RENTON Kendrick Lamar is all of 5 feet 6.
But he was a giant to the surprised Seahawks on Monday.
The Grammy Award-winning rapper, whose songs are a regular part of the sideline DJ’s rotation during practices here, walked into the center of the field immediately after three air-horn blasts ended training camp’s second practice. Wearing a hood on the sunny, 78-degree day, Lamar joined All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner to “break the team down.” That’s the players’ term for leading them in raising hands inside a giant mosh pit and leading a roaring chant that ends each workout.
“At first, I didn’t even see him,” Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor said of the 30-year-old Lamar, who was born in Richard Sherman’s hometown of Compton, California. “I didn’t know he was that small. I couldn’t even see him in the crowd.”
“It was kind of crazy,” running back Eddie Lacy said. “Everybody put there hands up, and he, like, disappeared. It was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’
“It was like a magic trick.”
Lamar is in town for a concert Wednesday night at the Tacoma Dome, part of his The DAMN. Tour. Chancellor also mentioned something about a documentary.
“I think it’s pretty cool, just to have a guy like that out here,” Chancellor said. “You know, some of these guys like him as a rapper. I like him as a rapper. I like what he is about, so I think it’s cool to bring him out here.
“And he was shooting some of his documentary out here, as well. And just to have the Seahawks involved and some of the players involved -- I know he was really close with Bobby Wagner (who is also from Southern California). So Bobby probably had something to do with it as well.
“I think it is pretty cool for guys to see that.”
Lamar was the latest in a consistent stream of celebrities to visit the Seahawks since coach Pete Carroll arrived from So Cal in January 2010.
Hall-of-Fame basketball legend Bill Russell, a resident of Mercer Island across Lake Washington from team headquarters, has been a frequent visitor and talked to the team. So has Macklemore. The Kenyan Boys Choir was at one practice and in the team huddle in October 2015. Will Ferrell was with the Seahawks at Super Bowl 49 in Phoenix in February 2015.
This parade of celebrities to surprise the players and keep them fresh and engaged is all new to Lacy.
For the first four years of his NFL career, he was a running back for the Green Bay Packers. His training camps were at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.
As Seahawks general manager and former Packers executive John Schneider, who is from that town, can tell you, Kendrick Lamar is not showing up in De Pere, Wisconsin.
Lacy laughed at that. Hard.
“I guess one of the perks here -- besides beautiful weather and great scenery and the fans that come out every, single day -- is the fact that coach brings in all different people, which I am starting to learn now that I didn’t know at first,” Lacy said.
“I mean, he brings in certain people. He plays music all the time,” Lacy said of Carroll. “It’s just a great atmosphere. You never know what kind of surprise you are going to get.”
Lamar especially surprised Lacy, who is five inches taller and whole lot bigger than the rapper.
“I had no idea he was here until he walked into the huddle. And I was like, ‘Whoa, who’s that?’” Lacy said. “And then you could see he has his hood on, and it’s like ‘Oh, that’s Kendrick!’
“I didn’t expect him to be (that) short, though.”
As I was writing this, a couple hours after practice, the blaring of air horns and pulsating music shook the walls of the players’ main meeting next to the media workroom. The players’ roars shook the walls, too.
Just another rollicking, basketball free-throw shooting contest before a team meeting.
It’s just two days into training camp.
“I’m still looking forward to who else (Carroll) is going to bring out,” Lacy said. “Hopefully, Lil Wayne one day.”