The Elephant in the Locker Room: All In, or Giving Everything You’ve Got for the Team


be-back-smBy Greg Wright

The big contracts have been banked. Russell Wilson: $87.6 M; Richard Sherman $56 M; Doug Baldwin: $46 M; Bobby Wagner: $43 M; Earl Thomas: $40 M; Jimmy Graham: $40 M; Cliff Avril: $28.5 M; Michael Bennett $28.5 M; Kam Chancellor: $28 M; K.J. Wright: $27 M; Jeremy Lane: $23 M.

But after Sunday night, do you need any more proof that Pete Carroll’s Seahawks play for more than just money, mega-more than moolah?

Moan as you might about what you wanted to see but didn’t (say, a plethora of pointage), are you under any impression that the Seahawks are inclined to lounge on their laurels?

How about Richard Sherman playing so hard his legs simply wouldn’t jump on Palmer’s 40-yard completion to Nelson in OT?

How about Kelcie McCray being on the field for 108 plays, yet still chasing down the fastest man at the NFL Combine on that very same play, and saving the game?

How about Bobby Wagner missing only a single defensive snap… because he was getting an intravenous infusion of saline to rehydrate… and leaping over the center on field goal attempts twice, blocking one and forcing a miss on the other?

How about Michael Bennett playing the whole game on an already-injured knee that now might need surgical repair?

How about Russell Wilson driving down the field in OT despite an injured ankle, an injured knee, and a damaged pec on his throwing arm?

How about Jimmy Graham even being on the field at all after coming back from a season-ending torn patellar tendon?

How about Jeremy Lane coming back from the gruesome compound fracture in his arm and blown-out knee he suffered after his pick of Brady in the Super Bowl?

Do you remember that Sherman played that game with a lame arm, Thomas with a bum shoulder, and Chancellor with a bad knee?

Do you remember that ill-fated throw to Ricardo Lockette at the end of that game, and Lockette literally risking his neck to play Special Teams in Week 8 at Dallas last season, bringing his career to an end?

How often are you shocked to see Richard Sherman or Doug Baldwin getting snaps on Special Teams?

Do you really think these guys just play for the pay? Not the Seahawks.

Many times over the course of Marshawn Lynch’s career I heard Cris Collinsworth and other announcers refer to the “business decision” that some defenders made in electing not to tackle Lynch near the goal line. So sure, there’s a good bit of that with players wanting to protect themselves and stretch their multi-million-dollar contracts as many years as possible.

But I sure didn’t see any of that Sunday night. From either team.

And yet with all the brotherly sacrifice and love of the game on display Sunday night, this is the guy who stood out most to me.

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This is left tackle Bradley Sowell, the guy that Bob Stelton and a lot of others in the local press like to single out for “horrible” performance. As if Sowell struts around like God’s gift to line play, or as if the Seahawks lavished some outlandish contract on the guy. Or as if paying offensive linemen in general were the highest priority for John Schneider.

Do you think Bradley Sowell plays for the pay?

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Here’s Sowell being helped off the field after injuring his knee on the very third-and-thirty play at the goal line where Wilson completed a thirteen-yard pass to Baldwin.

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And here’s Sowell being carted to the locker room shortly after. You can’t tell in this still image, but he’s crying. And more than that. Click on the image to see an animated GIF. He covers up his head, and he sobs.

Yeah, this is the Seahawk you love to bitch about. This is the jersey you’d never think of buying. But this is the picture of a guy who thought his season–maybe his career–was over.

And yet, you know what? This same Bradley Sowell is the guy who, on Thursday, was in the locker room showing his teammates how he could still do deep knee bends, who was campaigning to get back on the field this Sunday in New Orleans.

That’s how much he wants to play.

That’s the kind of teammate you want.

That’s the kind of Seahawks you’ve got.

Don’t you love it?

After four playoff appearances in a row, everyone’s paying attention… yet even with all the scrutiny, it seems that there’s always some key issue that’s getting glossed over. It’s the elephant in the locker room, if you will, and gosh darn if I’ll let that ride. Join us weekly for a little closer look at our NFC West Champions.


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