Seahawks players will disperse now. They’re heading off, out of town, back home, or on vacation somewhere to start a long offseason. But before going, coach Pete Carroll wanted to remind them about the challenges of reacclimating to society during a global pandemic.
“There’s a lot that we dealt with, and these guys are going to continue to deal with staying healthy,” Carroll said in the opening remarks of his season-ending news conference Monday.
From the time the Seahawks got together in July to begin training camp, Carroll has treated the pandemic as a competition — as another opponent his team must overcome. And that approach worked for the Seahawks, who were the only NFL team not to have a player test positive for COVID-19 during the season.
Defensive end Jonathan Bullard on Saturday was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but Carroll revealed Monday that Bullard had a false-positive result last week.
The Seahawks were the last team to place on a player on the reserve/COVID-19 list in early December, when defensive tackle Bryan Mone was added. That was not for a positive test but as a precaution after a close-contact situation, Carroll said then.
“We’ve been after it all year long, and that’s a major concern right now — is when everybody goes home and those that leave the area, they take the lessons that they’ve learned and the discipline that they’ve acquired and share it with their families and the people that they’re going to be around and be really, really careful how things move forward,” Carroll said. “That has not lost its emphasis during the course of this year.”
The Seahawks, like the rest of the NFL, have gone through daily COVID-19 testing at the team’s facility in Renton, and have largely treated their building as a bubble. Many team meetings throughout the course of the season were held on Zoom, and when they were together in the building or in the locker room, masks were mandatory.
Before Saturday’s playoff game against the Rams, the nurses, nurse practitioners and phlebotomists who have been administering the daily tests — the Swab Team, the Seahawks dubbed them — raised the 12 Flag, which Carroll said was a show of appreciation for that group’s work.
Cornerback Shaquill Griffin said Sunday he plans to return home to Florida with his twin brother, Shaquem. After that, they have plans to go to Texas to train this offseason.
“I want to start showing my family the things that we’ve been through, the things that we learned — just how to continue to overcome this COVID stuff and just do better at it,” Griffin said. “We learned so much, we sacrificed so much. We know what’s right, we know what’s wrong. It’s just time to give some of this knowledge. Everybody don’t get the same knowledge that we get going through this season that we went through — you’re talking about getting COVID tested 200-plus days straight. You know, we did something right here. …
“Once I get home, I want to give that knowledge and try to stay as safe as possible.”