Nickname For Seattle Seahawks Linebackers

There are nicknames all over the Seattle Seahawks roster. Running back Marshawn Lynch is known as “Beast Mode,” quarterback Russell Wilson is nicknamed “Dangeruss” Wilson (thanks to his @DangeRussWilson twitter handle), and the Seahawks secondary goes by the “Legion of Boom.”

The Seahawks linebackers don’t have a nickname, and they don’t want to be left out anymore. During my interview with K.J. Wright yesterday, he said the linebacking corps is now searching for a moniker.

Nickname Seahawks Linebackers

Seahawks linebackers Bruce Irvin and Mike Morgan run through drills at yesterday’s OTA

“We have to come up with our own nickname,” Wright told me. “We were talking about that. We have to get our own little creed going. So, we’re going to have something for the upcoming season.”

I asked K.J. if they’ve come up with any ideas yet, but he said it was going to be a surprise. That means either: 1) these guys put some serious thought into it, and they’ve come up with something awesome, or 2) they talked about getting a nickname, they tossed around a couple of ideas and now it’s sitting on the back burner. I’m honestly leaning more toward #2 myself.

To help find a nickname for the Seattle Seahawks linebackers, I took to Twitter after practice. I asked the “12th Man” (another nickname associated with this football team) if they had any suggestions for K.J. and the linebacking corps. To no surprise, the ideas started rolling in. Name after name popped up on my account. Here are a few of the nicknames I heard:

The “Sound Barrier,” the “Black and Blue Crew,” “The Sultans of Stuff,” the “The SeaWall,” “Pike Posse” or the “Century Club,” the “Department of Defense,” “Stop, Drop & Blitz,” the “Legion of Doom” and the “Legion of Vroom,” “The Hurt Lockers” or the “Shifty Assassins,” the “Backbreakers” and many, many more.

I shared a few of the nicknames for the Seahawks linebackers on my sportscast last night, and that brought even more names to the mix through email and Twitter. The outpouring of suggestions quickly made me realize the Seattle fans are determined to give the linebackers a nickname.

So, I’m extending the search…

I’d love to hear any suggestions that you have! You can simply leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I’d love to hear your nickname for the Seahawks linebackers! If there’s a nickname you love that’s already been mentioned, let me know which one it is so I can add a tally next to it.

After I receive all of your suggestions, I’m taking the top nicknames directly back to K.J. Wright himself. I’ll do a follow-up story with him (depending on his availability) about what he thinks of your ideas. We’ll run that story on KOMO 4 News, but I’ll also share his thoughts right here on All Around Tim. Hopefully, by the September 8th opener against Carolina — we’ll have a nickname squared away for these guys!

Let’s hear your nicknames!

“Legion of Boom” | The Seattle Seahawks Secondary

The Seattle Seahawks had the sixth best pass defense in the NFL last year, allowing a little more than 200 yards per game. A big reason for that success was the Seahawks secondary — better known as the “Legion of Boom.”

Legion of Boom

Legion of Boom

Safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, and cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman make up the “Legion of Boom,” and thanks to their rough and tough style, they’re considered one of the most intimidating defensive backfields in the NFL.

“It’s a mindset and the way guys play,” Sherman told me. “We play hard and try to bring some physicality to the game. The name kind of sticks with that, so it’s one and the same.”

Not only does the “Legion of Boom” set the tone with their big hits, they also make things happen with their big play ability. Browner, Chancellor, Sherman and Thomas combined for 275 tackles, 14 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries last season. Thomas and Sherman also chipped in touchdowns for Seattle.

Here’s the good news for Seahawks fans: all four players are back in Seattle this season, and they could be around for years to come. At 28-years-old, Browner is the oldest of the bunch. The   average age of the “Legion of Boom” is just 25.5-years-old right now.

“We all want to bring that boom to the secondary,” Chancellor said to me. “We all want to be the first one to make a big play. We’re all very competitive and want to be difference makers back there. It’s instilled in our mentality, so it brings out the best in all of us.”

Cornerback Antoine Winfield is a 15-year NFL veteran, so he’s played with and against some of the best players in the league. He signed with the Seahawks over the offseason, so he’s only had two official practices with the team, but he’s already a “Legion of Boom” believer.

“I’ve played football for a long time, and they’re really talented across the board,” said Winfield. “The corners and both safeties — they’re by far the number one secondary in the league. The way they work, I see why they’re number one.”

Expectations are high for the Seattle Seahawks this season. In fact, they’re one of the early favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII, and the “Legion of Boom” is a major reason for much of that hype. If the secondary can live up to its potential (which they have in the past), the Seahawks just might be playing in New Jersey on February 2, 2014.

What do you think of the “Legion of Boom?” Are they as good as advertised? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and travel.

Legion of Boom

Legion of Boom at CenturyLink Field

Seahawks Open OTAs With High Expectations

The Seahawks spent the offseason building their squad through free agency and the draft. They made every move thinking about how the group would look as a team. They finally got to see all their players together on the field for the first time as OTAs (organized team activities) kicked off today.

Seahawks OTA

The Seahawks open OTAs at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center

“It’s exciting to see these guys,” said head coach Pete Carroll. “They were excited to get out here. They’ve worked very hard to get to this point. It was a very, very good first day for us.”

It’s only one official practice, and it’s a little more than three months until the start of the regular season, but expectations are already high for the Seahawks. They’re currently pegged as one of the favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

“Everyone’s going to be talking about how good we’re supposed to be, Super Bowl, all that kind of stuff,” said quarterback Russell Wilson. “You can’t pay attention to that. I think the biggest thing is just focus on the now, focus on the moment. We had a great practice today and let’s see if we can be that much better tomorrow.”

The Seahawks obviously aim to mute the outside world, but internally they’re not afraid to admit they have plenty of potential.

Seahawks OTA

The Seahawks offensive linemen working hard at practice

“We know we can be really good, but it’s up to us how good we are,” said wide receiver Golden Tate. “If you watch practice, we’re out here working. Guys are out here running around, making plays on offense and defense. Coaches are working hard. We’re just trying to do everything necessary to be a champion.”

Seattle targeted a championship last year, but they were stopped short in the divisional playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons. After adding guys like defensive end Cliff Avril and wide receiver Percy Harvin to a solid group from last season, it’s obvious why the Seahawks are the talk of the NFL.

“Coach said we have a lot of hype, but he also told us to make it natural,” Harvin said. “We don’t come out here saying we hope to lose, so with a good team comes a lot of talk, but we put all that behind us. We’re out here having fun, we’re competing and that’s how it’s going to be.”

Pete Carroll Seahawks

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll

Not everyone was in Renton for the Seahawks first OTA. Running back Marshawn Lynch was a no-show. These are voluntary workouts, but head coach Pete Carroll said after practice that he would love to have everyone in attendance.

Seattle returns to the field for their second OTA Tuesday, May 28th.

Do you think it’s too early for the Seahawks to be a considered a Super Bowl favorite? Is all the hype justified? I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and more!

Seattle Seahawks

Doug Baldwin makes a catch during the Seahawks first OTA

The Trufant Dream: Three Brothers In The NFL

There’s a good chance you’ve heard the name Trufant sometime during the NFL season for the last ten years. First it was Marcus Trufant playing for the Seattle Seahawks, and then Isaiah Trufant joined Marcus in the league when he signed with the New York Jets three seasons ago. Now, it’s time for a third Trufant to explode on the NFL scene.

Desmond Trufant | Trufant Brothers

Desmond Trufant working out at University of Washington Pro Day

Desmond Trufant spent the last four years as a star defensive back at the University of Washington. He’s since played in the Senior Bowl, worked out at the NFL Combine, and most recently ran through drills at University of Washington Pro Day in Seattle. Desmond has been so impressive in his workouts that he’s now a projected first round draft pick. When he takes the field in September, he’ll become the third Trufant to suit up in the NFL, achieving one of the rarest feats in NFL history.

“It’s really cool,” Desmond told me after his Pro Day workout, which was attended by his brother Marcus. “I don’t know the last time there’s been three brothers in the league, and all playing the same position too (Marcus, Isaiah and Desmond are all cornerbacks). It’s big. We’re just looking forward to it.”

According to my research, only 26 families have put three or more brothers in the NFL (dating all the way back to the league’s debut in 1920). It’s an even more incredible feat to put three brothers in the league at the same time. You don’t have to look far to find the last brothers to do it: Rob (New England Patriots), Dan (Cleveland Browns/New England Patriots) and Chris Gronkowski (Indianapolis Colts) all played in the NFL during the 2011 season. Aside from the Gronkowski’s though, only seven other families have watched three or more brothers play in the NFL in the same season (or seasons).

It’s going to take some work from the Trufant’s to make that happen next season though. Marcus is a free agent after ten years in Seattle, Isaiah is an exclusive-rights free agent after two seasons with the Jets, and Desmond still needs to be drafted and signed (although that won’t be a problem). So, it’s not a guarantee that we’ll see ‘Trufant’ plastered on the back of three different NFL jerseys in 2013.

Marcus Trufant | Trufant Brothers

Marcus Trufant answering question’s at Desmond’s Pro Day

There’s some speculation that Marcus’ career is over. He might not find a team that’s willing to sign him (the Seahawks won’t comment on his status right now), or he might just call it quits on his own (even though he’s only 32-years-old). I honestly don’t think retiring is in Marcus’ plans though. When I asked him about the three Trufant brothers playing together in the NFL next season, he was really excited about the idea.

“It’s big time for our family,” Marcus told me. “It’s big for this city, because we were all born and raised here in Washington. It’s just love all the way around. We’re just trying to do the best wan can to represent.”

While Marcus was a first round draft pick out of Washington State in 2003, and Desmond appears to be a first round pick in 2013, Isaiah had a much different path to the NFL. After starring at Eastern Washington, he played in the Arena Football League and United Football League before he cracked an NFL roster. He didn’t even make his NFL debut until he was 28-years-old. He plays some cornerback for the Jets, but Isaiah is more of a special teams player in New York.

“Our parents raised us well,” Desmond told me. “We all went through good programs. We worked hard and had a lot of dedication, and it’s all paying off.”

Three brothers playing in the NFL at the same time would be a dream come true for the Trufant family. If it doesn’t happen, it’s still amazing to have three brothers play in the NFL at any point. We won’t know the fate of the Trufant’s for the next few months. Free agency started a couple days ago, the NFL Draft isn’t until late April and training camps don’t kickoff until August. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Keep your eyes peeled to the transaction wire for the latest.

UPDATE: Desmond Trufant was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 22nd overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Do you think we’ll see all three Trufant’s playing in the NFL next season? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to check out http://allaroundtim.com for the latest in the world of sports, music and food!

Trufant Brothers | Three Brothers In NFL

Marcus, Isaiah and Desmond Trufant

Desmond Trufant | 2013 NFL Draft Prospect

It seems like everyone is writing about University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant these days, so I figured I should join the party. We already knew Trufant was a rising star in Seattle, but now everyone is taking notice thanks to his offseason workouts. Trufant is doing so well that he’s now expected to be a top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Desmond Trufant | 2013 NFL Draft

Desmond Trufant

Desmond Trufant just wrapped up practice at the Senior Bowl. His efforts there led NFL Network analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah to say Trufant had the best performance of anyone during Senior Bowl practice week (video). Jeremiah pointed to Trufant’s consistency from drill-to-drill, and he says Trufant showed the top end speed some people thought he lacked. Jeremiah added that Trufant “likely emerged as a first round pick” thanks to his performance at practice.

Everyone is starting to jump on the Desmond Trufant first round draft pick bandwagon. NFLDraftScout.com ranks him as the third best cornerback prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft. They project him to go in the first round. CBSSports.com and NFL.com aren’t quite ready to call Trufant a first round pick yet, but they might change their minds as the months roll on. We’ll see if Trufant can keep up his consistency leading up to the draft in April.

NOTE: From the time I started writing this post about 30 minutes ago, CBSSports.com has since updated their draft projection for Desmond Trufant – they now list him as a first round pick. That shows just how quickly Trufant’s stock is rising.

Workouts are workouts — games are games. Desmond Trufant has shown that he has plenty of skill on the field. Trufant recorded 36 tackles (4.5 for loss), 1 sack and 1 interception this season. He also defended 10 passes for the Huskies. I know his numbers aren’t mind-blowing, but it was more than enough for Trufant to be named first-team All-Pac-12 and a second-team All-America by FOXSportsNext.com.

Desmond Trufant has plenty of skills you can’t find on the state sheet. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him several times. He’s a nice, well-spoken kid with a good head on his shoulders. Trufant was also the heart and soul of the Huskies defense. I heard Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian praise him over and over again this season. Trufant’s leadership skills are apparently off the charts.

Not only is Trufant a local kid (he went to Wilson High School in Tacoma), but football is in his blood. Trufant’s older brothers are Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant and New York Jets cornerback Isaiah Trufant. That means Desmond will be the third Trufant brother to make it to the NFL. That’s quite a feat. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only 348 documented sets of brothers have played professional football.

There’s no doubt Desmond Trufant will join his brothers in the NFL, but it’s unclear when he’ll be selected. If he keeps up the  rapid pace he’s on right now, Trufant will surely find himself as a first round draft pick with a large paycheck to back that up. But, it’s all speculation for now. The 2013 NFL Draft happens April 25-April 27th.

Have you watched Desmond Trufant play? What do you think of him? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and travel!

Pete Carroll | “Social Media Is Very Volatile”

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll isn’t about to ban his players from using social media (like several college and professional coaches have). Heck, the guy even has a Twitter account of his own. All he asks is that his players don’t cause any distractions with their actions. But when you have a confident group of youngsters, that’s not always easy to avoid.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is Seattle’s ”most wanted” suspect right now. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s causing distractions, but he’s been making plenty of national headlines with his social media use lately:

Richard Sherman | U Mad Bro?

The controversial picture Richard Sherman posted on Twitter

The first incident came after Seattle’s upset win against New England on October 14th. Sherman posted a picture of himself in the face of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with a quote he added saying, “U mad bro?” In his tweet Sherman wrote, ““He told me and [safety Earl Thomas] to see him after the game when they win. . . I found him after.” It was the tweet heard round the NFL (everyone and their mother were talking about it), and Sherman has since deleted the tweet from his account. However, you can still find a different picture on Sherman’s account of a dejected Tom Brady walking off the field with a tweet saying, “Brady sure looks like a man who turned the 12thMan against us.”

That was just the start for Sherman. Two weeks later, he was back at it again. For the Seahawks showdown against Detroit, Sherman changed the name on his Twitter account to Optimus Prime, the Transformers nemesis of Megatron, which is the nickname given to Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson. It was so highly publicized the voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen actually called Sherman before the game to share his support. The Detroit players didn’t think Sherman’s antics were quite as funny.

“He took a shot at Brady, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play,” Lions center Dominic Raiola said, “Take a shot at coaches. Whatever. That’s disrespectful to this game, but maybe he doesn’t have a lot of respect, who knows?”

Sherman is actually a smart guy. He took a path unlike anyone else before him. He is the only kid from his high school in Compton, California, to ever go to Stanford University (which isn’t easy to get into even as an athlete). He played five years for the Cardinal as a wide receiver and a cornerback. He majored in communication, and it now looks like he’s the ultimate self-promoter. His tweets — and his solid play this season — have put him on the NFL map.

“Social media is very volatile,” said Carrol, “It’s something to be dealt with in respect, because you can make mistakes. You have to know what you’re doing. We have a way that we operate and our guys are learning how to do it.”

Sherman isn’t the only one to make waves in the Twitterverse lately. University of Idaho tight end Taylor Elmo might not see the field for the rest of the year because of a tweet. After head coach Robb Akey was fired two weeks ago, Elmo reportedly sent out a message saying, “U of idaho is stupid as hell for what they did. Fire a man to keep your own job???” The tweet was targeted at Idaho athletic director Rob Spear, who obviously didn’t take to kindly to Elmo’s remarks.

Elmo’s tweet is generally viewed as immature, and you should chalk it up as a college kid making a mistake. But believe it or not, Richard Sherman isn’t that far removed from Elmo, who is a redshirt junior, in terms of age. Sherman is only 24-years-old (Elmo is 22), playing in his second season in the National Football League. Sherman is actually one of 21 players currently on the Seahawks 53-man active roster who are either a rookie or second year veteran.

Pete Carroll Seahawks Head Coach

Pete Carroll

“When you have a bunch of young guys trying to figure it out – figure out what it takes — they’re trying to feel their way a little bit,” Carroll said. “I want us to speak as much as we can as one, and represent all of us when we send our messaging out. Sometimes the way it comes out — we’re learning.”

While social media has opened a door into athletes’ lives that we’ve never seen before (we get to see their Halloween costumes, hear their opinions, etc.), it’s also caused plenty of problems. Athletes were under scrutiny before, but now they’re in the public eye even more with social media. Someone (usually those jerks in the media) is always looking for them to make a mistake.

“It takes savvy,” said Carroll. ”savvy is usually gained through experience.”

In a sports world of “coach speak” and clichés, I’m all for athletes using social media. It allows us to see who these guys really are when they’re not on the field or speaking into a microphone. The only problem is, many athletes don’t realize that Twitter is the podium of social media. Tweets are used as quotes by the media all the time now. Nothing on social media is ever off the record.

Yes, social media can cause problems, but it also helps fix problems. Richard Sherman made headlines for his smack talk, but he didn’t make headlines for his retweet that helped raise money (and encouraged others to do so as well) for the American Cancer Society. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald just wrapped up a social media campaign to raise funds for breast cancer research. Love even let Fitzgerald shave his head for the effort — a video you can watch on YouTube. There are numerous examples of athletes stepping up for a good cause all over social media.

Just like Pete Carroll, I’m a proponent of athletes using social media. It’s a relatively new concept to everyone and it’s bound to evolve over time. The cool thing is — from Joe Shmoe in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, to Tim Lewis in Seattle, Washington, to the President of the United States, we’re all learning how to use social media together.

What do you think about athletes using social media? I would love to hear your opinion on either side of the issue. You can leave a message below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, travel, music and more.

Covering The Craziest Monday Night Football Game Ever

I had the Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers circled on my calendar for a long time. Ever since I started my new job in Seattle, I was excited for September 24th clash. I’m a television sportscaster, but I’m still also a huge sports fan. That’s what makes my job so incredible. I was paid to be on the sidelines for what turned out to be one of the most thrilling and controversial finishes in NFL history.

I’ve covered an NFL game before, but that was back in 2006. It was the NFC Championship between the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. The Seahawks beat the Panthers that night, 34-14. I was relatively new to the television business, so that was easily the most fun I’d ever had at a sporting event. The crowd was incredible. Aside from one other moment in my life (after Edgar Martinez hit the go-ahead grand slam against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the 1995 American League Division Series and the fans inside the Kingdome erupted), I didn’t know humans beings could make so much noise. I couldn’t even hear the guy standing right next to me, because it literally sounded like ten fighter jets were flying right by my ears.

Monday Night Football CenturyLink Field

The Packers and Seahawks clash on Monday Night Football

That’s exactly what CenturyLink Field sounded like again last night. The place was rocking for Monday Night Football. The real “this is actually happening” moment for me came when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson trotted onto the field for pregame warm-ups. The stadium was still filling up, but the crowd that was there made plenty of noise. I got chills thinking about the magnitude of the game. A former University of Wisconsin quarterback facing off against Wisconsin’s team — the Green Bay Packers. That was one of several great storylines. I just had a feeling it would be a special night.

Defense was the name of the game in the first half. The Seahawks had eight sacks in the first 30 minutes. It was pure domination. Chris Clemons had four sacks in the first half alone. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Bruce Irvin also had two sacks — both of which were predicted by my photographer Paul Koehnke (pronounced ‘Kinky’ — seriously). Aside from a 41-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate in the second quarter, the game was at a standstill in Seattle. The Seahawks led the Packers 7-0 at the intermission.

Green Bay made the appropriate halftime adjustments and dominated time of possession in the second half. They started running the ball, which opened the passing game for Aaron Rodgers. The Seahawks defense was still stout when they needed to be (even though they were tired as hell thanks to the ineptitude of the Seahawks offense), holding Green Bay to just 12 points. Seattle’s impressive defensive effort was completely overshadowed by what happened late in the game.

Trailing 12-7, the Seahawks had one last drive to beat the Packers. They got the ball with :46 to play. After a 22-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Sidney Rice, the Seahawks were on the Packers 24-yard line, and well within striking distance. The next three passes were incomplete, leaving the Seahawks with fourth down and only :08. Russell Wilson took the snap and all the receivers made a beeline to the end zone. Wilson was forced to roll left and eventually fired away. I was standing in the back corner of the end zone, so the play literally unfolded right in front of me. I remember watching the ball fly through the air and seeing it drop into the mess of players. At first it looked like M.D. Jennings picked off the pass, but then I took a closer look when the players were on the ground. I saw that Golden Tate had his arms around the ball as well. The officials rushed in and ruled it a touchdown. If you somehow missed it >> watch the play right here.

Golden Tate | Monday Night Football

Seconds after Golden Tate caught the game-winning touchdown

Chaos — that’s the best word to describe what happened next. The Seahawks players swarmed the end zone to celebrate the touchdown. I was among the cameras that circled around Tate just seconds after his game-winning score. Packers players were lost in the mix, and it almost looked like a fight was about to break out. Reporters were shoving their microphones in Tate’s face and the play wasn’t even reviewed yet. Players, coaches, and — I don’t even know who else — were all over the field. While you were watching replays on television, I saw Packers and Seahawks players barking at each other all over the field. I honestly thought a brawl was going to break out. I even saw Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll grabbing some of his players to keep them out of trouble.

I don’t know how, but order was finally restored as the teams went back to their sidelines. That didn’t last long though. The place went crazy again after the game-winning touchdown was confirmed by the replay officials. The Seahawks extra point unit went on the field to finish the game, but the Packers went to the locker room. Everyone else stormed the field again. Seahawks were doing interviews and cameras were following players around as they were celebrating. Meanwhile, the Seahawks special teams guys knew they still needed to kick the extra point. They were looking around and throwing their hands into the air, basically saying what I was, “What in the world is going on right now?” It was truly pandemonium, which finally ended with the Seahawks heading into the locker room without kicking the extra point.

Fans were making their way to the stands, while I was heading to the locker room to get postgame interviews. All of a sudden the Seahawks were coming through the tunnel back onto the field. In what was already an embarrassing situation for the replacement officials, Seattle still needed to kick the extra point to end the game — like the special teams players had thought earlier. Nearly five minutes (if not longer) after the touchdown was confirmed, with the stadium almost bare, Steven Hauschka made the extra point, finally bringing an end to what was one of the strangest moments I’ll ever experience at a sporting event in my life.

Tim Lewis KOMO | Monday Night Football

That’s me (holding the white notepad) during the final, controversial play of Monday Night Football

It was funny to listen to all the conversations in the media room. Everyone was either debating the call or telling their version of the final eight seconds of the game. Some people were convinced that Tate came down with it, while others thought the ruling a joke. The official call was that it was a “simultaneous catch”. Simply explained — a tie goes to the wide receiver. So, even though M.D. Jennings and Golden Tate both had their hands on the ball, the advantage goes to Tate. The debate/stories didn’t end at CenturyLink Field either. Everyone at my television station was talking about the game, and even folks at the grocery were in debate when I walked in after work. Everywhere you turned — it was the topic of the night.

I was looking forward to covering Monday Night Football and it was everything I hoped it would be — and much more. Like I said in my report from CenturyLink Field last night, people can debate all they want, but in the end it’s a win for the Seahawks, a loss for the Packers, and an even bigger loss for the NFL and the replacement officials. Some are already calling it the “Play of Infamy”. No matter what it’s called – it’s one of the most exciting finishes we’ll ever see on the gridiron and I was on the field for every second of it.

I would love to hear what you saw in the final eight seconds of the game! Was it a touchdown or an interception? I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more great sports coverage!

Letting [Players] Go Is Never Easy

In the movie Bull Durham, the Bulls manager has to tell Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) that he’s being cut. The skipper says, “This is the toughest job a manager has…” right before he breaks the news to Davis. It’s an emotional exchange between player and coach. Yes, Bull Durham is only a film, but this same exact situation happens in real life every season in the National Football League.

At the start of camp, the Seattle Seahawks had 90 players on their roster. By the time the regular season comes around in September, the Hawks can only carry 53 guys (a league-wide rule). That means general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have to release 37 players along the way.

John Schneider Pete Carroll Seattle Seahawks

John Schneider and Pete Carroll
Courtesy: Seahawks.com

“I don’t know how it is at other places, but it’s very meaningful when we cut guys here,” Carroll told me. “Knowing how much of their lives are wrapped around this and how much this means to them, I take something like this very seriously.”

Carroll says he is connected to every single player on the roster. He told me that he gets to know all of his guys – who they are and what they’re all about — so he can help them be their best. Something that benefits not only the player, but also the team.

“You invest in that relationship to get that done, so it means something,” Carroll said.

Carroll already had to make 15 cuts to get to the league-mandated 75 earlier this week, and the roster moves aren’t nearly done. The Seahawks only have one more preseason game remaining, and then the team needs to cut 22 more players by the NFL’s Friday deadline. Nothing about the process is easy for Carroll. He calls it “a very emotional time.”

“I take into account as many aspects of it as I can,” Carroll told me. “They love this game and they’re doing everything they can to make it. It’s a part of their life and it’s a big deal when that’s taken away.”

Deon Butler Seattle Seahawks Wide Receiver

Deon Butler
Courtesy: Seahawks.com

Wide receiver Deon Butler is battling ten other wide receivers for what’s believed to be six spots on the Seahawks active roster. Butler isn’t a star, but he isn’t a slouch either. The Penn State University product has reeled in 57 passes for 611 yards and four touchdowns in his first three seasons in the NFL.

“It’s nothing new for me to be the underdog,” Butler said. “I just feel like there’s a place for me in the league. Whether it’s here — hopefully it’s here — but if not, I’m confident I put out good tape.”

Listed at just 5’10″ and 182 pounds, Butler is the smallest receiver on Seattle’s roster right now. You’d think his experience in the pros would outweigh any knock on his size at this point, but that’s not how the NFL works. If Butler makes the team, it’s someone else that has to go. The Seahawks are likely going to cut five wide receivers by the end of the week.

“We know that in the back of our minds,” Butler said. “You can’t worry about it, because the more you start thinking about that is when you’ll start to fall apart. You’ll start messing up. It does you no good.”

There are players like Butler scattered all over the Seahawks roster (and the entire NFL for that matter), sitting on the edge of their seat as the final cuts approach. But, for every player who is released, there’s someone else who makes the squad — officially living their NFL dream.

“We’re ecstatic for the guys who make the team,” Carroll told me. “The exhilaration they feel — they deserve it. They earned it.”

Pete Carroll Seahawks Head Coach

Pete Carroll
Courtesy: Seahawks.com

In a world where superstars get all the attention, it’s hard to remember that life isn’t always easy for professional athletes. Sure, most of these guys make salaries that we can only dream about, but many of them don’t. If they’re cut, that pay check disappears completely. A football player is let go from his job like any other Joe Blow around the country.

“I know guys around here like this team, and they want to be a part of it,” said Carroll. ”It’s a big deal when it works for them and a big deal when it doesn’t. It’s the same for us.”

The Seahawks open the regular season September 9th against Arizona. They will only have 53 players in uniform that day. Who those players will be is still up in the air — that’s up to Pete Carroll to decide by Friday. Let’s just say I’m happy to not be walking in his shoes this week.

I would love to hear from you about all of this! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. Don’t forget you can also find more sports coverage right now on http://allroundtim.com.

Training Camp | The Life Of An NFL Rookie

Training camps are underway all over the National Football League. That means roster spots and playing time are up for grabs around the country. While camp is old news for the veterans (some even try to avoid it like the plague), this is a brand new world for the rookies. These guys were just college students a few months ago, and now they’re professional football players. They’re forced to grow up fast — and if they don’t — they get left in the dust.

Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson

There are major differences between college football and the NFL. The adjustments are different for every rookie. Seahawks fifth round pick Korey Toomer (a linebacker out of Idaho) says the mental part of the NFL game is the toughest, especially understanding the playbook and learning from the veterans. Third rounder Russell Wilson (a quarterback from Wisconsin) echoed that sentiment, saying he spends nine hours a day studying the playbook. He also said that he tries to learn at least three new things at practice every single day. So, instead of learning math or history like they were a few months ago — rookies are now students of the game.

“I put my best foot forward every time” Wilson explained to me. “I’m going to compete, because that’s the way I was raised my entire life.”

First round draft pick Bruce Irvin (a linebacker out of West Virginia) isn’t concerned with the mental aspect; he just has a hard time with the six o’clock wake-up call every morning. He says all the rookies are up early, and then they have to spend extra hours (that the veterans don’t) at the training facility every day, so that makes for really long days. Aside from all that, Irvin says the speed of the NFL is the biggest difference for him.

“Everybody is fast,” he said. “Tackles are big, athletic dudes that move like power forwards in the [NBA].”

We often focus on the glitz and glamor of playing in the NFL, but that’s not the lifestyle for most rookies. These guys are constantly fighting for their professional lives — one mistake can mean the end of their football careers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the rookies say, “I have to make the most of my opportunities.” From Bruce Irvin (who’s guaranteed a roster spot), to fourth round running back Robert Turbin, to seventh round defensive end Greg Scruggs — they’re all determined to make an impression at camp.

“Every time you come out to practice, someone is trying to win a spot,” said second round pick Bobby Wagner (a linebacker from Utah State). “If you come here asleep, someone will take your job.”

“I’m just trying to earn a spot on the team,” said Korey Toomer. “Whether it’s special teams or anything else the coach wants me to do, wherever they want to put me, that’s where I’ll play.”

Bruce Irvin Seattle Seahawks Linebacker

Seattle Seahawks rookie linebacker Bruce Irvin

On top of all the adjustments they have to make and the fierce competition, the rookies also have to deal with some light-hearted hazing. Toomer says he hasn’t faced anything yet, but he knows it’s coming. Irvin also says he hasn’t been “tied to any goalposts” yet, but he does have to carry a veteran’s shoulder pads and helmet out to the practice field every day. Wagner is dealing with the same chore. I saw him lugging around Leroy Hill’s gear after practice. I have a feeling the worst is yet to come for these guys. If the Seahawks are anything like the Seattle Mariners, the rookies will have to carry around ’Hello Kitty’ backpacks — a right of passage for first-year pitchers on the M’s roster.

Don’t get me wrong. This post isn’t meant to expose the plight of an NFL rookie. These guys are loving every second of this. They’ve worked their entire lives to reach this point. When I asked Korey Toomer if he was having fun at training camp he quickly replied yes, and added that “football is always fun.” Russell Wilson agrees. He repeatedly told me that it’s a blessing for him to be competing in an NFL camp. Even if they don’t earn a starting role or even a roster spot, these guys have reached a pinnacle that most of us can only dream about. They’re in the frickin’ NFL — getting paid to play football.

I’m always down to talk football, so I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment right here or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, and don’t forget you can get more great sports coverage right now on http://allaroundtim.com!