My favorite memories from Seahawks training camp

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 29: Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 29: Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner /
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SEATTLE – SEPTEMBER 12: Free safety Earl Thomas
SEATTLE – SEPTEMBER 12: Free safety Earl Thomas /

Earl Thomas puts his stamp on practice

This ranks as one of my favorite memories from training camp. This was back in 2011 when big Mike Williams was still on the roster. I was watching the first team offense and defense go live against each other. Things were pretty revved up and hyper competitive, as we’ve grown accustomed to with Pete at the helm. There had been some funny verbal sparring back and forth between the two sides of the ball. Mike Williams was noticeably one of the most vocal. Though he was in street clothes with an injury, he was as much a part of the practice session as anyone else.

Earl Thomas was a complete ball of energy flying around, locking down the middle of the field. The offense was getting a little frustrated as completing passes was starting to become a rare occurrence. On one particular play, Tavaris Jackson dropped back and threw a ball right down the middle of the field. Next, the ball pierced through the air right into the hands of. . . you guessed it, Earl Thomas.

“Don’t even look over here, Earl!”

The defense erupted, the offense was rattled and thus a peculiar exchange ensued. Earl was celebrating and having fun with it, but Mike Williams didn’t appreciate the defense completely dismantling his offense. As things settled down, Williams continued to jaw at Thomas who was running back to his side of the ball. By now it was pretty quiet – except for the shouting coming from Williams. At first it had seemed mostly playful, but there was a little bit of a frustrated charge to it. Earl paid little attention, but Williams basically told him to get on the other side and leave them alone.

The rest of the session Williams wouldn’t let Earl get anywhere near the line of scrimmage without a verbal scolding. The entire production culminated with one of my family’s favorite quotes. An animated Williams yelled out “Don’t even look over here, Earl!” Williams had stolen the show as teammates, coaches and fans alike were in stitches. It wasn’t so much the line, but the way it was delivered and everything that led up to it. Mike Williams certainly seemed to have a large personality to match his enormous frame.

ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 14: Richard Sherman
ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 14: Richard Sherman /

The all-important meet and greet

One of the highlights of watching a practice at the VMAC is the access to players and coaches. Without fail after each practice several players and coaches with come up to the fence to say hi and sign their autographs on whatever you put in front of them. As a teenager this was one of the coolest experiences for me.

So I made three visits to training camp in all. I got to meet John Ryan, Lofa Tatupu, Richard Sherman (his rookie year before anyone knew who he was), Pete Carroll and several others. Now if you’re a parent and want to give your kids a cool experience, take them to training camp and let them hang around for a few minutes after practice. After all, it’s pretty cool to see guys take the time to interact with and meet fans. Especially when they’re your kids!

For those of you who have attended training camp, I’d love to hear some of your favorite memories in the comments below. If you haven’t been to training camp before, I hope you get the chance in the future.

Happy Football Season!