Though some have since moved on, the 2013 Seahawks will be together again Wednesday to celebrate their historic season in one of the most historic settings imaginable — the White House.
The Seahawks’ turn to take part in what has become one of the more noted traditions for team and individual champions arrives at 11 a.m. Seattle time when they will be honored by President Obama in the White House Rose Garden.
The team will tour the White House and Oval Office in addition to the 10- to 15-minute ceremony.
The Seahawks have already begun preparing for the 2014 season with conditioning and offseason workouts, and the White House ceremony will mark a final goodbye to 2013.
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Players who have since departed to other teams such as receiver Golden Tate (signed as a free agent by Detroit), defensive end and defensive team captain Red Bryant and defensive end Chris Clemons (each released and then signed by Jacksonville) are expected to again be Seahawks for a day, joining their former teammates at the White House.
“I think I’m more excited to (see) Big Red and Clem than I am to see the (White House),’’ linebacker Bruce Irvin tweeted earlier this week.
The ceremony, though, will also serve as one of the most concrete symbols of the unprecedented heights the team has climbed in a relatively short time, winning the Super Bowl in the fourth year under the tandem of coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, and with a roster they largely built themselves.
“It’s a real testament to our team and how far we’ve come,” cornerback Richard Sherman told the team’s website, Seahawks.com. “When I first got here (as a fifth-round pick in 2011), a lot of people said Seattle was an afterthought — south Alaska. I think we’re far from that afterthought.”
The tradition of Super Bowl champs visiting the White House is said to date to the 1969 New York Jets. In the 1980s, it began to become a regular occurrence for championship teams and athletes from pro and college sports to be honored.
“I’m a Lakers fan, so I’ve seen the Lakers go a few times,’’ said Sherman, who grew up in Compton, Calif. “It is surreal to be in those shoes and to be able to actually experience it.”
The Seahawks will become at least the fourth local team to visit the White House. Fans can view the ceremony live at seahawks.com.
The 1991 University of Washington football team visited in March 1992 in a dual ceremony with Miami, with whom they shared the national title.
The UW volleyball team that won the 2005 NCAA title visited the White House the following April as part of a group of 12 national college teams that were honored at once.
And the Storm team that won the 2010 WNBA title was honored the following June.
Receiver Paul Richardson, the team’s first draft pick, taken with the 45th overall pick in the second round, tweeted Tuesday that he had signed his rookie contract. Richardson will reportedly receive a roughly $1.7 million signing bonus along with a standard four-year rookie contract worth as much as $4.7 million.
With contracts now slotted via terms of the NFL’s collective-bargaining agreement, rookie contract signings are mostly a formality. Seattle has five of its nine-man rookie class under contract.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.