The Seahawks are back from their seven-day bye-week vacation this morning and will be on the practice field this afternoon at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton. Coach Pete Carroll is scheduled to talk to the media following practice, seven days before Seattle plays a Monday-night game at Washington.
The Seahawks have repeatedly cited the "family" they have and the loyalty they share Carroll's and general manager John Schneider's program as a key ingredient to their formula to becoming Super Bowl champions.
But what creates such bonding? Every team strives for such dedication. How does Seattle get it?
What the Seahawks have done for Heath Farwell is an example.
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The 32-year-old, 10th-year veteran tore both his groin muscles leaping to defend a Chicago Bears pass into Seattle's end zone during an exhibition game Aug. 22. The normal, cold NFL
course in such situations is for the team to give a player such as Farwell at the end of his career and/or no long-term playing future an injury settlement. That's a cash payment that makes him a free agent and sends him away to, as the late, legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll used to say, get on with "the rest of his life's work."
The Seahawks didn't do that with Farwell. The team and the reserve linebacker, Seattle's special-teams captain, saw the rest of his life's work as perhaps in coaching. So they put him on injured reserve to keep him with the team this season.
That allows Farwell to continue to draw his weekly, in-season salary of $73,529 — one-seventeeth of his veteran pay of $1.25 million. An injury settlement would have given him a fraction of that in a one-time or limited-term payment. He continues to have daily access to the team’s state-of-the-art training facilities and medical staff, assets he would not have had with a settlement.
For the players, it’s impressive. It’s compassionate. And in a league where health and contracts are not guaranteed, it’s unheard of.
“Yeah, that’s something I’ve never heard of a team doing,” Farwell told me. “It’s pretty cool that they care about me that much, that they want me to be around here. It means a lot to me, it really does.
“I’ve been in this league for 10 years. I’ve talked to many guys, been around this league for a long time. And I’ve never heard of a team doing this for a player.
“They’ve been unbelievable to me.”
This is the kind of behind-the-scenes move that creates long-term loyalty and dedication within the franchise. Each veteran sees what the Seahawks are doing for Farwell and realizes he, too, is one injury away from possibly losing his livelihood — and from being as appreciative of such a gesture as Farwell is right now.
Read the rest of the unique story of how the Seahawks are taking care of Farwell is in today's News Tribune. It's also here.
--I was glad to see my ol' Washington Husky pal Keith Price sign this month with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. One of the most accomplished passers in Huskies' history, a multiple school record-holder at UW, wasn't on an NFL roster or even practice squad. So this is a chance to show off for in a wide-open, passing league scouted by every NFL team -- though for now he is third-string on Saskatchewan's depth chart.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times talked to Price last week and wrote this story over the weekend.
Watching UW struggle to move the ball across midfield against Stanford on Saturday, I was reminded of all the misguided and inappropriate criticisms Price got in his three seasons as Washington's starter. Some of it was downright personal and nasty; it's a different deal attacking a college kid, in my mind.
How many of those same fans would like to have Price back quarterbacking the Huskies right now?
--The 49ers were the only NFC West team playing yesterday, and they beat the previously undefeated Eagles in a game they felt they had to win to avoid starting 1-3 in a division featuring the league champions (2-1) and the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals. The San Francisco Chronicle writes how the Niners' defense held Chip Kelly's high-flying, no-huddle offense without a point in the 26-21 win (Philadelphia scored its point on defensive and kick-return scores). The 49ers defense ran "a dizzying array of wind sprints" to prepare for the Eagles, according to the Chronicle."
(Though, as many of you pointed out here throughout last week, the Eagles entered the game having blown up opposing defenses that weren't exactly, shall we say, stout -- Jacksonville's, Indianapolis' and Washington's.)