MUNICH—Is techno the cure for jetlag?
OK, so maybe that's going a bit too far, but less than 24 hours after leaving after a "Thursday" practice, the Seahawks arrived in Germany on Thursday, got back on the practice field, and looked nothing like a team that had just spent 10 hours on an airplane.
"It's like the longest day ever, however, everything worked out great," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said following practice at FC Bayern Munich's training facility. "Our organization is really on it. It's a thrill to be here, and to know also that we're being received so well, that the German people really want to see this game and are excited about it and all of that, we really feel like it's an honor to have a chance to play this first game at Allianz (Arena)."
The "longest day ever," as Carroll described it, actually spanned two days, but in a lot of ways felt like one since nobody actually went home or went to bed. The Seahawks started their practice week early, doing their usual "Competition Wednesday" work on Tuesday, then their "Turnover Thursday" (or Techno Thursday if you're a tight end) practice on Wednesday.
After Turnover/Techno Thursday ended, players boarded buses then a charter flight that got them to Munich on Thursday afternoon. After quick stop at the team hotel, players were back to practice, technically a day later, but almost feeling like they were picking up where they left off a day earlier.
And yes, this bonus Thursday practice as also of the Techno Thursday variety, with that music, as well as other musical selections, helping to liven up what in theory could have been a sleepy practice session for player who were working off of only the sleep they were able to get on the flight. Throughout the abbreviated practice, players danced, bounced around, and in general looked nothing like a group of people that hadn't seen a bed in more than 24 hours.
"Did you watch practice? They were nuts out there today," Carroll said. "They were great. We wanted to get on the field as soon as possible. We had only been at the hotel for an hour or so, and then came over here just to make sure we finish this day in good fashion."
Veteran safety Quandre Diggs said the key to powering through Thursday's work is the mental approach to it.
"It's mental," he said. "When you're tired, it's a mental thing. You basically pulled an all-nighter, so it's just like you're 16 again, so that's how I'm going to look at it. I'll get some sleep tonight and go about my business; I'm not going to complain. Next week we get the whole week off, hopefully, so I'll catch up on my sleep in Texas."
Even if Diggs' mentality was good, he did have a couple of light-hearted complaints.
"When you've got bigger guys up there snoring, you can't sleep, so I think that was the worst part of the trip," he said of the flight. "The other part is the coaches got an extra day out of us. They thought they were slick with that, and I called them out on that early in the week."
Carroll agreed with his defensive captain that having the right mentality in a week like this is the key, not just in order to power through a sleepy Thursday, but also to make the most of the entire week. A trip like this, which takes a team out of its usual routine, involves extra travel and more time away from home could be viewed as a burden, but instead the Seahawks see it is a unique opportunity to see a different part of the world, help promote their sport, and spend extra time bonding with teammates.
"To me, it's really about the attitude," Carroll said. "It's the attitude that you put together and how you go about it. You don't take it as a drag and it's a burden and it's hard and all that kind of stuff. You turn it I the right direction and try to make the very most of it."
Said Diggs, "It's awesome. Anytime I get to travel and be around my teammates—this is my second time being out of the country—I try to enjoy it."
Diggs, who last played overseas when he was a rookie with the Lions, added, "You don't get these opportunities too much, so you just try to enjoy it as much as you can. We'll just try to have as much fun as we can with it. That's what we've been doing, and that's what we'll continue to do all week."
Quarterback Geno Smith described Wednesday and Thursday by saying, "It just seems like one big day, but it was great to be out there on the field, just to run around, get acclimated to the weather and everything like that."
And like his head coach and teammates, he embracing everything that comes with this week.
"I'm extremely excited, I look forward to it," he said. "It's my first time playing in an international game, so it's going to be fun. Our guys are out here having fun… We're trying to see what Munich is all about.
"I think everyone on our team was excited, coach included. It's definitely not a nuisance. Any time you get to represent your country internationally, it's a big thing. I liken it to being on USA Olympic basketball or something like that. You go overseas and you're playing your sport, but you're also representing your country and bringing new fans to the sport as well. I know there's a big following out here, and we look forward to putting on a show for those guys… The more we can bring fans along, the more we can go out there and be advocates for the U.S. and for our sport of American Football to maybe get more kids in Germany or people in Germany to watch and want to play, it's very important."
Seahawks Can't Elevate Aaron Donkor For Sunday's Game
NFL teams can activate practice squad players for games up to three times in a season, but unfortunately that does not apply to the 17th player, for whom teams are given an exemption, that are part of the NFL's International Players Pathway Program. In the case of the Seahawks, that player is linebacker Aaron Donkor, who was born and raised in Germany. Carroll said he checked with the league to see if it could get done, but it won't happen. Donkor will be featured in pregame when the team takes the field, however.
"We tried to get that done, and we weren't able to do it," Carroll said. "I went all the way to the top of the chain to figure it out. We thought it would be a great idea, we just couldn't get it OK'd. He's going to be carrying the flag out there.
Carroll then went on to share the story of how Donkor ended Wednesday's practice with an interception just before the team left for Munich, describing a play on which, after a tipped ball, "Out of nowhere comes A-Donkor, intercepting the football and returning it down the sideline for a touchdown. We blew whistles and ended practice right there, it was perfectly poetic. We're going to get on a bus right now and fly to Munich, and Donkor gets the interception at the end of the day. He's been fantastic for us. We've been very fortunate to have him, he's in the program, he gives us a 17th guy on the practice squad. He's done everything a guy could ever do as far as putting his best foot forward—great effort, great toughness, his attitude daily, his competitiveness. I would have loved to have done it, I asked if we can do it, but we just couldn't get it OK'd."
Tre Brown Practicing Fully, But Won't Be Activated This Week
Seahawks cornerback Tre Brown, who returned to practice but is still on the physically unable to perform list, is making great progress, but won't play this weekend, Carroll said. One factor Carroll pointed to is that the upcoming bye gives them even more time to bring Brown back slowly following last year's season-ending knee injury.
"He's practicing like he's ready to go," Carroll said. "He's not going to make it, we'll wait another week. We'll take one more week with the bye to guarantee that he's fully back. He practiced beautifully this week, so he's ready to go."
The Seattle Seahawks arrive in Munich, Germany on November 10, 2022 for their Week 10 game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL's first-ever regular season game in Germany.