It was business as usual Thursday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center as the Seahawks continued to prepare for their Week 3 game against the Carolina Panthers—well, business as usual minus an ice cream truck brought in to give players a post-practice treat, but, on a Pete Carroll coached team, that didn't feel all that unusual.
Beginning Friday, however, the Seahawks past and present will begin to overlap as the organization celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the 2013 season that culminated in a dominant 43-8 victory over Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII.
For coaches and players, priority No. 1 will, of course, be the upcoming game against the Panthers, but there will also be an event Friday night where former players and coaches can get together and reminisce about their championship season. Members of the 2013 team are also expected to be at the team's walkthrough on Saturday, then will be honored during Sunday's game at Lumen Field.
"We'll see the guys on Saturday, I hope a bunch of them come to our walkthrough," Carroll said. "I'm so proud they're coming back, and they'll have a blast seeing each other and being together. That will be the best part of it, them just getting together. It's a nice thing that the club is doing. It's a beautiful anniversary and we'll hope they have a great time with it."
The weekend figures to be especially eventful for Bobby Wagner, who is one of only two players who took the field for the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII who is still an active player. The other, of course, being Russell Wilson, who will not be able to attend seeing as he will be playing quarterback for the Broncos on Sunday. Wagner, who had a team-high 10 tackles in the Super Bowl win, will be getting ready for a game, of course, but he'll also be reconnecting with former teammates, some of whom he hasn't seen in years.
"I think there's a balance," Wagner said. "As you get older, you have to enjoy some of the things. Obviously, I'm going to be locked in, I'm going to be focused, so I won't do everything. I definitely want to be around those guys, but a lot of those guys live in Seattle. I see them pretty often. It's not going to be any different. It's just I have a jersey on, and they don't."
Carroll has no concerns that his team's defensive co-captain can handle everything that is taking place this weekend.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal when you have your 10-year anniversary of something like this," Carroll said. "He's those guys, they're the same. We've already started talking about putting it in the right perspective. If he could handle the first week and the second week coming back to us, he'll be great about it. I'm not worried about it at all. But I hope he enjoys it too. He deserves those moments as all."
As Wagner noted, a lot of players on those teams from last decade stayed in the area even though most had no connections to the Seattle area or the Pacific Northwest before becoming Seahawks. And many of those players are still around the team, whether it's Doug Baldwin speaking to the rookie class about how much those teams cared about each other and how it helped them win, or players like Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett coming to training camp to work with players, or players staying involved in the local community through work with nonprofits or businesses they have started.
"Most of us still live in Seattle; none of us are from Seattle, except for Jermaine (Kearse)," Avril said. "That shows you that it was way deeper than just football. We genuinely cared for one another and wanted the best for one another, and would compete to do that."
Those relationships that have lasted far beyond their playing days are a huge point of pride for Carroll, maybe even more so than his teams' considerable on-field success. The relationships players have built with each other and with the team have led to players coming back as players in the case of Wagner, Jarran Reed, Bruce Irvin and others, and also retired Seahawks Legends who want to remain part of something special they first experienced as players here.
"When you do what we do the way we do it, you invest," Carroll said this offseason. "You invest in yourself personally. And if our guys are going to do it right, they have to do that, too. And I'm calling for it and I would expect they should call on me to do the same. So what happens is you invest your time and your heart and your love for them, and you create a relationship, a real relationship, and that's what you're seeing. And if it's a real relationship where you really care about people, then there's going to be some ups and downs and some ins and outs and all, but if you really care, you'll be there at the end of it, and here's another example."
While Wagner is the only remaining player from that 2013 team who will be on the field Sunday, another will be on the sideline, assistant defensive backs coach DeShawn Shead, who played for the Seahawks from 2012-2017. Shead, who began his career on the practice squad, became a special teams mainstay late in the 2013 season, but had a memorable moment in the Super Bowl when Kam Chancellor briefly left the game in the second quarter. Shead, who had played only eight defensive snaps in his career and none in the playoffs, suddenly found himself on the field across from a future Hall of Fame quarterback in what at the time was still a two-score game.
"I grew up watching Peyton Manning, I'm a big Peyton Manning fan, and here I am lined up across from him in the Super Bowl," he said.
Shead, like so many young players, didn't fully appreciate what that team accomplished in the moment, but a decade later as a young coach, he now has a better understanding of how hard it is to win a championship.
"Having success so early, it was expected every year," he said. "But the further you get away from it, the more you see how hard it is to do, and you appreciate it more."
Seahawks Legend Doug Baldwin expressed a similar sentiment to Shead's earlier this week, noting that the focus was always on the next challenge while they were playing. That's what will make this weekend so special for those involved, a group that, with a few exceptions, are no longer directly involved with the Seahawks, giving them a chance to really take a look back and appreciate all that 2013 team accomplished.
"I remember very vividly, I remember picking up the confetti off the ground and putting in my helmet, and I was just like, 'I've got to get here again,'" Baldwin said. "Then we just went right back to work.
"I feel like now is the time we get to actually celebrate that. And it's a beautiful thing that we get to celebrate a championship. We were young men coming into the NFL, I got to spend the majority of my career with Jermaine, K.J. and I all came in at the same time, Cliff became my brother immediately when he got here, and we were all growing up and maturing at this time. We were all becoming adults in a very unique and specific environment that only a few folks get to experience. It's very special, and for us to be able to sit up here and talk about a championship-winning team, organization, culture, and memorialize that for the 10-year anniversary… I typically have the words, but I don't have the words. It's very special."
February 2, 2014 will be a day that will live in Seattle history forever as the day the Seahawks won the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy.