Seahawks remain a family, even when players leave

Posted Mar 4, 2014

Players and coaches attended the premiere of the Seahawks’ highlight film Monday night, but they also took a moment to reflect on the recent releases of Red Bryant and Sidney Rice.

The Seahawks unveiled the highlight film from their Super Bowl season Monday night. But there was some business mixed with the pleasure.

Two of the leaders on the 2013 team, and players featured in the film, are no longer with the team after defensive captain and run-stuffing end Red Bryant and wide receiver Sidney Rice were released Friday to create needed room under the salary cap.

“That’s part of the business,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin said before the private screening of the premiere at the Cinerama in downtown Seattle. “Unfortunately in the NFL, it’s not just pure football. It is a business. But that’s just what it is. We signed up for it. We kind of expect it.

“But at the same time, I’ve been on record saying this football team is not just a football team. This is a family. When we walk into the facility (Virginia Mason Athletic Center) at 12 Seahawks Way in Renton, we’re not walking in to go to work. We’re walking in with our brothers, putting together game plans in order for us to go out there and be successful together on the football field.

“So those guys, whether they’re with us on the team or not, are still our family. So whether they go to other teams, they’re still going to be remembered for the efforts and the sacrifices they put in during this season and seasons prior in order for us to get to this point.”

Coach Pete Carroll left the door cracked with regard to Bryant and Rice, offering, “We’ve done what we had to do at this point and we’ll do other tough decisions that will come up I’m sure. But the magnitude of these were really impacting for our football team and guys that we’re going to miss.

“Maybe we have a chance get them back. Maybe we don’t. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Players have come and gone at a frenetic pace while Carroll and general manager John Schneider were making almost 1,000 roster transactions in their first four years together while compiling a team that won the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

As Baldwin put it, “John Schneider and Pete Carroll always find a way to get guys to fill in when they need to. But the only thing is we’re going to miss Red Bryant, his speeches before games because those are so powerful; we’re going to miss Sidney Rice in the receiver meeting room because he was a leader of our group.

“That impact can’t be overstated or understated, so it’s going to affect us in some shape or form.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Super Bowl XLVIII Champions Premiere

Ironically, neither Baldwin nor fellow wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has watched the Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII last month.

“I haven’t actually sat down and watched the whole game,” said Baldwin, who caught five passes for 66 yards against the Broncos, including a 10-yarder for the Seahawks’ final touchdown.

“I’ve been meaning to do that. Because that’s what we usually do after games. We go back and critique ourselves and watch the entire game. But I haven’t been able to do that yet. But I’ll do that at some point.”

Along with not watching the game yet, there is the challenge of grasping just what the Seahawks accomplished on Feb. 2.

“Not yet,” Baldwin said when asked if he has had that look-what-we-did moment. “It’s a peculiar situation because the dream of accomplishing winning the Super Bowl is so big, I don’t think really any of us realized how big it actually is.

“So to sit here before you and tell you that I understand that we won the Super Bowl, I understand that we physically won the Super Bowl but to put it in terms of an emotional sense, I can’t do it. I haven’t been able to fathom it yet.”

And he’s not alone.

“(All-Pro cornerback) Richard Sherman and I actually sat down and had dinner the other night and kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, we won the Super Bowl.’ And it still didn’t sink in,” Baldwin said. “It’s a surreal feeling still.”