On Friday morning, Michael Dickson and his girlfriend discussed getting pizza for dinner that night, not knowing that later that day he would sign a four-year extension with the Seahawks that would make him one of the NFL's highest-paid punters.
Yet despite having cause for celebration, Dickson and his girlfriend stuck with their original plan, ordering pizza because, as Dickson explained, "I was looking forward to pizza all day I was like, 'We're getting pizza.'"
But even if Dickson didn't celebrate his extension with a fancy meal or a big night out, that doesn't mean the former fifth-round pick wasn't ecstatic about continuing his career with the Seahawks.
"That was the dream," Dickson said after Tuesday's session of organized team activities. "I look back on my pro day, worked out and (former special teams coordinator) Brian Schneider was there, and he really told me about the team. I really wanted to get to the Seahawks, and then they drafted me and that was a dream come true. To know that I can spend another four, five years here is just the best thing that could happen to me, for sure."
Heading into his fourth season, Dickson will be looking to build off of what was by just about any measure the best season by a Seahawks punter in franchise history. Despite being snubbed for Pro-Bowl and All-Pro honors, Dickson set franchise records in punting average (49.6) and net average (44.4), topping his own marks set in 2018 and ranking third in the NFL in both categories, and he led the league with 32 punts downed inside the 20, the second-best total in team history, trailing the record of 34 he shares with Jeff Feagles and John Ryan.
And while Dickson was by no means bad in his second season following his first-team All-Pro and Pro-Bowl rookie campaign in 2018, his numbers did fall off a bit in 2019. That led to a few changes for Dickson, changes that paid off in a big way last year.
"My second year I think I was just trying to do too much and put too much of a standard of something that was just not achievable, so it resulted in a lot of ups and downs," he said. "But still, when I look back at it, look at that year objectively, there was still like a lot of good things that came from that year. But last year for sure I kind of changed my routine, how I go about the week was a little more mindful, got into meditating and got into journaling stuff down, and I was able to look at my practice sessions more objectively. So sometimes I'll leave a practice session, thinking I punted pretty bad, and then I'll look over the film and go 'Oh wow, that was a lot better than I left the field,' which I didn't do my second year. I'd kind of just watch it and not write all the notes, not take all my stats and not compare them to the days before. So last year I really made sure I was super objective about everything, took all the emotion out of it, and it was that allowed me to really improve and stay consistent."
That more objective approach in 2020 not only helped Dickson improve from the previous season, it produced what he felt was a more consistent level of play than his All-Pro rookie season, and more important it is an approach he believes is more sustainable heading into 2021 and beyond.
"It was a more sustainable year the way I approached it," he said. "I really want to carry that into this year. I've been carrying it throughout the offseason, and it's really just become part of my lifestyle now, so I'm happy."
And Dickson isn't just excited about building off of his personal success in 2020, he's also expecting the Seahawks to again thrive across the board on special teams. After relying heavily on rookies in 2019 when it came to special teams, players like Cody Barton, Marquise Blair, Ben Burr-Kirven, Ugo Amadi and Travis Homer, the Seahawks reaped the rewards in 2020 when that same group—minus an injured Blair—helped form the nucleus of what was one of the NFL's best special teams units. Add to that veteran fullback Nick Bellore, a Pro-Bowl special teamer last year, Pro-Bowl long-snapper Tyler Ott, and should-have-been-a-Pro-Bowl kicker Jason Myers, who didn't miss a field goal attempt last season, and Dickson is confident the Seahawks should again excel in that phase of the game.
"This year, we're just as excited about the group of guys," Dickson said. "We've got Bellore, Cody, Ott, Jason. We're stacked. So I'm really pumped."
Photos from the Seattle Seahawks' organized team activities held on Tuesday, June 8 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.