Hasselbeck, Strong bring President a team jersey

KIRKLAND – Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had to dodge an oncoming swarm of angry rushers and make a delivery to his intended receiver.

This wasn’t a football game or even a practice, but Hasselbeck’s memorable presentation Monday afternoon. The Seahawks quarterback and teammate Mack Strong were at the Bellevue Hyatt to give a Seahawks jersey to president George W. Bush.

“It was a thrill,” Hasselbeck said after Tuesday’s practice. “The tough part was just getting into his Hyatt because (protesters) were yelling and throwing tomatoes at me.”

Hasselbeck and Strong eventually made it and presented jersey No. 43 to the 43rd president of the United States.

“It was an opportunity to meet the president and get out of (team) meetings,” Hasselbeck said, “so that was a win-win for me.”

While Hasselbeck’s name has often been associated with conservative politics because of his sister-in-law, television talk-show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the Seahawks’ quarterback said he doesn’t consider himself a Republican and isn’t really into politics at all.

“I vote,” he said. “That’s about as political as I am. I did vote for (Bush) the last time and the time before, but I don’t think you’ll ever see me campaigning; that’s not my desire.

“But I definitely think it’s important that you vote and that you have an educated vote, and I pride myself on that.”

Because of the protesters, and a large anti-Bush population in the city of Seattle, Hasselbeck could have shied away from the appearance. But he said he’s not concerned about being associated with any political party.

“There’s always that chance,” he said, “but I’m not afraid of that. This is America, and I respect other people’s opinions.

“I know there’s been a lot of bad publicity lately, but I’ve been to Fort Lewis in the past three months, and those guys would’ve gone (to meet the president) in a heartbeat. So, in a way, I feel like I’m supporting them also.”

Cuts announced: The Seahawks officially announced their first round of cuts, adding quarterback Erik Meyer to a list of 11 other players.

Meyer, an Eastern Washington University product, joined tackle Jonathan Alston, cornerback Dennis Davis, safety Patrick Ghee, running back A.J. Harris, wide receiver Chris Jones, offensive lineman Austin King, guard Jason Murphy, wide receiver Robert Ortiz, linebacker Marcus Rucker, kicker Kurt Smith and tight end Andy Stokes.

The Seahawks now have 75 players on their roster, including two rookie defensive backs with in-state ties: University of Washington safety C.J. Wallace and Washington State University cornerback Odewale Dada.

Final cuts are due Saturday, when another 22 players are scheduled to go.

Birthday boy: Running back Shaun Alexander has a 30th birthday on Thursday, but he said he doesn’t have any big plans before the game against the Oakland Raiders.

“I don’t think I’ll do anything for my birthday,” he said. “We’ll have a great celebration starting Thursday after the game and going through Monday.”

The Seahawks host the Raiders at 6 p.m.

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