Coach Pete Carroll sees in Milloy a player with such unique skills that he enjoys finding ways to exploit them. So, when they need defense, they call a Lawyer.
Recently, aside from his coverage and tackling skills, Milloy has been used as a pass rusher, sneaking up from the secondary, because he’s not only aggressive and physical, but understands the principles of the task so well.
Carroll actually went on for many paragraphs about Milloy’s value. The most insightful was this: “He’s a joy to coach. He loves the game so much. He’s so tough and he’s adding to not just the fire of what we’re all about, but he’s adding to it scheme-wise (too).”
Last season, Milloy was a late pickup and was under-utilized. He performed on special teams without complaint but had little impact on the defense.
When Carroll came on, that changed; he gave Milloy a shot at starting at strong safety. The thrust of bringing him back was as an example to the young guys of how to play with pride and toughness, Carroll said, and it turned out that the best way for him to do that was on the field.
“It’s amazing to see him flying around and being so aggressive and energetic,” rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond said. “You would think that as you get older, you’d start shying away from contact, but he loves it; he loves being physical.”
Milloy played for Carroll in New England when he was young in the league, and said he has to credit him for having the confidence in him to put him in positions where he can succeed.
His recent successes have pushed him up some impressive statistical charts. Among active players, only Brett Favre has more than his 203 career starts. Only Ray Lewis, London Fletcher and Keith Brooking (all linebackers) have more career tackles, and he has joined an exclusive club of 11 players who have registered 20 interceptions and 20 sacks in their careers.
None of these statistics are meaningful to him at this point. Only his production on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t still be playing if I couldn’t do it at a high level,” he said. The statistics will have meaning when they’ve stopped adding up.
He will turn 37 on Nov. 14, the day the Seahawks play at Arizona. For a kid who grew up in tough circumstances in Tacoma, Milloy has fashioned an amazing career and built a strong personal reputation. He says he’s been blessed in a number of ways, and some are the result of his approach: “Going at 100 percent, trying to take it to them before they can take it to me.”
But, as he says, so much of this game is mind-set, attitude.
And so it is that some of the most rewarding moments are those when he hears this meaningful compliment from an opponent or teammate or fan: “I like the way you play the game.”
Now in his 15th season, it’s what keeps Milloy young.
“I’m still hearing that, at the tender age of almost 37,” he said. “Those are the things that really keep me excited about what I’ve done
past and present.”
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com
Milloy sees 20-20
Seahawks safety Lawyer Milloy was credited with two sacks Sunday against the Chicago Bears, giving him 20 for his career and putting him in elite company with 10 others who have had at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in the NFL (sacks have been official only since 1982). Milloy, who played at Lincoln High School and the University of Washington, has 25 career interceptions. The list:
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