After a meeting with head coach Pete Carroll along with their position group, Seattle Seahawks players cleaned out their lockers this afternoon and headed out to an uncertain offseason.
Several players who will be unrestricted free agents were asked about their status heading into the offseason, along with their thoughts of re-joining the team. By my count, the Seahawks potentially could have 28 free agents this offseason, depending what happens with the new collective bargaining agreement.
Of course, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is at the top of the list, and is still hopeful he can get something worked out with Seattle. Hasselbeck again reiterated his preference of staying in Seattle.
“It’s just how it is,” he said. “And I’m not stressed about anything. There’s nothing I can do about anything right now, just sit back and wait. The only X-factor here is I don’t exactly know how it works, so if the lockout does come March 4, I don’t know when the time to sign free agents would be. My hope is that we could maybe do something before then, but again that’s not up to me. And I’m just going to go be a dad for a little bit.”
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Hasselbeck said the fact that Seattle won the NFC West and made some noise in the playoffs adds to his desire of wanting to stay with the Seahawks, particularly after going through two losing seasons last year.
“All the hard work has been done this year,” Hasselbeck said. “Going through all of the change, going through all of the drama at times and just going through all of the adversity. So it would be so much fun to be a part of the rest of it.”
So Matt, do you see a scenario where you’re not in a Seahawks uniform next season?
“I can’t,” he said. “There’s a lot of things I can’t envision. I mean, nothing’s impossible. But I can’t envision not playing someday. And someday that will happen, too. So, you never know. I would love to be back, I would absolutely love to be back. There’s nothing I can think of why I wouldn’t. But we’ll see.”
The players also talked about the real possibility of NFL owners locking players out once the collective bargaining agreement ends on March 4, and what that means in terms of the day-to-day lives of the players, including paying for their own health insurance, rehabbing injuries away from the team’s facility and getting together with other players away from team headquarters to continue to work on routes and other football-related drills without coaching supervision.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” defensive end Raheem Brock said. “Hopefully they figure it out sometime soon, especially before the season starts. I can’t imagine life without football, but we’ll wait and see what happens.”
Young players like Russell Okung are looking forward to getting to work in the offseason in preparation for next year.
“We’re gaining a better understanding of what it takes in Pete’s philosophy and what he expects out of us,” Okung said. “And like I said before, we hope we can build off of this.”
And veteran like Lawyer Milloy can look back proudly on what accomplishing what few expected that would do this season – win an NFC West championship.
“The biggest compliment I can get is when a rookie like Earl Thomas, who’s going to be around here a lot longer than me, can say the things that Lawyer Milloy taught me and what he meant to me this year I’ll never forget,” Milloy said. “I have a couple people from my early years that I can say the same thing about, and that’s the ultimate respect.”