The Seahawks on Monday put members of the local media through a mini-combine to get a sense of what the real thing is like. Or to just laugh at us. Take your pick.
Against the advice of my representatives, who thought I should rest on my previous numbers, I joined about 25 of my sportswriting and broadcasting brethren in the first (hopefully not annual) Seahawks media combine Monday.
Sadly, I think I lived down to pre-combine expectations (though I protest vigorously all this stuff about me being “a character risk’’ or that there are “off-field concerns.’’ And I won’t stop associating with those the scouts have said are “bad influences’’ since to do so would mean never stepping foot in the Seahawks media room again).
The idea, to recap, was to put the media through a mini-combine to get a sense of what the real thing is like (or just laugh at us, take your pick. Certainly, it was not done for healthy entertainment since “health’’ is the last word that came to mind watching any of this).
So we gathered Monday morning at the VMAC to run a 40-yard-dash, a three-cone drill and a 20-yard shuttle as well as a vertical jump (vertical a term used really loosely here), a standing broad jump (the standing part I could do) and then a version of the gauntlet drill (in which participants are thrown passes running from sideline to sideline, making this one time when the term ‘pedestrian’ really did fit to describe the receivers on that field, in every possible meaning of the word).
We were guided through the drills by former Seahawk Jordan Babineux, who showed he had not forgotten the media training he received during his playing days by constantly telling us what a good job we were all doing.
The smartest thing Babineaux said all day was to remind us beforehand to stretch. Other than dollars, though, I haven’t stretched much of anything in years, and I imagine there are a lot of muscles I haven’t been acquainted with in a long time that are going to say a hearty hello tomorrow morning.
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As we warmed up, a few Seahawks walked in — Richard Sherman, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor. I couldn’t help thinking that they had to have had something better to do. Laundry, maybe.
Wagner joked he wanted to come interview us afterward. I resisted blurting out what would have been my answer — “I’m just about that inaction, boss.’’
For some reason, traffic hadn’t been bad on my drive to the VMAC Monday (in contrast to when the Seahawks call a last-minute press conference to announce an important signing) and I showed up in time to be assigned the second bib handed out.
I was then unfairly punished for my punctuality by having to go first in every drill in my group. A couple of the players hadn’t gotten bored yet and were still there to watch me “take off’’ for my 40. They could have gotten in their cars and driven home by the time I finished (though can I blame that I recently turned an age that means my mailbox is stuffed almost every day with “invitations’’ to join the AARP?) If you really must know the time, it was something close to Shaquille O’Neal’s height (you can find all the results here, punishingly detailed by Seahawks.com).
As for most of the rest of the drills, one of the sayings of Pete Carroll when he’s trying to answer politely about a player who may not have had their best day — “he made it through’’ — probably describes it best.
Maybe I would have done better if they’d brought out the Jump to Conclusions mat from Office Space for the broad jump (yes, I’m reaching. I may have proven I’m not all that athletic, but I can still throw people under the bus when needed.)
Actually, it was all a little bit instructive. Babineaux and others there, such as former Seahawk Paul Johns, showed us how to get down in proper stances to improve our takeoffs in the sprints. That could come in handy getting in the food lines in the press box next year on gameday.
And it was more than a little fun.
One of those throwing passes in the gauntlet was Jim Zorn.
If the me of 40 years ago had been told that someday Jim Zorn would fire (okay, lightly toss) a pass my way at the Seahawks training facility, I might not have slept for a week (and a quick digression here that anyone who ever just looks at Zorn’s stats and argues he doesn’t deserve his place on the Ring of Honor should just put the stats down and walk away and accept that sometimes it’s about more than that).
Yes, I did catch the pass from Zorn (making the me of 40 years ago proud).
Ultimately, I certainly didn’t Win Forever (or win anything, actually.) And how much I was able to Always Compete might also be debated.
But as far as Feb. 29’s go, it’s up there for the most memorable I’ve ever had.