Mini-camp: Day Seven

Being the leader and face of any organization is tough, but being the leader of one of the best offenses in the NFL and team that is on the brink of another Super Bowl run, can be tougher than being one of the founders of Microsoft. Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck is up to the task and he talked about his team, his owner and some summer plans before training camp starts.

"We all have a lot of pride playing for this team," Hasselbeck told the assembled media following practice. "I think there's special memories now between the players, the fans and Mr. (Paul) Allen at the NFC Championship Game when he was waving the flag. That was a moment in history.

"You know, talking to him after big wins this year and even after some tough losses and seeing him at the post game Super Bowl party playing with his band, he's kind of a rock star. He's living the life. It's good to see him around. I know he's probably very excited for our season just like we are and there's just a lot of pride in the Seahawks organization right now. It's a good time."

On the field, the defense is continuing to have a good time, flying around and showing just why they're not the "other" unit on head coach Mike Holmgren's team.

"Obviously with Leroy (Hill) and Lofa (Tatupu) those guys are a year more experienced and they're playing a lot better and having Julian (Peterson) over there is a different kind of guy," Hasselbeck said. "We've never had a guy like that, that's got his kind of versatility and he can do a lot of different things.

"With Kelly (Jennings) out there now, he's new and he's playing a different style and technique, he's a good player and he's learning. It's just a little bit different, but I'd say more than anything I just noticed how much faster our defense is."

The defense has been flying around the first seven days of mini-camp, at one point, angering Holmgren to the point where he emphasized his frustration to his offense after a workout.

One player making Haselbeck's life easier this fall will be WR Nate Burleson who was signed away from the Minnesota Vikings as a free-agent in March.

"Nate's done a great job of being involved in our offseason program, so it's not like the first time I get to see him or throw with him is going to be in training camp," Hasselbeck noted. "He's trying to learn our offense and learn our system and the guys that have been here are helping him with that and it's been really smooth.

"He's got good talent and he's a good player and we're still on that ‘Getting to know each other' thing, but I would say right now it feels pretty good. I feel like we're going to have a good year and he's going to be productive for us and I'm happy to have him."

Before last season, Seattle always seemed to possess solid talent and depth, but little in the way of team chemistry. Insiders reported on disharmony in the locker room and players seeking personal gain over the team concept, but Hasselbeck claims that doesn't happen anymore.

"To me it's pretty simple – just try to be the best teammate you can be," Hasselbeck said matter-of-factly. "Sometimes on a team there's a lot of guys and you get guys who aren't being good teammates and that's annoying and sometimes it can divide a team.

"I think what we've learned is a lot of our success last year was due to the fact that guys were good teammates and now when someone does something outside the box of that people call them on it right away and say ‘Hey, that's not going to get it done'. It's understood now. We don't let things slide like we used to. We've got a good locker room and a good group of guys who get that and understand and believe in it."

As mini-camp winds down and players and coaches take their last little bit of free time before training camp begins, Hasselbeck said it isn't all fun and games during this time of the year.

"For players, we're off and we're out of here, but this is, for me, a very important time to be in shape, get in shape, especially throwing the ball because training camp is the toughest thing we do," Hasselbeck said. "Physically we throw twice a day; the workouts are more demanding and much more physical.

"I realize the coaches are all going on vacation, but the players, we're gearing up now. This is the final preparations for what hopefully will be a very long season, so if anything I feel like it kicks into higher gear right now a little bit more."

Now entering his eighth season in the league, Hasselbeck said he's going to do what he usually does during the next six weeks.

"Oh I've got some plans," Hasselbeck said with the typical gleam in his eye. "Lots of plans, lot's to do. Couple weddings – you know all the normal stuff – Disneyworld. All the good stuff – Tacoma"

Seahawks fans hope their own big plans include a trip to Miami in early February of 2007.





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