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Newcomers Embracing Seahawks Culture And Life In The PNW
The Seahawks have added a number of new players this season, and they are all adjusting to life with a new organization in a new city.
By Logan Reardon Nov 26, 2020

This is the Seahawks Gameday Magazine feature story for Week 12 of the 2020 season, presented by Lumen. Visit our Game Center for more information related to Week 12 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

Moving to a new city and starting work with a new organization can be a daunting task. You might not know anyone living there, or know of any good restaurants to eat at. Perhaps most of all, the weather might not be what you're used to.

This year, the Seahawks added a number of new players – some who had never been to Seattle and others who had hardly left their home state. As the season wears on, players have become more comfortable in the city they now call home.

Carlos Dunlap II joined the Seahawks in late October after spending 10 and a half seasons with the Bengals. He grew up in South Carolina and went to school at the University of Florida, so this part of the country was foreign to him.

But after just three games and a little less than a month in the city, Dunlap has already made himself comfortable. He had just one sack in seven games with Cincinnati this season and has 3.5 sacks in his first three games with Seattle.

"It's just contagious," Dunlap said of the good vibes in Seattle. "The culture from upstairs, to the city, to the valet at the hotel I was staying at when they first put me here, just how in tune everyone is, how positive everyone is consistently. Even with the way we started off (in his tenure) with those two losses, everyone was consistently positive, no one was second guessing anything. Everyone is honest with themselves, willing to work, acknowledged what we needed to do better, and we worked at it. All the layers of the culture here is just positive, believing in the leaders."

The Seahawks snapped their two-game losing streak thanks to a game-sealing sack from Dunlap in the final seconds against the Cardinals. Dunlap has had plenty of sacks in his career – 86 to be exact – but the team's reaction to his latest one stood out above the rest.

"(Pete Carroll) was fired up, he almost tackled me on the sideline," Dunlap said. "That was crazy to see a head coach that involved. The whole sideline was like our 12s today. Everybody was locked into the game the whole way through, it didn't matter who was out there. This is a whole different environment, man. The culture is very lovely, and it's contagious."

Dunlap's rejuvenation has been clear to both his teammates and coaches, as he's brought a new dynamic of his own to the city and organization.

Carlos Dunlap II has helped invigorate a Seahawks pass rush which is second in the NFL in team sacks since Week 8 with 16.

"He's having the time of his life," Carroll said of Dunlap. "He is having a blast. He's been upbeat and spirited and having fun with it and more than willing to do whatever, the work and getting out to practice and getting reps. I mean, all of it. He's practicing really well. Got a really pleasant personality that's fun. He's having a good time so if you haven't, if you guys haven't been around him you know, when you get around him, you'll see. He brings a good spirit to it and his attitude is excellent because he's having so much fun."

Damon "Snacks" Harrison has lived all over the country. He was born and raised in Louisiana before playing college ball at Northwest Mississippi Community College and William Penn (Oskaloosa, Iowa). Undrafted in 2012, he played seven seasons in New York with the Jets and Giants and the last two years in Detroit with the Lions.

With a wife and seven kids to care for, Snacks moved his family to Seattle when he was signed to the Seahawks' practice squad back in October. Despite attempts from multiple teams to poach him from the Seahawks' practice squad to their active roster, Harrison stuck it out and was rewarded with a spot on Seattle’s active roster this past week.

"I wanted to be here all offseason," Harrison said when asked about turning down other teams. "I had a good idea of where I was going to end up and I felt like it was going to be here, so I knew it was going to take hard work and it was going to take some time, so once the work became a little more than I had expected, I wasn't going to run from it. I felt like I was supposed to be here, so I wanted to continue to do that.

"I moved my family here at the time, too, honestly. I'm not a guy that likes to move around much or change scenery a lot, so really once I got here and settled in, it was a no-brainer to stay."

All has been well for the Harrisons in Seattle – save for one thing.

"They don't like the weather," Snacks said with a laugh. "But it's OK."

The Seahawks traded for star safety Jamal Adams over the offseason and brought in a guy who had never been to the Pacific Northwest – not even as a visiting opponent. Adams went to high school in Texas, played college football at Louisiana State and was a New York Jet for his first three NFL seasons.

"I'd never been to Seattle," Adams explained. "That was really different for me, being a country-city boy, I like to call it, back in Texas. Never been up this way, but I'm adjusting to it. It's a different type of life. I know there's great people here. Since the moment I stepped off the plane it's been nothing but love."

Jamal Adams has quickly emerged as a leader in Seahawks secondary and in the locker room.

Adams has quickly become comfortable in his new situation, racking up a team-best 5.5 sacks despite playing just six games due to injury.

"At the end of the day, man, this is my calling, this is where I need to be, this is where I was placed to be," Adams said at his introductory press conference. "This is my calling. I'm here to stay, and I'm excited to be a Seattle Seahawk. I'm really overwhelmed, but at the same time, it's so surreal to be around a great organization like Seattle."

Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., then attended nearby Fresno State and Cerritos College before transferring to Kansas State. Reed was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2018 and played there until the Seahawks claimed him back in August. That means Reed lived in California for his entire life outside of two years in Kansas and the past three-plus months in Seattle.

"I actually enjoy it," Reed said. "It's a little bit slower than California, which I actually like. I also like that there's a lot of green, lots of trees, beautiful scenery. When I'm driving I feel a lot of gratitude and thankfulness. It's just beautiful. And then it's a lot of water, and I love being around water."

Reed has specifically enjoyed the energy inside the VMAC each and every day that he shows up for work.

"I love the atmosphere here, honestly," Reed said. "It's a great atmosphere – very positive and optimistic. I have a great quarterback, in my opinion the best quarterback in the NFL, so he makes it easier for everybody. And Pete is a great coach, man, he's very energetic, he's always on the go, he's very alert, very in-tune with all sides of the ball. I love it here."

Reed has enjoyed a career year so far despite only playing four games. He missed the first six games of the season due to a torn pectoral muscle dating back to the offseason. In his first game as a Seahawk, he picked up his first career interception against his former team, the 49ers. Reed has 32 tackles thus far, just six off his career-high, which he set in 2018 when he played 15 games.

With the men coming from different cities and situations, they all still echoed a similar sentiment about the Seahawks' players, coaches and organization.

"It's very rare that you can have former and current players that have nothing but good things to say about an organization and a head coach," Harrison said. "Typically when a guy gets cut, released or traded or something, they won't have too much of anything good to say about the organization. But every single player that I've spoken to that played here or currently plays here had nothing but the best things to say about Coach Carroll as well as the organization. That was really the driving force of why I wanted to come here.

"This is just an organization that's been winning for a very long time. That alone makes the feeling coming into the building completely different. I'm just trying to learn and soak up everything that I can."

Dunlap, meanwhile, was thrilled to join an organization that emphasizes winning above all else.

"With the way things were going, I had full confidence and faith in betting on myself and betting with the Seahawks," Dunlap said. "Who else would I want to bet with, you know? It was like a win-win situation. At this point in my career, if I was to ever play and put on another jersey, I wanted to go to another organization where I was the last piece to help them win and get a Super Bowl."

Bobby Wagner and other Seahawks veterans have been quick to embrace their new teammates.

Similarly, 14-year veteran tight end Greg Olsen was shocked by the feeling inside the VMAC from the first day he arrived.

"It's just not something I'm used to," Olsen smiled when asked about the energy and enthusiasm in the building. "But it's fun and it's contagious, you find yourself really enjoying practice, really looking forward to practice, the coaches are into it, the staff is into it. I mean, if you're on the field, everyone at any moment could bust into a celebration, so it's a great climate to be in."

So while it can be challenging to arrive in a new city with so many unknowns, the Seahawks' new players have found the transition rather smooth. Between a welcoming city and a caring organization, these guys felt at home in their new home right away.

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