Leave No Doubt 24/7

Posted Aug 6, 2013

The Seahawks’ latest mantra came not from coach Pete Carroll, the master of motivation, but the players who are dedicating themselves to an all-the-time commitment of leaving no doubt.

Leave No Doubt 24/7.

If you’ve been to Seahawks Training Camp or watched practice on, you’ve seen it on T-shirts being worn by assistant coaches and players. If you’re a fan of Dave Boling at the News Tribune, you’ve read about it.

But the team’s latest mantra did not come from its master of motivation, coach Pete Carroll. This one was born in a players’ meeting.

“It’s something we came upon together, collectively,” Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung said. “It’s a phrase that we all believe in – Leaving No Doubt.

“And the major part of this thing is the 24/7 that comes after it.”

The catch phase is just the hammer to an attached message that nails what this season is all about. The players and Carroll aren’t ready to share the full message, just yet, but Okung referenced the extended meaning.

“Anybody can do something wrong,” he said. “But do you have enough discipline, do you hold yourself accountable enough to say, ‘I can do the right thing when it’s not so easy, or when it’s not the popular thing to do?’ ”

Okung paused to glance around the locker room before adding, “It’s really called being selfless and having that type of humility. Those are the type of guys that are here.”      

The full message is on placards in the hallways that lead from the locker room to the equipment room and training room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. And it’s more than mere words – as motivational as they might be – for the players.

So you don’t have to read between the lines to realize Okung and his teammates are talking about a commitment that extends beyond the locker room, the meeting rooms, the practice field and anything that might happen during training camp, the preseason or even the regular seasons.

“It’s an everyday, all-the-time thing,” Okung said. “We’re Seahawks, on the field, off the field, with our families, when we’re away in the offseason. We’re Seahawks and we’re going to hold ourselves up to the reputation.”

There were long stretches in franchise history when it didn’t mean as much to be a Seahawk. The team didn’t post a winning record from 1980-82, 1991-98 and 2008-11.

This Seahawks team is coming off an 11-5 record and the franchise’s first road playoff victory since 1983. There are heightened expectations – unprecedented, perhaps – for this season, and the players don’t want to get in their own way as they strive to achieve their primary goal: Winning the NFC West.

It’s not a coincidence that the players dedicated themselves to these well-chosen words after five Seahawks have been suspended for violating NFL policies since 2011.

“Doing things the right way is not as easy as it sounds,” Okung said. “But that’s what it’s going to take – guys that believe in our goal and guys that believe in the prize at the end.”

At first, it sounded like the message might be a Carroll plant. It’s not, which makes the significance even more meaningful for the coach.

“It’s a great message for us and the guys came to it because they wanted to make a statement and they wanted to get better. They wanted to improve,” Carroll said after practice on Tuesday. “I think the messaging is really clear.”

Carroll then deferred to a comment made by wide receiver Doug Baldwin, which echoed Okung’s explanation: “That’s what the 24/7 means. When you’re here at the facility or when you’re away from the facility, you have to act accordingly to being a professional for the Seattle Seahawks because you don’t only represent yourself, you represent this organization.

“The point is that we’re going to leave no doubt of who we are both on and off the field.”

Offered Carroll, “We know we know how to commit. We’ve just extended it to all aspects of everything that we’re doing, and I think it was a great thought.”

The players not only came up with the words, they had them put on those placards and hung were they are impossible to ignore. That has been Carroll’s calling card since he arrived in January of 2010. There are the “I’m In” signs above the doorways that lead to the practice fields – outside, as well as the Indoor Practice Facility – and are slapped by each player on his way to practice. There are the “It’s All About the Ball” signs that can be found in meeting rooms.

But the latest manta has the players’ fingerprints all over it.

“We put it up there on our own,” Okung said. “We were in a team meeting and we wanted to come up with something that really meant something, not just to one person but to everybody.”