Seahawks notes: Hasselbeck wins Largent Award

  • By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
  • Thursday, December 31, 2009 12:01am
  • Sports

RENTON — Though he has struggled on the field at times in this NFL season, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck continues to earn the support and admiration of his fellow Seattle Seahawks.

And this week those same teammates voted Hasselbeck as the 2009 recipient of the Largent Award, named for former Seattle wide receiver Steve Largent, and given yearly to the player who “best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and integrity of the Seahawks.”

The trophy will be presented to Hasselbeck prior to Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans at Qwest Field.

“It’s a special honor,” he said. “And it’s voted on by your teammates, so that’s very important.”

In a bit of self-deprecating humor, Hasselbeck said he was tempted “to count the votes (because) I’m a little suspicious. I really thought there were more deserving people this year.

“But it’s a very cool trophy and I’ll find a place for it. It’s a good honor.”

The award was first given to Largent in 1989, the year he retired after completing his NFL Hall of Fame career. It has since been given to many players, with no one receiving the award more than once except former Seattle fullback Mack Strong, who was a five-time winner.

Last year the award was given to a non-player for the first time with outgoing head coach Mike Holmgren the winner.

Record chase

With Seattle and Tennessee both out of the playoff chase, most of the attention in Sunday’s game will be focused on Titans running back Chris Johnson.

With 1,872 rushing yards this season, Johnson needs 128 yards to reach 2,000 — something that has only happened five times in NFL history — and 234 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season record of 2,105.

The Seahawks will be doing everything they can to see neither of those things happens. But they also have plenty of respect for Johnson’s talent and for the statistics he’s compiled.

“He’s phenomenal, he really is,” said Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. “You can put a highlight tape together on him in just one game. He’s very explosive. And not only in the run, but he’s their leading pass receiver, too. So he’s definitely a threat.”

Because Johnson has the ability “to make a lot of people miss,” the Seahawks have emphasized “the need to be exact” in practice this week, Bradley said. That is, putting defenders in every gap so that Johnson has no lanes to run.

“But our guys have a lot of pride,” he added. “And they’ll be challenged this week.”

It will be “a great challenge for our team,” Hasselbeck agreed. “A great challenge for our defense. He’s a great player and he’s had a great year. And the guys up front for him have done an incredible job.

“I think it’s always fun, no matter what position you’re playing, to play against the best. And he’s one of the best,” Hasselbeck said.

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