Seahawks general manager John Schneider has roots that run deep in Green Bay -- so deep, he reportedly has a clause in his Seattle contract that could allow him to leave if he is ever offered the Packers' GM job.
Thanks to rodman here on the blog for pointing this out today. It is a tidbit inside a big story from Pete Dougherty, long-time Packers writer for the Green Bay Press Gazette, on the legacy of former Packers GM Ron Wolf.
The personable Dougherty spent the days before the NFC title game last month writing advance stories from Seahawks headquarters in Renton. He was among the pack of Wisconsin writers and cameramen that followed Schneider from his podium talk with the league's media at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last week into a corridor of Lucas Oil Stadium. One unknown dude jumped in front of Schneider, shoved his recording iPhone into the startled Seahawks' GM's face and asked him what he thought of Wisconsin record-setting running back Melvin Gordon and his prospects for April's draft.
(Schneider never talks publicly about individual prospects in advance of a draft, not wanting to tip Seattle's draft hand in any way. He dutifully said what a great player the Badger is but politely declined to comment further to the ambush man).
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The subject of last Thursday with the Wisconsin reporters in Indianapolis was Schneider picking up the phone just out of college in 1992 and basically talking his way into an assistant scouting job with Wolf's Packers. Schneider had been an undersized, starring running back for Abbot Pennings High School in De Pere, Wisconsin, 15 minutes south of Green Bay.
He'd probably laugh about that "starring" description. But here's what I found today when I was searching the internet to confirm the spelling of Schneider's high school:
Years after he had proved himself following his cold call to Wolf and the Packers GM's invitation for a scouting tryout, Schneider was a Packers executive in the player-personnel and scouting departments into January 2010. That's when the Seahawks made him coach Pete Carroll's first-time GM. The pair made almost 300 player transactions in their first year to strip the middling franchise and instill into it youth and competition in every corner. The result's been the Super Bowl the last two seasons, coming within 1 yard in the final seconds three weeks ago from winning a second consecutive NFL title.
The Wisconsin guys -- and one gal, if I recall correctly -- asked Schneider if he was conflicted at the end of last month's NFC championship. The Seahawks scored two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes of regulation then won the trip back to the Super Bowl on Russell Wilson's touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse to end the opening drive of overtime. It was a miraculous, scintillating comeback win for Seattle -- and a crushing loss for Schneider's hometown Packers.
"Just the reversal was really intense," Schneider said. "I was preparing for what I was going to say to the players and coaches. I was getting myself mentally prepared for that. All of a sudden, things started to steamroll there at the end. I was just preparing for what I was going to say to the organization, to have a loss at home like that. You know, we had come so far after winning the Super Bowl the previous year, so it opened up a lot of things. It was a very powerless feeling, all the things everyone had to do just to get to that spot -- and then to have a loss. That's what I was preparing for. And we were extremely excited -- obviously, we were going to the Super Bowl -- but I've been on the other side of those, too. To come back and your season's over, that's hard.
"Yeah, you struggle. You are really excited. But you feel bad, too."
None of this is to say Schneider is longing to leave Seattle, or ever will; he's deep into maintaining the core of Seattle's young, championship roster and as we read this is trying to finalize contracts for the two most important Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch and then Wilson. This also isn't to say current Packers general manager Ted Thompson, another former scout of Wolfs with the Packers who has been hugely successful in Green Bay as GM for the last 10 years, is going anywhere anytime soon; Thompson was Mike Holmgren's vice president of player personnel with the Seahawks until he took the Packers' job in 2005.
But it is an interesting fact inside Schneider's deal with the Seahawks that had been largely unknown.