Exactly three months after the Seahawks were seen cleaning out their lockers following the team's divisional round playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers, a majority of players were back at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center Monday for the first day of the team's voluntary workout program.
The initial two weeks of Seattle's offseason program - dubbed Phase One by the NFL - consists of strength and conditioning work and physical rehabilitation only, which means players will spend a lot of time in the weight room with head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and assistant strength and conditioning coaches Jamie Yanchar and Mondray Gee. Day one, though, was limited to physical exams, testing, and a team meeting as players reunited with a first-day-of-school type feeling.
"It's good to be able to see everybody again," said wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors as a returner in 2015, his rookie season. "Some of us haven't seen each other in about three months, so just being able to catch up and being able to see what each other have been up to, I think that's the biggest thing."
Lockett said he used his time away from team headquarters to relax, visit family, and vacation with friends, but didn't waste much time before getting back to work. He was part of a Russell Wilson-led Seahawks contingent that trained in the Los Angeles area last week. It was the wideout's first time participating in the player camp, which Wilson has held the past three years.
"It was pretty good," Lockett said of his time training with Wilson in L.A. "It was my first time. I remember last year, I think they said they went to Hawaii and this year we were in L.A., but the biggest thing was we were able to start off a week earlier than right now and were able to get together and have some fun events and stuff like that, so it was pretty cool."
Tight end Luke Willson, who spent six weeks of his offseason training in Oklahoma, also made the trip with Lockett and Wilson to L.A. before returning to the Pacific Northwest this week.
"It's great, one to see everybody kind of a week early, but also to kind of be on our own schedule, get the kinks out, and start catching some balls from Russ," Willson said. "Most guys are catching balls in the offseason, but just the ball coming out of his hand and getting used to the stuff we do specifically is always good.
"It's just fun to get back, run around, and be a kid again."
Lockett, Willson, and the rest of the Seahawks will have to wait for Phase Two of the offseason program, beginning May 2, before taking part in any on-field workouts at VMAC. After Phase Two, which runs for roughly three weeks, the team will hold a series of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) starting May 23 with a three-day mandatory minicamp to follow June 14-16.
The team is still months away from seeing any meaningful action, but Monday signaled the start of the 2016 season for the Seahawks, even if it was officially labeled as the first day of an offseason program.
"I think the big topic today was get your attitude, your body language, your mind right," said Willson. "Buy in right away so you can get started early on this thing. That was kind of the tone. The theme of today's meeting was, 'Hey, we're back. It starts now.'"
The Seahawks kicked off Phase One of voluntary workouts with strength and conditioning work and physical rehabilitation at VMAC.