Following a team meeting and the first session of workouts, players mingled in the Seahawks locker room at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, catching up on their offseason vacations, introducing themselves to new teammates, and, as they're wont to do, busting each other's chops.
As Cody Barton explained how excited he was to be back at work with his teammates, fellow linebacker and 2019 draft pick Ben Burr-Kirven shouted from across the room, "It's not good to see you, Barton! You can tell them BBK is not excited to see Cody."
Barton chuckled and replied, "Love you too, Ben."
But amidst the jokes on the first day of the voluntary offseason workout program was a genuine excitement among players who are heading into what is one of the more intriguing seasons in recent Seahawks history. Gone are two franchise icons in Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, but what remains is a winning culture and an excitement for the future during a time that Pete Carroll last month said, “excites the hell out of us.”
"There's a lot of excitement," said third-year linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who last season set a franchise record with 183 tackles. "It's just a new feel—a lot of change has been made this offseason. It looks like a young team, so there's a lot of excitement about the youth right now. So we're just trying to put our best foot forward this offseason and let it transition into training camp.
"It's a winning culture here. It's something you really have to experience, but the culture here since I've gotten here has always been a winning culture. Everything we do, we compete. Whether that's in the meetings, the locker room, the field, wherever, we compete. So as long as we have that foundation, we're going to be all right. We have a lot of young players, and I'm excited about the future."
Tight end Will Dissly, who re-signed after briefly testing free agency this offseason, recognizes that things will look different for the Seahawks this year at a couple of key spots, but isn't buying into the notion that the Seahawks can't get back to their winning ways right away.
"This team doesn't have a lot of concern for the outside noise," Dissly said. "We love Russ and Bobby forever and always, they're Seahawks legends through and through, but this is our year, this is what we have to work with, and we're going to go out and do the best we can and try to win as many games as we can."
When he wasn't busy fending off barbs from Burr-Kirven, Barton spoke of a different energy in the building—not necessarily a better one than in past seasons, but a new feeling.
"I'm way excited to be here," Barton said. "One thing I noticed today was the energy, even in our first team meeting. The energy in the building was just genuine, exciting, everyone's looking forward to what's to come. The first day went great, it's good to see everyone, meet the new guys. You could just tell that everyone's excited to be in here. You can just tell everyone is just jazzed and ready to go. I'm not saying the years past were anything bad, I'm just saying this year just feels different. It's hard to put words on it.
"You can tell with one day down, we've been in the building for what, five hours, you can tell just how close guys feel. It feels like we just left here yesterday. I know people are going to say certain things with two guys who were icons in this program gone, but I just feel like everyone's ready to go. I think we're going to surprise some people here.
Like Brooks, Barton pointed to the team's culture as a reason he's optimistic about this team in 2022: "The culture is huge. That's why I love this place. The culture is amazing here. That just ties back to the energy. Everyone's positive, everyone's upbeat. Everyone wants to win. It's just a winning attitude, a winning culture."
For defensive players, another reason for excitement this offseason will be the chance to learn what is expected to be a pretty significantly different defense under first-year defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt and two new assistants, associate head coach-defense Sean Desai and passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Karl Scott.
"It's exciting," Brooks said. "It's different than what we had last year, so the faster we learn it, grow into it, it will be a good deal for us."
Seattle Seahawks players have their first offseason workout at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on April 19, 2022.