Seahawks draft choices and their mothers sharing rookie minicamp experience

Posted May 12, 2013

The Seahawks didn’t just bring in their 11 draft choices for the three-day rookie minicamp, they also invited their mothers for what has been a unique Mother’s Day weekend.

Christine Seymour is having a Mother’s Day she’ll never forget, because it’s unlike any she has had or will have.

That will happen when your son – 6-foot-4, 301-pound guard Ryan – is participating in the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp, and the club also has invited you to participate in what has turned out to be a very special Mother’s Day weekend.

“This is fantastic,” said Christine Seymour, who was accompanied by her husband, Mark. “We are just so blessed and appreciative that we can be part of this. I’m just so happy they brought us here to be part of this experience to share with our son and with the Seattle team and family.

“They’ve just made us feel a part of it.”

The Seahawks flew in the parents of the nine of the 11 players they selected in the NFL Draft two weeks ago, so they’ve been able to watch the practices at Virginia Mason Athletic Center and also attend the Rookie Spotlight on Friday night.

The list also included Mary and Desmond Gilder, the parents of second-round pick Christine Michael; Suzanne and Larry Hill, the parents of third-round pick Jordan Hill; Paula and William Harper, the parents of fourth-round pick Chris Harper; Kerryetta Simon, the mother of fifth-round pick Tharold Simon; Wilma and Mike Willson, the parents of fifth-round pick Luke Willson; Cashawna and Fletcher Franklin, the parents of sixth-round pick Spencer Ware; Patricia and Ibe Frye, the parents of seventh-round pick Ty Powell; and Cassandra and Victor Machado, the parents of seventh-round pick Jared Smith.

“It’s a quiet an investment to bring the families here, but it’s going to pay dividends,” Mark Seymour said. “When we found out, we were like, ‘Wow.’ I’d never heard of this before. Now we know, it’s not the standard. And I guess this organization is not that standard. And that’s a good thing.”

The club did this because, well, as general manager John Schneider put it, “You can’t just sit here and talk about what a family atmosphere we’ve created without actually following through on it. So we think it’s just such a great experience for these guys to get drafted, and then to have their families come in and be part of this weekend that is their initiation into the NFL and experience a true family atmosphere, it lets them see that it’s real and we’re not just talking about it when we’re talking to them on the phone.”  

The gesture has meant a lot to the mothers, and their sons – from Michael, a running back from Texas A&M who was the Seahawks’ top draft choice; to Willson, a Canadian tight end from Rice University and LaSalle, Ontario; to Ryan Seymour, a guard from Vanderbilt and one of the team’s four seventh-round selections.

“It’s a good experience for us to be able to see him live out his dream,” said Mary Gilder, Michael’s mother. “This really has meant a lot to us, and to Christine.”

And for most of the players the Seahawks selected two weeks ago, being drafted was the first step in fulfilling the dream they have carried since they were little boys. They talked about it on draft day. They have mentioned it again during interviews the past three days. This minicamp is a needed next step.

“It’s pretty special, just because both my parents are such a big influence in my life,” said Willson – whose mother, Wilma, spent most of the practices taking pictures of her son from the sideline; and whose father, Mike, was wearing a smile that showed how proud he is of his son and also how surreal the experience has been.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. So to have them here sharing this with me, it’s really something special and I really appreciate the Seahawks’ organization for inviting them out here. It’s just such a blessing and I’m really happy they’re here.”

For a Mother’s Day that turned out to be a unique way to spend a Mother’s Day weekend.