Seattle's offseason program is in the books and that means that over the next six weeks players will head their separate ways before returning to team headquarters in late July for the start of training camp.
What players do with those weeks away will differ, but many will take on private workouts, participate in or lead youth camps in their hometowns, or simply enjoy vacations or personal time with family and friends.
Count Cassius Marsh as one of those Seahawks taking a different approach to the start of his unofficial summer vacation. The fourth-year defensive end is headed to Nevada Friday morning to take part in Grand Prix (GP) Las Vegas, a major celebration of the Magic: The Gathering trading card game that Marsh has been playing since he was 11 years old.
"I've never been, this is my first GP," Marsh said of the convention-style events the Magic community hosts at locations around the globe multiple times a year. "I've never really had the time to go to one and this is probably the only one that's at the right time of year for me to be able to get to. It's perfect timing.
"Never really been to a big tournament of any sort," he added. "I don't know how many people are going to be there, I don't know what it's going to be like. This is like a brand new experience for me."
What Marsh can expect is five days of extraordinarily popular — it is Vegas, after all — Magic GP events, some of which are already in progress, with at least $150,000 in prize money to be given out by the end of the weekend. All events will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where 3,000-plus players, fans, artists, and designers of the game are expected to be in attendance each day.
"I'm going down there looking for a lot of cards," Marsh said of what he's looking forward to most. "I'm coming in there with something in hand just to make sure I get everything I need, then just see cards that I've never seen before. I have a friend who worked for Magic for like 17 years and he has cards that you've never seen before, like crazy stuff, and that's the kind of stuff I like. Seeing the stuff that you don't see everyday."
Marsh's Magic weekend will culminate Saturday and Sunday with the 'Modern' portion of the GP, where he'll be piloting a red-blue control deck he dubs, "Blue Moon."
"It plays As Foretold, it plays Blood Moon, it plays a lot of counterspells, Snapcaster [Mage]," he said of the cards in his deck. "It's pretty much control, with Blood Moon. I like it."
While anyone can attend and play in a Magic GP, several professional players will also be in the mix competing in various events on the tournament floor. Marsh, though, believes he has what it takes to contend.
"All of my buddies are tier one type guys," Marsh said of his Magic play group. "All the decks that I build are tier one, so I should be able to [keep up with the competition].
"But that's the cool thing about Magic," he added. "You've got to draw [cards] right, you've got to sideboard right, so we'll see how I do."
One would think it's safe to say Marsh will be the lone NFL player in attendance at the GP. But then again, Marsh's own teammate Doug Baldwin is a self-described "kitchen-table" Magic player who joined Marsh for a *Magic* charity event at a local game store last December. So can Seahawks fans expect to see No. 89 in Vegas this weekend as well?
"Doug's too busy, he's got more money to make," Marsh said with a laugh. "It's just me. I wish [a Seahawks teammate] would come down with me, but maybe next time. Maybe next year."
Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh played 'Magic: The Gathering' for charity on Friday, December 30 at Mox Boarding House in Bellevue, where all proceeds from the night's event went to benefit Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Puget Sound.