With training camp just around the corner, it's time once again to open up the mailbag and answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
Ricky Jones from Seattle asks, "Are we still going after a pass rusher?" And @RWalbaumII asks "Are there any other free agents the Seahawks could bring in to help with the defensive line?
A: Yes, there are free agents still available, most notably Jadeveon Clowney, and both Pete Carroll and John Schneider have said the door is open to a reunion with Clowney, so that's a possibility until he decides where to sign. And there are other veterans out there right now, but just as importantly, there will be other moves that can be made later. Teams will cut quality players between now and the start of the season, either because they just have a lot of depth there, or because of salary cap concerns, and you can bet on the Seahawks at least taking a look at just about anyone who comes available. Trades are always an option, as was evident in last year's move to add Clowney. So between all of those avenues—signing a current free agent, picking up somebody released by another team or making a trade—I'd say there's a very good chance the Seahawks add a lineman or two between now and the start of the regular season.
@michaelpherman asks, "You are forced to quarantine in a house with four other Seahawks, player or coach, past or present. Who's on the list?"
A: I'm going to keep it to players and coaches who have been around since I've covered the team. I'm going to cheat a little and pick Will Dissly and say the house is in his hometown of Bozeman, Montana, because Bozeman sounds like a fun place to quarantine, plus, Will's a good dude. Next up will be the just-retired Michael Bennett, because with Bennett around, boredom would never be a problem. I'll also go with Bobby Wagner, not just because he's a good guy, but because he's an avid reader so hopefully he'd have good books to share—plus maybe he'd share some of his endless supply of Jordan gear with his new roommates. Finally, and this is kind of a random one, I'm going with former Seahawks linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, because KPL loves to cook and bake, and our quarantine house will need to eat.
If I can add a coach, it'd be Ken Norton Jr., because nobody is going to motivate me to get off my lazy butt and stay in shape better than a former All-Pro linebacker who's also the son of a former heavyweight champion boxer.
Bob Arnold, a 12 in Cocoa Beach, Florida asks, "Will the Hawks broadcast training camp on Seahawks.com?"
A: As you can imagine, there's still a lot of details, and we'll announce those when we can, but for now I can tell you that we will be bringing you the most complete coverage of camp we can on Seahawks.com, including some live broadcasts from camp.
@TheCrappyTotals asks "Will there be widespread use of face shields this season?"
A: That remains to be seen, though as this Associated Press story on NFL.com story details, Oakley is working with the league to design a special face shield to help protect players. We'll have to wait and see if masks are required or just recommended, and if it's the latter, how many players choose to wear them. Russell Wilson did say on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" this week that he has been practicing with the mask every day to get used to it if players do end up wearing them.
Before the name was announced Thursday morning, @DrewSchiano4 asked, "What should the Seattle NHL team name be?"
A: I'll admit I didn't think it would really be Kraken and thought there were better choices. I liked Sockeyes and in a nod to the past, Metropolitans, but while the Kraken name might have to grow on me a little, I will say that the Seattle Kraken killed it with the logos and color scheme. That secondary anchor/space needle logo is particularly sharp. And most importantly, having NHL hockey in Seattle, no matter what you think of the name, is going to be a great addition to the Seattle sports scene. For those who haven't been able to attend a game, few sports are better live, in relation to the TV viewing experience, than hockey. Definitely check out a game if you can.
Mark Hunter from Lacy says football used to be a sport that celebrated the United States of American and today is all politics, and asks, "Why should I invest my time and money when I see discord and division all day long? The NFL is no longer an escape from my daily life."
On a related note, Lee Wolverton from Olympia is one of several people who have said he won't watch if players take a knee during the anthem, saying, "if the players need to protest, then do it in another less offensive way."
A: We touched on this topic in the last mailbag, but I'm happy to keep answering it as long as I need to in order to say this, even if it only gets through to one more person:
Kneeling during the anthem isn't about disrespecting the flag or the country or the military. Seriously, it isn't. It's about bringing attention to racism and police brutality. And yes, it might be uncomfortable for some, but that's the point of a protest. As Doug Baldwin noted in 2017, this country was founded on protest. If players quietly kneeled before the anthem or at some other less visible time, their message wouldn't be heard as well, and it's an incredibly important message. Protesting during the anthem is anything but un-American. How is it un-American to exercise your first-amendment rights while challenging the country to live up to the ideals that flag stands for, ideals that the military has fought to protect, and to do so for all Americans, including Black people who have faced systemic racism for longer than America has been a country.
I promise you once the game starts football will be the same distraction you're looking for whether or not players kneel, but to ask players to ignore what's happening in the world just because they happen to play a sport that entertains you is insulting to their humanity. And that "discord and division" you're seeing in sports? It's a reflection of the discord and division Black people—who make up the majority of NFL players—have seen for their entire lives. Players understand that they have a platform, and now more than ever they're trying to use it to make this country a better place for all Americans.
As Baldwin said three years ago after the Seahawks decided to stay in the locker room during the anthem prior to their game in Tennessee, "I'm calling on people in our country to realize this is greater than just football, this is greater than just your Sunday evening entertainment. It's bigger than that.
"I want to make sure you all understand that I'm not speaking for everybody in our locker room. I'm speaking from heart personally. These are my thoughts: it's scary that we have a man in office who was elected to protect our basic rights, and yet he has shown recently the opposite… For us as players, directly being called out about not being able to express ourselves—and many men and women have sacrificed their lives for us to be able to express ourselves in that way, that's the foundational core of who we are as a country—and for that to be threatened by the man who is at the head of the table for our country, it's a very serious thing. I hope that that message is loud and clear for anybody who is listening, that they recognize that this is a dangerous time, and we recognize that.
"We're hoping to unite people of all colors, all races, all religions, all beliefs to come together and realize the severity of the situation. This is our country, what we were founded on was a protest—the Boston Tea Party, that was a protest. I think there's something to be said to make sure that we protect the sanctity and the importance of individuals in this country being able to express themselves. And I understand it's a difficult topic to talk about, I understand that we all have our different opinions, we all have our different viewpoints, but that's what makes our country so great. That's what makes our country unique and beautiful, that's why we are where we are, because we don't always agree. Just getting 63 guys to all agree to do something, that's difficult within itself, so I can understand how difficult it is for the country. But sometimes I feel like there's a line that needs to be drawn, and to me the most important thing we can do at this moment is be unified, and not just as a football team, or as the NFL or as a city, as a red state, blue state, but as a country, as a society. Because again, the severity of this situation cannot be understated."