Focus on: Matt Hasselbeck

Posted Oct 3, 2013

The most prolific passer in Seahawks’ history will be on the opposite sideline this Sunday as Matt Hasselbeck is now the backup to Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts.

Matt Hasselbeck carved out his place in Seahawks’ history one pass at a time for 10 productive seasons. But he’s in a different place this season.

Some things, however, never change.

“Matt has been awesome,” Andrew Luck, the franchise quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, said on Wednesday when asked about his new backup.

Awesome pretty much sums up Hasselbeck’s stay with the Seahawks, as well. As good as he was on the field after being acquired in a 2001 trade with the Green Bay Packers, the affable Hasselbeck was even better with his teammates, coaches, the media and basically anyone who crossed his path on or off the field.

“Matt is a leader in every sense of the word,” is how Lofa Tatupu, the middle linebacker on the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team, put it. “He’s tough, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that. He’ll let you know about some of the injuries, but he definitely goes out there with things that should prevent him going out there and playing as well as he does.

“I think the thing we appreciated most about Matt is when we’d go out to practice and when things were getting monotonous, he’d break it up with one of his jokes or his humor. He understands as a leader that when times are getting tough, he’s got to push people through it.”

As a player, Hasselbeck set franchise records for attempts in a career (4,250), season (562) and game (55); completions in a career (2,559), season (352) and game (39); completion percentage in a career (.602); passing yards in a career (29,434), season (3,966) and game (449); and is second in touchdown passes in a career (174) and season (28) and victories (69) to Dave Krieg (195, 32 and 70). Not surprisingly, Hasselbeck was voted the quarterback on the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.

As a person, Hasselbeck was a presence that became the face of the franchise during the most-successful five-season run in club history – 2003-07, when the Seahawks won four consecutive NFC West titles and advanced to the playoffs five seasons in a row.

Hasselbeck has changed teams and roles – he signed with the Colts during the offseason after playing the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans. But it sounds like he hasn’t changed at all.

“Most importantly, Matt is a great teammate – not only to me and Chandler Harnish, the other second-year quarterback we have; but to guys in the locker room,” Luck said. “He gets along with everybody. He’s a great personality. He’s always trying to help guys out, which I appreciate. He’s a true team player.

“And he obviously knows so much about the game. He played in that Super Bowl with the Seahawks and has been in just about every situation. So he’s a great person – sort of soundboard, if you will – to have to bounce ideas off and talk football with. And things outside of football. I really enjoy him.”

At 38 and in his 15th NFL season, there’s still some game left in Hasselbeck’s right arm, as well. In the Colts’ 37-3 romp over the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday, he completed 2 of 3 passes for 37 yards in leading a drive to a field goal after taking over for Luck in the fourth quarter.

“Matt’s awesome,” said Colts coach Chuck Pagano, using that A-word again as the first adjective to describe Hasselbeck. “Obviously, his resume speaks for itself. But just being in that room and another set of eyes, it’s like having another coach in the building and on the field.

“And certainly we know, if need be, he can go in and play winning football for us.”