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Seahawks humbled by their White House visit

Posted May 20, 2014

In 2008, few gave Barack Obama much of a chance to be elected President. Just as few thought the Seahawks could win a Super Bowl. But both happened, and the Seahawks will be honored by the President on Wednesday.

Earl Thomas admits that he’s not very political. But the Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety also concedes that Wednesday’s visit to the White House by the Super Bowl champions to be honored by President Barack Obama is something that transcends even those who are apolitical.

“I’m not into politics, but it just means a lot to meet the President on more of a personal level,” Thomas said.

The Seahawks will fly to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and be honored by President Obama in a Wednesday afternoon ceremony because of their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

Like winning the Super Bowl, the visit to the White House is a first-in-franchise-history experience for the Seahawks.

“It’s one of those privileges you get for winning the Super Bowl,” All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said. “It’s a blessing. It’s going to be humbling. It’s going to be a unique experience. It should be fun for everybody.”

Especially Thomas, Sherman and Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson, because they’re also scheduled to meet with First Lady Michelle Obama.

“That’s going to be great. I’m really excited about that,” Thomas said. “She’s a very beautiful lady, and when she speaks you always get something from it. I’m just excited for the opportunity.”

The President hosting the Super Bowl champion can be traced to 1969, after Joe Namath and the New York Jets upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Since then, the visits to the White House have been extended to the champions from other sports – professional and collegiate.

“This is big, real big,” said Brandon Mebane, the Seahawks’ real big nose tackle. “Going to the White House after winning the Super Bowl, I’ve been seeing it on TV all this time. Now I’m actually going to it.

“This is really something. I’m going to take a lot of pictures for my kid and my wife.”

Added Sherman: “I’m a Lakers fan, so I’ve seen the Lakers go a few times. It is surreal to be in those shoes and to be able to actually experience it.”

Sherman, of course, has met the President. In fact, President Obama did a Sherman impression at the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, with Sherman in the audience.

“That was really cool,” Sherman said. “Going to that event, it’s a huge deal. It’s really fantastic, to tell you the truth. You meet a lot of cool people. You meet a lot of unique individuals that you never thought you’d have the opportunity to meet face to face. And to get shouted out by the President, that’s always a cool deal.”

And meeting this President is unique because this President is. And that fact is not lost on the African-American players on the team.

“This is very significant; us – as a majority of African-Americans on the team – getting the opportunity to visit the first African-American President,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “That’s going to be a tremendous experience in itself. It’s a very historical moment for us. So I think we’ll look at it and appreciate it in that way.

“I’m excited to meet him, for sure. It’s a wonderful opportunity and I definitely feel blessed.”

The Seahawks and President Obama share some traits. When he ran for the office in 2008, not many gave the first-term U.S. Senator from Illinois much of a chance. When the Seahawks began their Super Bowl drive, which actually started during the 2012 season, not many gave them much of a chance.

“It’s a real testament to our team and how far we’ve come,” said Sherman, who was a fifth-round draft choice in 2012. “When I first got here, a lot of people said Seattle was an afterthought – south Alaska. I think we’re far from that afterthought we were when I got here.

“Not a lot of people can ignore us. The media will try to talk down or whatever they want, but they have to talk about us.”

Sounds like President Obama’s kind of team.

“He’d fit in great,” Sherman said. “He’d be a fantastic addition to our locker room, to say the least.”