By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks roster is full of players who thrive, in part anyway, on being underappreciated.
The late-round picks, the undrafted guys, the players who were deemed expendable by other teams, they all fit in perfectly on a team led by head coach Pete Carroll, the guy who was twice fired by NFL teams before reinventing himself at USC.
So what happens when a team that perennially feels unappreciated is suddenly getting the credit it deserves? How do players with considerable chips on their shoulders handle being the NFL’s latest “it” team? Well, we’re about to find out.
No longer are the Seahawks, the team playing in the NFL’s most remote outpost, the plucky little team that could. They’re quickly turning into bullies. Apparently, three wins by a combined margin of 150-30 tends to make people take notice. So is there any concern the Seahawks could lose their edge now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth and are being called the NFL’s hottest team?
“Yeah, sure, there is always concern for that,” Carroll said. “That’s what my job is, to not let that happen, so I better be concerned about that. I’m very confident about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and the language that we use and the way we talk, the way they’re talking. I love to hear their comments at this point and how they’ve dealt with the last few weeks. They’re right on point.”
And just because the Seahawks have their first 10-win season and first four-game winning streak since 2007, and even if they’re finally getting some credit, they’re not likely to lose their edge. Cornerback Richard Sherman can still find motivation in being a fifth-round pick, defensive end Chris Clemons can be angry that nobody drafted him, that multiple teams have given up on him, and that even after three straight double-digit sack seasons, he’s still largely unknown to a national audience. And the list goes on and on from there, from undrafted receiver Doug Baldwin, to too short quarterback Russell Wilson, to running back Marshawn Lynch, who the Bills gave up on despite his considerable talents.
“The chip on the shoulder? That’s not something that we just manifested for the sake of getting fired up,” Carroll said. “The guys in this room feel that. Almost every one of these guys has their reason. I feel like that myself. We just kind of share in that chip and we don’t even have to pass it around; we’ve all got one. That’s just kind of how it’s been. Just look, we’re up here in the Northwest and they like talking about us after they talk about everybody else.”
You see, even when the Seahawks get respect, they get it too darn late. So even if the Seahawks have already clinched a playoff berth, even if local and national pundits are calling them the best team in the NFL, for now anyway, they don’t plan on losing their edge.
“I’m sure we’re going to be the most ignored team this week, as always,” Sherman said. “We don’t care about being the hottest team or anything. We just want to go out there and win ballgames. We don’t expect to get very much respect regardless of how the games go.”
Added safety Kam Chancellor, the fifth-round pick who was too big to play safety in the NFL, well, until he became a Pro Bowl safety anyway, “We’re still not going to get any respect because of where we are and who we are.”
Linebacker Leroy Hill came out of Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, and linebacker Malcolm Smith has a groin issue. Carroll did not indicate the severity of either injury. Cornerback Marcus Trufant, who has missed four games with a hamstring injury, should return to practice Wednesday, Carroll said. The status of cornerback Walter Thurmond, who also has a hamstring injury, is still up in the air.
The Seahawks also made one roster move Monday, waiving receiver Deon Butler, who only recently re-joined the team that cut him in September. Rookie safety Winston Guy, who had been serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances, was activated to the 53-man roster from the exempt list.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.