It was about the time Percy Harvin was getting Jet-isoned that, in passing, I asked cornerback Richard Sherman how the Seahawks dealt with such locker-room distractions.
He laughed and contended that the Seahawks thrived on turmoil, and he couldn’t imagine the team without some kind of ongoing friction to generate that energy.
Looks like we’ll get a chance to see exactly how well they cope in the absence of controversies.
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Heading into training camp at their Renton headquarters, the Seahawks (with one exception) seem happy with their contracts.
Their benevolent overlords on the staff and in the front office are freshly under new contracts and secured, and are in place to continue doing the things that got everybody to this stage.
Unlike the past two seasons, there’s no lingering post-Super Bowl hangover — either from celebration or sorrow, or merely from playoff exhaustion.
And although a couple of key players are recovering from injuries, they’re on the mend and expected back when the games start counting.
So much has changed for this group. Over the years, most of the core players have become husbands and family men, as well as being wealthy and highly acknowledged in their professions.
And the quarterback is living a life even Disney producers would deem implausible.
Will all this consonance lead to good football?
How is this contentment compatible with all their preloaded motivational software?
Frankly, I think it only can help.
I remember somebody writing a column questioning how the Seahawks would be affected by having training camp in the palatial Virginia Mason headquarters in Renton rather than the hardpan, dust-bowl landscape over in Cheney.
Imagine how much they’d miss by not bonding in the tiny dorm rooms and not practicing in the scorching Eastern Washington weather. Surely they couldn’t get as tough or as nasty having camp in the new lakeside country club environment. (Jeeves, could you bring around the cooler with my Perrier?)
Perennial playoff appearances since Pete Carroll and John Schneider arrived have proved that success had nothing to do with the environment, but with the competitiveness they seemed to have cloned into the DNA of the guys they bring in.
Happy/unhappy, Cheney/Renton — these influences don’t budge the needle when the cohort of All-Pros you have under contract happen to be the most competitive and hardest-working guys on the roster.
You meet their level of focus or you might get run off the field. It’s who they are, and have been so long enough that it seems unlikely they’ll change.
They have their own codes.
Coach Pete Carroll? Always compete.
GM John Schneider? There is no finish line.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor? One website listed him as the most overrated player in the league. I wonder if he might take exception to that assessment.
Sherman? Once asked about the chip on his shoulder, he corrected the questioner: “It’s not a chip; it’s a whole plate of nachos.”
Even the guy with the biggest (and most valid) beef over his contract — defensive end Michael Bennett — showed up last season rather than hold out, and he responded with his best season ever.
Yes, the external forces have changed for some of these guys.
Quarterback Russell Wilson’s wedding was in a British castle attended by a celebrity guest list.
Free safety Earl Thomas was married while wearing a crown and flowing cape, which, granted, might give an indication that a player has become attracted to living extra-large.
But given their history with the Seahawks, I can’t picture Wilson showing up out of shape and confused about his responsibilities. Nor have we ever seen Thomas on the field doing anything but shooting lasers out of his eyes at any receiver who enters his zone.
And if they did, I strongly suspect some other team leader would get in their faces, and tell them it was unacceptable. Get it together, man.
Yeah, that kind of confrontation would be a distraction.
But all this harmony can only go so far.