Former Vikings linebacker Heath Farwell is learning the coaching ropes as the Seahawks attempt to win their second straight Super Bowl.
Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Heath Farewell found that an offseason injury that landed him on injured reserve can be a blessing in disguise.
Farwell, who was a member of the last year’s Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks, had knee surgery in March and wasn’t able to go through the offseason conditioning program. During the summer, his agent and the Seahawks were discussing the possibility of an injury settlement when they found another solution that could set up Farwell’s future.
Although he isn’t officially a part of the coaching staff, Farwell took the opportunity offered to him to attend coaches meetings and learn the process from that aspect of preparations.
“It’s just been really cool. I’ve learned so much. I’ve been in this program for four years so I get it, I understand it,” Farwell said this week as his Seahawks prepared for their second straight Super Bowl. “Getting to see the other side, to see the second floor on what really happens and what goes into the meetings and what they put into the 20-minute meeting and all the information they gather.”
Of course, the 10-year veteran of the NFL knew of the long hours that NFL coaches put into their jobs, but getting a first-hand taste of it gave him a new appreciation for how much preparation coaches put into a 30-minute presentation to the players.
“It’s an inside glimpse of what most players don’t get the opportunity to (see). They don’t see that side of it,” Farwell said. “All the staff, it’s not just (head coach Pete) Carroll, but Dan Quinn has been unbelievable just kind of mentoring through this thing. Ken Norton Jr., my linebacker coach, I sit in his meetings and pick his brain. Not picking his brain as a player, but I’m kind of picking his brain for coaching. It’s been really cool.
“The grind, it’s definitely a grind.”
But it’s also something he would consider in the near future. Playing again is still something he wants to do, but he realizes that portion of his career is coming to a close.
The Vikings signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and was promoted to the active roster after five weeks on their practice squad. He built a reputation in Minnesota as a special teams leader, finished his career there tied for fourth all-time with 113 special teams tackles. In 2009, he became the first Vikings players since Joey Browner in 1985 to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl as a special teams player after garnering 24 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
After signing with Seattle, he led the Seahawks in special teams tackles in 2011 and 2012 with 21 and 15, respectively.
But over the last year, his career has come full circle. The former undrafted player out of San Diego State ended up mentoring Brock Coyle, an undrafted player out of Montana that was competing with Farwell for his job.
“I get hurt and Coach Carroll says, ‘I want you to help him.’ So that’s a guy I’m mentoring the most,” Farwell said. “I teach him to watch film. It’s kind of cool. It’s kind of gone full circle. The guy I was competing against, that was trying to take my job, here I am helping him.
“It’s been a good opportunity to learn that side of coaching and I want to get into coaching. Whether it’s in a month I’m coaching, or two years from now, this year has just been unbelievable for me going forward in my career.”
Nothing has been promised to him, but Farwell understands that the Seahawks’ focus right now is on the Super Bowl, not his future. Eventually, he will have that talk with Carrol and credits his injury for opening the coaching door to him.
“The season last year, we had an unbelievable year. Getting hurt, my body wasn’t back yet,” he said. “… I think it was kind of a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t ready to play yet. To see a glimpse into my future and see if I really liked it.”
Turns out, he does. But for now he would prefer to get another year or two as a player.
Farwell’s future could be in coaching
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