The Seahawks locker room was full of activity Tuesday as players filled the room following their first team meeting since the end of last season. There were hugs between old friends and teammates who have been apart for three months, and handshakes and introductions for players new to the roster.
Players arrived Tuesday for testing and a team meeting, the beginning of Phase 1 of voluntary offseason workouts. With most of the team in attendance, the energy at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center was notable as the Seahawks began the first stage of preparation for the 2017 season.
"It's a new team," said center Justin Britt. "You show up here and you see a lot of faces you don't know, but you're very excited to get to know. You're just kind of rejuvenated. I feel like people have enough time away during the offseason where they're just excited to get back and touch the field and touch the ball and strap up again. It's something we've done since we were little kids, so every year, this is like Christmas time when we come back and get going.
"There's a lot of new faces, new opportunities. It's a different road. Our goal is to win the NFC West, but that's a long ways away. Russell (Wilson) was just saying in the meeting, 'All that matters is tomorrow and the next day after that.' All I know is that we're excited to be here today and to get rolling tomorrow."
In addition to the usual pleasantries between players, Jimmy Graham talked to teammates about his cross-country flight in his seaplane, DeShawn Shead noted he was "killing this rehab" on his surgically repaired knee, and Doug Baldwin helped just-signed receiver and former LSU track star Cyril Grayson learn the ropes. There were also a few practical matters for newcomers to sort out on their first day. Newly-signed linebacker Michael Wilhoite needed directions to the defensive meeting room, while new guard Oday Aboushi asked for help to find the building's front entrance (players usually come and go through the back).
But whether it was a new player in his first day or a veteran heading into his sixth or seventh season in Seattle, the primary feeling was one of excitement to get back to work.
"Every year is truly a blessing, it's another opportunity to get back with the guys," said linebacker K.J. Wright. "The linebackers room is pretty new so I'm excited to meet those guys, go out to eat with them, see how they are. I'm really excited."
Added receiver Jermaine Kearse: "This is always an exciting time. It kind of gets to a point in the offseason where you know you're about to start back up, so you kind of get that excited feeling. Obviously you're going to meet some new guys and get to know those guys. Overall it's a pretty fun time for most guys."
The team meeting featured much of what you might expect from Pete Carroll's first day with a lot of new players, Wright explained.
"He preached our philosophy, it's all about competing, the rules of the team, just getting back at it trying to re-find our purpose and our passion," Wright said. "We're starting over at square one and getting back at it. Last year is over with, it's a new year."
For the offense in particular, one message in Tuesday's meeting was getting back to their balanced philosophy, something Carroll has mentioned several times this offseason.
"Just getting back to who we are, talking about passion and purpose and figuring those things out," Kearse said. "But mostly just them trying to allow us to be our best selves and get back to playing football the way we know how… We didn't run the ball as well as we wanted to last year, so that was an emphasis that we want to get back to who we are, establish our run game while being explosive in the passing game."
Seahawks players pile into team headquarters this week for the start of the club's voluntary offseason workout program.