In Tuesday's Round-Up we shared the story of blind USC long snapper Jake Olson, who befriended Pete Carroll at a young age as he was undergoing cancer treatments that would eventually claim his eyesight for good.
Olson, who lost his left eye to cancer when he was just 10 months old, grew up a fan of the USC football team when Carroll was head coach. At age 12, Olson wanted to see the Trojans play in person one last time before undergoing surgery that would take his right eye, too. Carroll invited Olson out to USC's campus, where he got to see the facilities, the practice field, and take in an entire Trojans gameday.
Olson and Carroll kept in touch through the years, with Olson visiting Seahawks headquarters this past season. Olson didn't let losing his eyesight limit him, as he continued to play varsity football into high school after learning how to long snap from Seahawks long snapper Clint Gresham. Current USC head coach Steve Sarkisian allowed Olson to walk-on to the football team as a long snapper this past August, and Olson participated in practice with the Trojans for the very first time earlier this week.
"Jake is a remarkable kid and for him to have a chance to play for USC someday, I can't even tell you how cool that is," Carroll said Wednesday at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. "When he was a little kid he came to us and he knew that he was losing his sight and he just wanted to be around the Trojans so that he could have the visual for the rest of his life. If you could imagine that, he had that kind of foresight all the way back when he was a little kid."
Carroll said Olson's strength "captured" everyone at USC and that everything Olson has accomplished to date is "not even a surprise knowing who he is."
"He's written books," Carroll said, referencing Olson's book, Open Your Eyes: 10 Uncommon Lessons to Discover a Happier Life, which Olson signed copies of prior to a Seahawks game last year at CenturyLink Field. "He plays golf - he's got a great golf swing. I had him driving my jet-ski out here on Lake Washington when he was here one time, that was wild as you can imagine. There's nothing he can't do."
Even with how far he's come, Carroll thinks Olson still has plenty left to accomplish.
"The magnitude of his future and as he's going to contribute to society and all, and culture and stuff, we don't even know," Carroll said. "He's just that special of a young man. I love that Sark is giving him a chance and someday he'll have a chance to get on the Coliseum floor and snap one of those balls. He'll do it well too when he does it."