After one of the most eventful weeks imaginable, Julian Love spent Christmas at home with his wife, Julia, their newborn son, Noah, and other family members, a perfect ending to a week he'll never forget.
"It was definitely a hectic week, but it was fun," Love said. "Just enjoying it, chilling with my wife, new son, family was in town, so (Christmas) was a fun day."
Everything leading up to Monday was anything but chill, however. Knowing his son could come any day—Noah's due date was December 13—Love took the field for Monday Night Football last week and ended up earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording two fourth-quarter interceptions, including the game-clincher.
Love didn't really get to enjoy winning that award, because on the day it was announced, he and Julia were headed to the hospital. A long labor meant that Love missed the entire week of practice, and didn't travel with the team to Nashville on Friday. Noah eventually arrived Friday afternoon, and Love along with secondary coach Roy Anderson, flew to Nashville Saturday with Anderson helping Love with last-minute game prep.
"He flew with me just to coach me up, help me out with some things, some checks, just able to talk on my way over there," Love said.
While Love was able to take part in meetings via zoom, he took the field Sunday having not taken part in a single walkthrough or practice that week, including the team's Saturday walkthrough since he arrived Saturday evening.
"It was weird for sure in some sense," Love said of playing after being away from the team all week. "I kind of just dialed into the instincts I have playing the game. I just tried to warm up, get stretched out that night before the game, just because the hospital couch/bed situation, some of y'all know, it's not the best for your back. So I got loose and I just played."
Despite the time away, Love played every defensive snap at safety, delivered a big tone-setting hit for a pass breakup early, and also had a third-down stop that forced a punt, part of a performance that had coaches and teammates gushing over what he was ablet to get done in the most unusual week.
"He was dead tired," Carroll said. "He was cooked. You can tell even after the game, he obviously had a huge week and very trying week in a different way. It lasted so long. All births are a challenge and extraordinary, but he had to go through it for three or four days to try to get through it and help Julia get through it. He did a great job. He played a fantastic football game, was on it, no issues. During the week he was zooming, during the week he was in on the meetings, he just didn't get the physical work on the field."
Added linebacker Bobby Wagner, "Man, extremely impressive because it's not just missing practice and trying to learn the defense or dealing with a real-life situation and then not being able to travel with the team, and then I'm pretty sure he wasn't getting that much sleep. There's a lot of elements but he's a true professional. He's a person that would be able to do something like that because of how he prepares. You're surprised when that happens but you're not. It still doesn't take away from how impressive it was for him to balance what was going on in real life, and then come back and still have impact plays in a game in which he didn't practice all week."
In addition to Anderson's in-flight study session, Love also credits the work of teammates for helping him get up to speed.
"Everybody helped me out, Quandre (Diggs) did a great job of helping me, guiding me to the game plan, guys who were in that role all week practicing instead of me did a great job," he said. "Coby Bryant was in that role all week, gave me great looks to feed off of, so it was just a group effort."
Julia Love and baby Noah got home from the hospital a few hours before Love and the rest of the team returned from Nashville on Christmas Eve, allowing them to spend Christmas day together. On Wednesday, Love was up at 5 a.m. to get a little extra time with Noah before heading to work. This week should be more normal for Love—or at least as normal as a week can be with a newborn at home—with three days of practice leading up to Sunday's home game against Pittsburgh. And while a more typical week should help Love get ready for the game, he'll always remember the wild stretch that begin with Monday night football and ended with Christmas at home with a new son.
"It was all meant to be, all timed out right," he said. "Crazy though, crazy 10 days, but it's all great now."
Seahawks practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. on Dec. 27, 2023.