Exit day for the Seahawks usually has that feel of the final day of school. But not this year, not with the way Super Bowl XLIX ended on Sunday night.
The players were 40 hours removed from coming up a yard short in their 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots as they cleaned out their lockers at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Tuesday, but they could not remove the lingering shock and malaise of coming so tantalizing close to winning back-to-back Super Bowls only to have Russell Wilson's final pass intercepted at the goal line with 20 seconds left.
"The last day of school, you're happy. You're happy school is over," linebacker K.J. Wright said. "This, we're not happy that the season is over. We definitely wish we had a next week."
Or least a next play from the 1-yard line to try and punch the ball in for the game-winning touchdown.
"But it's over," Wright said. "And seeing all the sad faces, it makes you even more sad."
With the sadness, however, comes the resolve that has set the Seahawks apart the past three seasons, when they've gone 36-12 in the regular season and 6-2 in the postseason. The other loss in the playoffs came in the divisional round in 2012, when they Seahawks drove to a go-ahead touchdown with 31 seconds to play in Atlanta, only to have the Falcons drive to a game-winning field goal with eight second left to win 30-28.
The bitterness of that loss ignited a never-again feeling in the players, and launched the resolve that led to a 13-3 season and Super Bowl championship in 2013. Now that they've been slapped with that disappointment again, the players are expecting to snap back in similar fashion.
"I definitely believe that," Wright said. "And I was actually thinking about that, how we did lose to Atlanta and we came back and had a great year. And I believe this definitely is going to motivate us. We've got a lot of good guys coming back and I expect us to be back in the Super Bowl next year.
"I know it's a long ways from now, but I don't see anybody that's able to matchup with us."
Wright is not a one-man band when it comes to playing that tune.
"I think that everybody deals with a loss differently," said Wilson, who also conjured memories of the way he felt after the loss to the Falcons. "Obviously losing a football game, if anybody hates losing, I hate losing. So I want to do anything and everything I can to get prepared to win and find a way to win."
Running back Robert Turbin also pointed to that loss to the Falcons, offering, "The one message that we had for one another after we lost that 2012 divisional game against Atlanta was, 'We don't want to feel this way again.' And it's definitely going around the locker room now. This is not a feeling that we want to feel again.
"It's really great, because if you look at it we have something to comeback from. It's a challenge. How do you take on challenges if things don't quite go your way, the way you want them to? How do you take that on?"
In part, by realizing there are other losses and situations in life that are even more meaningful and remembering how they dealt with those.
Wilson lost his father, the most influential person in his life, in 2010.
"Obviously losing a game is tough, but just any life circumstance," he said. "Losing my dad, you know, what do I do next? How can I learn from the lessons of losing him? Obviously losing a game is completely different from losing a family member, but those are types of things I think about.
"So that's how I try to prepare my mind for the next opportunity that I have, the next thing that I have in my life that comes up. So you just keep learning and keep growing and keep building it. You know that it's going to build your character and our team's character."
Turbin used to come home from school starting at the age of 8 and take care of his sister, Tiffany, who was confined to a wheelchair; and he lost another sister when he was 5. So losing this game comes with context for him, too.
"It's definitely been a struggle. Obviously losing is definitely not easy to deal with," said Turbin – a member of the 2012 rookie class that included Wilson, who is his roommate for road games. "And many of my friend and people that I've grown up with know that I'm probably one of the biggest sore losers that they've probably ever been around.
"Looking at it from a positive standpoint, it's a great challenge."
And Turbin knows about challenges, on and off the field.
"There's more to this game than just that one game to continue to motivate guys to come back next season," he said. "Those are the things that you turn to – the things that have always motivated you to play this game in the first place; the thing that brought this team together in the first place; the things that matter the most.
"And I think we'll come back stronger."
After coming back from the Super Bowl, the Seahawks clean out their spaces at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, ready to put new items next season.