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Focus on: Chris Maragos
Chris Maragos never looks back.
That’s because the Seahawks’ backup safety – and former backup safety for the San Francisco 49ers – is too busy focusing on the doors that might open in front of him. So don’t expect any bulletin-board quotes from Maragos this week as his new team prepares to face his former team in Sunday night’s nationally televised game at CenturyLink Field.
“The biggest thing is it’s the next opponent for us,” Maragos said. “Regardless of how big a game it is, whether there’s history or not, you take every game and you just go out there and try to play as well as you possibly can, be prepared as well as you possibly can and leave it all out there like it’s your last opportunity to play football.”
It’s an approach that has served Maragos well in an NFL career that’s now in his fourth season. He entered the league as a rookie free agent with the 49ers in 2010, when he was the backup to Pro Bowl free safety Deshon Goldson (who’s now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) for three games. After the 49ers released Maragos, the Seahawks signed him to their practice squad and then the active roster – where he has been the backup to All-Pro and Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas.
But if Maragos has shown anything in his 28 games with the Seahawks it’s that always-be-prepared attitude.
Like in Sunday’s season opener against the Panthers in Carolina. When Jeron Johnson went out on the opening kickoff with a strained hamstring, Maragos stepped in as the third safety in the Seahawks’ big-nickel package. And when a Jon Ryan punt went off the leg of the Panthers’ Josh Thomas, Maragos was there to recover the fumble.
“When the door opens, you just walk through it,” Maragos said. “So you prepare yourself and put yourself in a great position to have success and when your moment arrives – whether it’s special teams or defense – then you go and you make your plays.”
And Maragos would love to have a few more doors open for him Sunday night. Not because of the opponent, but because of the importance of the game.
“We want to be in big games,” he said. “We feel we’re prepared for that. We feel that we’ve been battle-tested. We feel that we’ve really been shaped and molded for those moments. So we want to capitalize on these moments and really just become the team we’re setting out to be.”
Maragos has experienced CenturyLink Field from both sidelines, as the 49ers opened the 2010 season in Seattle.
“I remember it was really loud,” he said through a smile when asked for his memories of being on the opposing-team sideline. “I remember in the meetings in the week leading up to the game they were telling us, ‘Hey, it’s going to be loud. It’s one of the loudest places to play in the NFL. The fans are great there. It’s going to be tough atmosphere to play in.’
“But you kind of get that with all the better stadiums you go to. Then you finally get up here and you go, ‘Whoa.’ So no matter how much they try to prepare you for it, the 12th Man is amazing and we really thrive off that.”