Officer John Stray knew what was coming when Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett walked toward a line of bike police officers Sunday on his way to the Super Bowl.
“I broke into a smile and said: ‘Oh, he’s going to come ride a bike,’ ” said the Federal Way policeman of almost 20 years.
Bennett had previously taken a spin around CenturyLink Field on a Seattle officer’s bike when his team won the NFC Championship Jan. 18. When Stray saw the postgame celebration, he said he thought at the time: “If it was me, I would have let him.”
Sunday, he did.
Bennett took a detour while making his way from the team bus to the plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He walked up to Stray and asked to borrow his wheels.
“He just kind of jogged over and said: ‘Hey man, can I borrow your bike?’ And I said ‘sure,’ ” recalled Stray. He was helping work crowd control at the departure to ensure the team safely took off for the big game against the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona.
Bennett took a quick ride in front of cheering fans, then returned the bike.
“He was really working the crowd,” Stray said. “He’s a wonderful personality.”
Before Bennett got on the plane, the officer asked for a photo with him. Stray said he expects to get it framed. He thinks he’ll put it alongside the photo of his 3-year-old daughter praying for a Seahawks’ win during the NFC Championship game, in which she’s sporting a team hat.
Stray, who normally works as a school resource officer at Todd Beamer High School, is enjoying a few minutes of fame for both him and his bike.
“All the kids at school are like: ‘Officer Stray, that’s so cool, we saw you on Facebook,’ ” he said. “They’re used to that bike going all over the school.”
Stray said he also worked crowd control when the Seahawks returned from the Super Bowl last year, and for the Seattle parade celebrating their win, which he hopes to do again this year.
As for his favorite Seahawk: “I like Bennett now,” he said.