Not many people get to play out their dreams, but the way things have been going for Craig Terrill, he may end up playing out both of them.
His primary focus that is playing out at the moment is beginning his fifth season as a defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, who made him a sixth round draft choice in the 2004 draft following an All-Big Ten senior year at Purdue.
That's the first dream - making a career out of playing in the National Football League.
But about those weekends at Purdue when Terrill, his brother Jason and a few other buddies would bring down the house playing covers ... well, that dream has taken a turn for the better over the past year as well.
Having cut his first CD, "CT," last Christmas, with the help of his brother Jason, his wife Rachel, brothers Mike and Mark Mattingly from the local Seattle band "The Herding Cats," and recorded locally by Rick Lovrovich, the other dream has begun to take hold. The group played four gigs in the offseason to good reviews and his "CT" sold at least 4,000 copies through MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/craigterrill) and a deal with QFC grocery stores. The debut came at the Tap House in January, along with a silent auction and sales of the CD to benefit the Seattle chapter of "Gilda's House" for breast cancer research.
The Lebanon, Ind. native's music is rooted Midwest rock, comparable to John Mellencamp, a little bit of Bruce Springsteen, but mostly Craig Terrill considering he wrote the songs as well as played lead guitar and sang.
"Music is still a dream and a hobby, otherwise I would be pulling too much away from football," Terrill said. "It's too difficult to get to this point in football, and the game takes too much time and focus for me not to give everything I've got. Afterwards, if the opportunity is still there to play music, write music and record, it's definitely something I enjoy and would hope to pursue."
He's a vital player for the Seahawks in the defensive line rotation and on special teams, with a knack of getting his hands on field goal attempts. Admittedly, he is obsessive preparation and it helps in both football and music.
"My thoughts have changed over the years," Terrill said. "Music is almost therapeutic for me just because football is so intense and over the years has grown more intense. Through college, every year there was more pressure. Obviously you get to this level - it's your profession - so every week here you're bringing everything you have. Music is such a different kind of expression, where I can be very laid-back, relaxed.
"And I absolutely need it. If there's weeks where I haven't had a chance to go home, sit down and pick up the guitar a little bit, it shows. You get stressed out, worn out and my wife will tell me, 'Go play guitar for a little bit. Get outta here.' So yeah, it's a great release for me."
He loves playing off the crowds, and none was more special than after Super Bowl XL in Detroit, when Seahawks owner Paul Allen threw a big party for the organization. Allen's band played and Terrill joined them. It blew away a lot of his teammates who didn't even know he played.
Although both Matt Hasselbeck and Bobby Wagner admire his musical ability, they still think football is his strong suit and music an avocation.
"I like Craig as a football player," Tatupu said. "He's a practical joker. It's a good time with him, but he really excels on the football field. I don't really like his music, but ... well, I'm just kidding. I've seen him play a couple of times and he's good. I wouldn't say he's quiet, but it's uncharacteristic to see him up on stage ... singing. You've got to have a lot of guts to get up on stage. They don't like your music, they're going to boo you. Every time I've seen him he gets applause and standing ovations. Obviously, he's doing something right."
And he'll keep doing it if he can as time marches on.
But for now, there's a lot of football to be played with two more preseason games and then hopefully through January with the regular season and playoffs.
"Music was way more of a hobby," Terrill said. "Football is what I always wanted to do. But we filled the "Triple Door" (theater), played in a festival up at Chateau St. Michelle, and had to turn down a few more opportunities to open for bigger acts. Hopefully, we'll have more of those opportunities next offseason. Right now, my focus is on football and helping the Seahawks win."
The progress of Chris Spencer
The past 7-8 months have not been fun for Seahawks center Chris Spencer. He had surgery on his thumb and both shoulders. It forced him to miss minicamp, but he was ready for training camp until the workout the day before camp started on July 24.
He strained his back. He couldn't come out of his stance, and he hadn't been back doing any drills until Monday he was out on the field snapping a few balls from center, and jogging through some paces. Spencer isn't ready for full go, but this was a good start.
"It felt good to be out here," Spencer said. "Just to be seen and out here felt good. Without getting into a lot of details, I had a lot of back pain and I had a hard time getting out of my stance. Backs are one of those things that just take a while to get back going.
"(It's been) very frustrating. I told the trainers, 'Y'all have to get me some anxiety medicine. I'm about to freak out around here.' Start hurting my back ... I spent all offseason rehabbing my shoulders and my thumb, and then my back started having problems and it was like, 'Good night!' So it was very frustrating."
Not only was Spencer out, but veteran Chris Gray, penciled in as the backup center, suffered a back injury two days later and it caused enough damage that doctors told him to retire. That's left young Steve Vallos, who learned center last year on the practice squad, to be the starting center for training camp and through the first two preseason games. And that's not likely to change until Spencer is ready to get back on the field full blast.
"It's up to the trainers when I can go," Spencer said. "I'm getting real close, though. I don't think I'm that far behind because I've been in the film room watching what he's teaching. The film study has been good. It's now just about getting back in there and knocking the rust off to get going. I don't think it's going to take long at all."
Seahawks running back Julius Jones on showing up for treatment Sunday morning at Kirkland instead of the new Virginia Mason Athletic Center:
"I thought I was the first one there in the training room. Then I realized I was the only one there."
This and that
The morning practice lasted about 15 minutes outside of the VMAC, when a storm rolled in over head, and they opted to move into the indoor field that merely required the lights to be turned on. "That's the beauty of this place," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "I don't think we could have blown up the bubble that fast in Kirkland." ... Holmgren said he was upset about the number of mistakes in the win over Chicago Saturday night and the lack of attention to detail in practice Monday morning - perhaps due to the distraction of moving. ... Offensive tackle Sean Locklear sprained a ligament in his left knee and Holmgren said they're hoping he'll be back by the Sept. 7 opener at Buffalo. Ray Willis has replaced Locklear on the line and Holmgren said he really liked his game on Saturday. Holmgren also said he felt better about quarterback Charlie Frye playing the entire game with Hasselbeck (sore back) and Seneca Wallace (strained groin) held out of the game. Wallace is still questionable this week, but Hasselbeck said he will play in next Monday's game at San Diego. The highlight of the morning practice came when Courtney Taylor made a spectacular catch of a Hasselbeck throw in the end zone with cornerback Kelly Jennings all over him. ... The team had a special teams practice outside in the afternoon in the rain, and will be back at it Tuesday morning. The two-a-day practices of training camp end Thursday when the Seahawks officially break camp.