NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

Three important things we learned about the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL scouting combine at Indianapolis, which ended Monday:

1. Lynch will be back -- It's not official yet, but it's almost a certainty that Marshawn Lynch will return next season as the starting running back. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it clear that the team has made Lynch a "big offer" and they expect him back. That offer is reportedly $11 to $12 million for 2015 and $9 million for 2016. But this really is about 2015, which the Seahawks realize could be Lynch's last year before calling it quits. He wasn't going to return for the $7 million he was scheduled to make on the last year of his current deal. He will come back for $12 million.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesGuaranteeing Russell Wilson's entire contract could save the Seahawks room in the salary cap.
2. The walking wounded Legion of Boom -- If cornerback Byron Maxwell leaves in free agency as expected, it means the top five remaining players in the Seattle secondary all have injuries to get over before next season. Two new problems we learned about at the combine are nickelback Jeremy Lane's upcoming ACL knee surgery (he already had surgery to repair the compound fracture in his left arm) and possible surgery for cornerback Tharold Simon to repair the shoulder he dislocated late in the season. Lane may not be ready until midseason. Simon is the likely starter at this point if Maxwell leaves.

All three of the other starters have injuries -- free safety Earl Thomas will have shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, strong safety Kam Chancellor has a torn MCL that won't need surgery, and cornerback Richard Sherman has a torn ligament in his left elbow, but won't need Tommy John surgery. What all this means for the Seahawks is they have to get help in the secondary, through the draft and probably through free agency. One possible target could be former Seahawk Walter Thurmond, a free agent who can play outside or in the slot.

3. Wilson's upcoming deal could set a new standard -- Everyone knows that quarterback Russell Wilson soon will sign a new contract that will make him one of the highest paid player's in the game. Both Carroll and Schneider said there is no timetable to get the deal done, but they are working on it, and Schneider already said they are thinking "outside the box" on Wilson's deal. What could make this deal unique is the possibility of it becoming the first major NFL contract to be fully guaranteed in order to help the Seahawks with salary-cap issues.

That's a revolutionary concept. All guaranteed contracts aren't done in the NFL because of the high risk of injury, but in this case it makes sense. NFL contracts are misleading. A star player can sign a $100 million deal, but maybe only half of that is guaranteed money, and that's what counts. Wilson could sign a $100-million deal with $50 million to $60 million guaranteed, or he could sign a $75 million deal with all of it guaranteed. Wilson and his representatives might be willing to go that route, which would help the Seahawks. Even if Wilson were to suffer a season-ending knee injury next season, it isn't like they are going to release him. So make it all guaranteed and save some cap room.
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gave a long explanation about the Super Bowl hangover and how they are moving past the disappointment.

"We’re forging on," Carroll said Friday while speaking to reporters at the NFL scouting combine at Indianapolis. "We shared the experience with the world. And in that, I feel there is a responsibility for us to really extend the message of accountability. And that’s getting to the truth of what happened and being prepared to move onward constructively, productively and immediately as soon as you possibly can.

"We’re not into this world of blaming and fixing blame and trying to figure out what went wrong. That’s already been dealt with and now it’s time to move on. We’re charging forward. We feel like we’re just in the middle of everything. We have a very exciting football team and a very young crowd of guys."

Carroll said they will go through the same process as if they had won Super Bowl XLIX.

"I don’t feel any differently this year," Carroll said. "As soon as the game is over, regardless of what the outcome was, we go back to doing what we do. What we hope to do is not let what just happened affect our ability to produce at a really high level as we move forward, whether it was a win or a loss. I’ve been saying that for years.

"We want to always know how to deal with it, so this is one of those challenges. We’re a very unique team right now. You saw us win it all [a year ago] and you saw us go all the way to the last moment and not get what you want."

Carroll said only one thing matters now.

"What are we going to do now? Wait and see," Carroll said. "We’re going to go about it the way we always do. We have a very strong philosophy and a very committed approach to how we will use the mentality it takes to keep pushing and keep getting better. There is no other way. How we’ll respond, we’ll find out.

"This is an exciting, wonderful time for us. We’re going to make the very most of it and take it as far as we can. We are in a situation that’s notable because of the way our game finished coming off the Super Bowl. There’s a lot going on here for us to grow from and to learn from."
Has there ever been a player who said less and was heard more than Marshawn Lynch?

This man of few words certainly has a way of getting his message across to the people who need to know. And what is that message from the enigmatic Seattle Seahawks running back?

“I’m going to keep you guessing.”

Lynch didn’t actually say those words, but that’s his current mantra, open to interpretation, of course, from the man who is sitting back and playing a game of mystery about his intentions.

The guessing game on Lynch is whether he will walk away from the game saying, “I’m all about retirement, boss.” It seems like a preposterous notion for a player at the top of his game with millions of dollars on the table for him to return.

[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
AP Photo/Matt YorkMarshawn Lynch is keeping everybody, including the Seahawks, guessing about his future.
But we’re taking about Lynch, a man who makes preposterous seem routine.

“He’s a guy that kind of just beats his own drum,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. “He does what he wants. He would never let you know one way or the other. There have been a lot of great running backs who just walked away. I have no idea. We’d like to know soon.”

Whatever you think The Beast of Bizarre will do, he will probably do just the opposite. In this case, that would mean he will quit because the vast majority of people think it’s all a bluff.

As unpredictable as Lynch is, I don’t see him walking away from more than $10 million of guaranteed money. Lynch is on the books for $7 million in 2015, the final year of his current contract.

The Seahawks, however, have made it clear they are willing to extend Lynch’s deal in some fashion to entice him to return. Without going into all the mathematical intricacies of how that might work, a new deal would guarantee him more money (probably $10 million to $11 million overall), whether he played past 2015 or not.

“He’s the ultimate teammate,” Schneider said of Lynch. “He’d really be missed. He hasn’t given us an indication that he would leave. I was asked if it would surprise me, and it wouldn’t, just based on the individual. That’s a hard job he has.”

Lynch might be hard to figure out, but he’s not walking away from that kind of money. It can help fund his foundation for underprivileged children in his hometown of Oakland, California, something that is near and dear to his heart.

Regardless of what Lynch decides, the Seahawks have to look to their future as a team without him. Lynch will be starting his ninth NFL season in 2015. In the past four years, he has 1,181 carries for 5,357 yards in the regular season, playing 63 games. That doesn’t include eight playoff games over that span, with 164 more carries for 784 yards.

For a man who runs with such a powerful and punishing style, it takes a huge toll on his body. Lynch has back issues that keep him from practicing most days during the season. It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to realize he can’t carry that workload and produce at that level much longer.

So the Seattle organization has to look ahead with two questions: Does it have the players in place who can get the job done when Lynch leaves? Does it need to draft a top running back for the future?

I'm of the opinion (a minority opinion, I realize) that this team can continue to play at a championship level without Lynch in the future.

Robert Turbin has rushed for 928 yards on 231 carries in his three seasons with the Seahawks. If you were to project that out over the average number of carries Lynch has had in those three seasons, Turbin would have rushed for an average of 1,201 yards per season. Lynch averaged 1,384 yards in those three seasons.

Consider the last two seasons with Christine Michael as the third running back. In that span, Turbin and Michael rushed for 564 yards on 126 carries. Lynch rushed for 2,563 yards the past two seasons. If you project the same number of carries for Turbin and Michael combined, based on their rushing totals in 2013 and 2014, they would have rushed for 2,600 yards as a duo.

Listen, I’m not trying to prove Turbin and Michael could be Lynch. No one can. He’s a once-in-a-generation type of running back, a relentless, fearless ball carrier who gives you everything he has on every play.

Nobody knows whether Turbin or Michael could handle the workload Lynch has endured. And some of their carries came at times when the game was decided. Turbin and Michael have not played enough to know what they could do, but the stats indicate they could play well because Seattle is a team built around a power-running offense with strong run-blockers.

“Robert’s a great player because he’s so knowledgeable about the position,” Schneider said Thursday. “He can just step in the game and roll. He has more experience than Christine, but we expect big things from him moving forward.”

If the Seahawks feel unsure of the capabilities of those two backs, they could look toward the draft this year.

“I personally think this is a pretty good crop at running back this year,” Schneider said.

Todd Gurley of Georgia is a Lynch type of runner and would have been the first running back taken in 2015, but he’s coming off ACL surgery. Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin likely won’t be around when Seattle picks at No. 31, but Indiana running back Tevin Coleman is rising on draft boards as a bruising runner with unlimited potential.

Lynch is going to keep everyone guessing about his future for a while longer, but whatever he decides, Seattle has to move on and make decisions about the future without him.

“He’s a heartbeat guy," Schneider said. “When you have a guy like that, you are going to do everything you can to let him go to work. He needs a little time to hit the reset button. I’ve talked to his people a bunch. He knows we want him to play.”
1. Lane needs more surgery: Along with the horrible arm fracture nickelback Jeremy Lane suffered after his interception in the Super Bowl, he also injured a knee and will need surgery that could cause him to miss the start of the 2015 season. Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider told reporters Thursday that Lane injured his knee on the same play.

[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsThe Seahawks do not know what Marshawn Lynch plans to do next season.
2. Thomas could miss part of training camp and the 2015 preseason: Schneider said free safety Earl Thomas hasn’t had the surgery yet to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but the rehab probably will cause Thomas to miss part of training camp and the preseason. But Schneider thinks Thomas will be ready to go by the start of the regular season. Schneider said they still don’t know if strong safety Kam Chancellor will need knee surgery on his torn MCL. Schneider said it’s “iffy” that wide receiver Paul Richardson will be ready to play for the start of next season after undergoing ACL surgery last month.

3. Still no decision from Lynch: Schneider said it’s still a waiting game on whether running back Marshawn Lynch will play in 2015 or retire.He’s a guy that kind of just beats his own drum,” Schneider said. “He does what he wants. He would never let you know one way or the other. There have been a lot of great running backs who just walked away. I have no idea. We’d like to know soon.”

4. Maxwell could be a goner: Schneider admits it will be tough to keep free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell. “Byron’s one of ours and it would be hard to see him leave, but I would think his market would be pretty strong,” Schneider said. With Maxwell’s possible departure and all the injuries in the secondary, expect for the Seahawks to look hard at cornerbacks and safeties in the draft.

5. No franchise tag: Not a surprise, but Schneider confirmed Thursday that the Seahawks will not use a franchise tag on anyone this year. They have two big-money contracts on the horizon, the likely $100 million deal for quarterback Russell Wilson and a new contract for middle linebacker Bobby Wagner that could exceed $40 million.
Time to heal.

Those three words could be the offseason theme for the Seattle Seahawks, who need to heal physically as well as mentally. And it’s going to be a slow process.

The painful way the Seahawks lost in Super Bowl XLIX does not go away overnight. QB Russell Wilson's ill-fated pass at the end will be second-guessed for years.

[+] EnlargeKam Chancellor
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsKam Chancellor, who played in the Super Bowl with a torn MCL, is one of several Seahawks who are recovering from major injuries.
And it still hurts for fans, for players, for coaches, and everyone involved in a team that was close to winning back-to-back Super Bowls.

“Like everybody else, we’re licking our wounds a little bit and trying to move forward," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. “It's always going to sting. But we always talk around here that there is no finish line. We're moving forward and we have a plan in place and we're going to keep attacking it."

One question people keep asking is whether the disappointment of such a heartbreaking loss will linger for the players and cause them to lose focus or lack confidence moving forward.

Anyone who thinks that's the case just doesn’t know or understand the makeup of this team and these players.

“This is a young, resilient football team,” Schneider said. ‘‘They are very confident and very prideful. I just have the confidence that we’re going to get this thing back on track.”

Actually, it isn’t really off track. The team was one play away from winning the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. But Schneider’s point is that one disheartening moment will not define the Seahawks.

“There are challenges, absolutely,’’ Schneider said. “But to have a head coach like Pete Carroll and players who are true competitors, I think we have a great shot to be a championship-caliber team for a long time.”

To do that, this team has to get over the mental anguish of the Super Bowl loss and use it as motivation. No team is better than this one when the players feel like they have something to overcome. They proved it in 2014 when they were 6-4 and ran the table down the stretch.

The Super Bowl hangover is not an issue. The real issue is getting healthy again. This is a banged-up bunch of guys, starting with the Legion of Boom. All three Pro Bowl-honored players ended the season hurt.

Free safety Earl Thomas is having a torn labrum repaired in his shoulder. Strong safety Kam Chancellor played the Super Bowl with a torn MCL in his left knee. And cornerback Richard Sherman has a torn ligament in his left elbow. Fortunately, he will not need surgery, but his recovery will take time. And nickelback Jeremy Lane had surgery to repair a complete fracture in his left arm suffered in the Super Bowl. His recovery will take several months.

And that’s just the beginning. Nose tackle Brandon Mebane is coming back from a torn hamstring. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who broke out in the second half of the season, ended the year on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Tight end Zach Miller is coming off ankle surgery after playing only three games in 2014. Fullback Derrick Coleman is coming back from a fractured foot.

“We had a number of injuries this year,” Schneider said. “I’m really excited for some of our younger guys to get back out there and show their true worth.”

The Seahawks need to learn some things about a few 2014 rookies who are coming off injuries. Big things were expected of defensive end Cassius Marsh and outside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. Marsh played only five games before breaking his foot. Pierre-Louis played in only seven games because of hamstring and shoulder problems.

Wide receiver Paul Richardson, the team’s top draft pick in 2014, finally was showing his talent in the second half of the season before suffering a torn ACL in the first playoff game. It’s unlikely he’ll be ready to go for the start of next season.

How quickly all these players recover and how much some of the younger players can step up and contribute will be big factors in how the Seahawks perform in 2015. Salary-cap implications mean tough decisions are coming about some players, like Mebane and Miller.

As was the case last year, the Seahawks will lose some quality players through free agency. Cornerback Byron Maxwell will be tough to keep, but Schneider thinks the organization is better prepared to replace the losses this year.

“We feel like this is an attractive place,’’ Schneider said. “There are a lot of guys that may want to play here that would fit specific needs, and a lot of guys we’d like to have back. We have to make smart decisions as we move along.”

That’s always the case, but the main thing the Seahawks have to do heading into next season is to heal up, mentally and physically.

“I’m proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished,” Schneider said. “We want to be a consistent championship-caliber football team that our fans are extremely proud of all the time.”

Nine days later, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said the grief over the end of Super Bowl XLIX continues to linger.

"Like everybody else, we're licking our wounds a little bit and trying to move forward," Schneider said Monday on 710 ESPN radio in Seattle. "I feel bad for so many people, the gravity of it.

"I feel bad for veteran defensive tackle] Kevin Williams not being able to win that world championship and the way he felt right after the game. I felt bad for Russell [Wilson] throwing the pick. I felt bad for Marshawn [Lynch] not having the chance to win the game."

And one post-game sight hurt Schneider the most: "Then walking outside the locker room and seeing your son [Jack, 10] balling his eyes out."

Schneider said he also felt bad for team owner Paul Allen, but they focused on the entire game.

"I do a deal for Mr. Allen every game on every player and what the game looked like in particular," Schneider said. "This one is tough because everyone is focused on the last play. My job is to step back and look at the whole game.

"We started off offensively with three straight three-and-outs. Jeremy [Lane's interception] makes a great play and he's out [broken arm] and we have to shuffle things on defense. We had 11 missed tackles and gave up 196 yards after the catch, the most all season."

One reason for so many yards after the catch was the fact three members of the Legion of Boom were playing hurt. Free safety Earl Thomas had a torn labrum in his left shoulder, cornerback Richard Sherman had a torn ligament in his left elbow and strong safety Kam Chancellor played the entire game with a torn MCL in his left knee.

But Schneider admits the ill-fated ending is what everyone will remember for a long time.

"We're always going to feel that stretch at the end and it's always going to sting," he said. "But we always talk around here that there is no finish line. We're moving forward and we have a plan in place and we're going to keep attacking it."
You don’t have to convince the Legion of Boom that the Seattle Seahawks made the right decision in naming Kris Richard as the new defensive coordinator.

“I think [Richard] has the respect of the whole room being how he was the one who came in the beginning with all of us," Richard Sherman said.

Sherman said it’s Richard who molded a group of lower-round draft choices and free agents into standout players. Sherman and Kam Chancellor were fifth-round selections. Former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner came from the CFL. Cornerback Byron Maxwell was a sixth-round pick. Nickelback Jeremy Lane was picked in the sixth round.

“The only first-round guy that anyone ever knew about was Earl [Thomas],” Sherman said. “Now everyone is like, ‘Oh you guys have this big-time secondary.’ Where were you guys at in 2011 when no one knew us from nobody.

“I think [Richard’s] growth with us through that process to where we are now is the reason we respect him so much. He kind of built the giant that we are now with discipline, attention to detail, always being on it and always keeping us humble and down to earth, especially in the meeting room and making sure we understand our strengths, our weaknesses, what we do well and what we don’t do well.”

Chancellor agrees 100 percent.

“Kris taught me a lot," Chancellor said. “That’s a guy who’s definitely a student of the game. He’s always been in our favor, always been for us. He just has our best interest and put us situations where we can capitalize on our strengths.”

Dan Quinn, who Richard replaces as the defensive coordinator, had this to say about Richard before the Super Bowl.

“He has developed and had a huge impact on a lot of these guys,” Quinn said of Richard. “He’s the guy we don’t talk about enough.”

Seahawks sign seven free agents

February, 9, 2015
Feb 9
The Seattle Seahawks signed seven free agents Monday, including former University of Washington receiver Kevin Smith, who was with the team in training camp last summer.

Other players signed Monday are quarterback R.J. Archer, guard C.J. Davis, long snapper Luke Ingram, linebacker Brandon Kelly, defensive end Will Perciak and center Jared Wheeler.

Davis also spent time in Seattle’s 2014 training camp. He is the only player among these seven who has NFL experience, having played seven games for Carolina in 2010 and seven more for Denver in 2012.

Signing Ingram is interesting because Clint Gresham, widely considered one of the best long snappers in the NFL, is a free agent who made $837,000 last season with the Seahawks. Ingram (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) played college football at Hawaii.
Your votes are in and I must admit, I am surprised. In fact, I’m stunned, really, by the winning option on which play you would have called in that fateful moment for the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

First, thanks for the overwhelming response on the website, my Twitter page and Facebook. It took quite awhile just to count all the votes.

I listed five options in the Sound-off Saturday survey on plays to call instead of the quick slant from the New England 1 that was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, changing a likely victory for the Seahawks into a defeat in the final seconds of the game.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesSeahawks fans would have liked to have seen Russell Wilson on the run on the pivotal play of Super Bowl XLIX.
Almost everyone had an opinion on the second-down play, so I decided to put it to a vote.

The choices were a rollout option for Russell Wilson, a handoff up the middle to Marshawn Lynch, a fade in the back of the end zone to Chris Matthews, and a read-option fake to Lynch before throwing it to him in the end zone, or any other play you want to design.

Judging by the avalanche of Twitter comments moments after the play, I thought for sure most of you would say give the ball to the Beast and let him bull his way into the end zone.

That wasn’t your top choice. It wasn’t even close.

The voters went with option A, a rollout run-pass option for Wilson. That was the selection by 43 percent of the voters. Handing the ball to Lynch up the middle was a distant second at 24 percent.

Even if you counted the read-option choice as a handoff to Lynch and added those votes to the Lynch-run total, it’s still only 32 percent of the total vote.

About 9 percent said they would run the same play and had no problem with the call. A few other voters said they would go with a slant throw, but to the other side of the field or to a different receiver instead of Ricardo Lockette.

Eight percent of the voters wanted to go with a fade to Matthews, who had been the surprising star of the day with four catches for 109 yards and a TD.

Another 3 percent picked a quarterback sneak. There was one vote for a reverse and one vote for a Statue of Liberty play.

And a few people just vented about what happened without saying what they would have done.

Here’s a look at the numbers overall:

  • Wilson rollout: 43 percent
  • Lynch handoff: 24 percent
  • Same play: 9 percent
  • Wilson read-option: 8 percent
  • Fade to Matthews: 7 percent
  • Wilson sneak: 3 percent
  • Various other options: 6 percent

Seattle Seahawks season report card

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
video » AFC: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Sadly, one play will stand out as the defining moment to a remarkable season for the Seattle Seahawks, turning things around at midseason and going on an eight-game win streak that enabled them to reach the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year.

The Seahawks were 6-4 after a loss at Kansas City and three games behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, but Seattle ran the table, including two victories over the Cardinals and two over the San Francisco 49ers, to win the division title.

Two playoff victories, including the miraculous comeback over Green Bay to win the NFC Championship Game in overtime, got the Seahawks to Super Bowl XLIX before losing on an interception at the 1-yard line in the final seconds, a play call that will be questioned for years to come.

MVP: Russell Wilson. Many people will pick Marshawn Lynch, who had what might have been the best all-around season of his career, but this team isn't close to a back-to-back Super Bowl participant without Wilson. Fifteen times in his career he has led the Seahawks to a comeback win in the fourth quarter or overtime (the most in the NFL the past there years). He did it five times this season and was one play away from doing it again in the Super Bowl. On a team with pass-blocking issues at times, and a team without an elite receiver, Wilson has managed to guide the Seahawks to a 30-8 record the past two seasons.

Best moment: The incredible comeback against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. The Seahawks trailed 19-7 with less than three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but rallied to win it 28-22 in overtime. The comeback including three heart-stopping plays -- an onside kick recovery by Chris Matthews, a two-point conversion pass when Wilson somehow escaped being sacked and threw all the way across the field to tight end Luke Willson at the goal line, and the 35-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse that won it in overtime.

Worst moment: Is there any doubt? What many people always will view as the worst play call in Super Bowl history, the pass play that resulted in an interception when the Seahawks had a second-and-goal at the New England 1 with 26 seconds to play. Lynch in the backfield, three chances to score, but the Seahawks elected to run a risky inside slant into a crowd of defenders. Rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler saw it coming, jumped the route and picked off Wilson's throw that was intended for Ricardo Lockette. It's a seemingly senseless call that will be second-guessed for years and constantly replayed as one of the strangest decisions ever in a Super Bowl.

2015 outlook: Despite the heartbreaking end to this season, things continue to look bright for the Seahawks, a young team that has the nucleus in place to be a championship contender for years. They already are the early Super-Bowl favorites for next season, but there are some challenges moving forward. First will be salary-cap issues with big contracts coming up for Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. And who knows what Lynch will want entering the final year of his contract. The Seahawks also have a banged up Legion of Boom with four players who will need to get healthy in the offseason. Richard Sherman may have Tommy John surgery on his elbow and Jeremy Lane will have major surgery to repair a compound fracture in his right arm. Kam Chancellor (knee) and Earl Thomas (shoulder) also may need medical procedures.
Here are some of the comments Tuesday from the players on locker room clean-out day for the Seattle Seahawks, less than 48 hours after the heartbreaking 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

Receiver Doug Baldwin: “I think in the grand scheme of things, you have to realize that it’s just one game. Obviously, it meant a lot to us and we’re devastated by the outcome. I kept trying to tell myself that it’s just a game, it’s just football. But at the end of the day, I’ve been playing this game for 21 years, so it’s a little bit more than just a game to me and to the guys in this locker room. It feels like you’ve lost something that’s a part of you deep inside.

“We’re all competitors who’ve faced adversity before. The only way we have to do it is focusing on the task at hand and not wondering how it happened to us, but wondering how we’re going to bounce back and move forward. Obviously that’s crucial for us right now.”

Baldwin on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell saying Ricardo Lockette could have fought harder on the goal-line interception: “I’d be lying if I said it didn't bother us. It was harsh, but it was in the heat of the moment.”

Defensive end Cliff Avril, who suffered a concussion in the game: “Right now for me, it’s about focusing on the real important things in life -- spending time with my family and enjoying them and raising my little boy.”

Running back Robert Turbin: “You play the game over in your mind a little bit and you find that the score doesn’t change. It’s quite shocking because you obviously feel like you should have won the game. We feel like we should be in here celebrating instead of sobbing, but we’re not and the Patriots made a play. You have to give them credit.

“Everybody is different. I think individually you have to find what’s going to help you get over this game the most. There are things in life that are more important than this game. There are always two ways to go it when things that don’t go your way. You can either let it bring you down or you can find a way to allow it to motivate you and push you to be even better than you were before. That’s the way that I’ve always been taught.”

Punter Jon Ryan: “This is going to drive us even harder. It is going to hurt for a while. This isn't something you soon forget.”

Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse: “This is just another test to show how strong our group is.”

Tight end Luke Willson: “I don’t really have too many answers guys. It is what it is.”
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said all the players know good things are ahead, but it will take a while to get over the pain of such a heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl XLIX.

“It really hurt,” Carroll said. “It hurt everybody. It was so sudden and so far off what should have happened for us. It’s something we have to deal with, but in the long run, it will make us stronger and we’ll be able to put it in some kind of perspective. I think we all understand that.”

Carroll said the players still are able to see the big picture of a team that can continue to be one of the best in the NFL.

“In my interactions with the players, their resolve and determination about where we’re going and what we’re doing is absolutely clear,’’ Carroll said. “The future is very, very bright. This is a very young team that’s going all kinds of places and everybody knows that.

“But with that is the shock and disappointment that this game got away from us at the finish line. It was so close to being on the other end of the spectrum, but it’s something we have to live with.”

PHOENIX -- The play that will live in Super Bowl infamy is going to haunt quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks forever, but it won’t keep him from becoming one of the highest paid players in the NFL later this year.

The Seahawks have about $111.9 million committed in cap dollars next season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Even with the cap expected to jump up as much a $10 million to $143 million in 2015, the Seahawks will have cap issues to address.

First is the likely contract extension for Wilson that will place him among the league elites in wealth, probably averaging more than $20 million a year. Wilson’s cap hit for 2015 is $953,519, but he’s eligible to renegotiate his rookie deal, and he will.

The interception on the 1-yard-line that sealed the 28-24 victory for the New England Patriots won’t have any bearing on Wilson’s new deal. Yes, if the Seahawks had won the game Wilson would have become the only quarterback in history to win two Super Bowls in his first three years -- a nice thing for his representatives to say in negotiations. Wilson, however, is in position to receive a $100 million deal, anyway.

He ran the play that was called Sunday night, an inexplicable slant pass into traffic on second down with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. An older quarterback, like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, probably would have heard the play and said: "We aren’t doing that," and checked out if it. Even Wilson might have called timeout to discuss it if the Seahawks hadn’t been down to their last timeout.

Sunday was first time in Wilson’s career the Seahawks lost a game after leading by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter. They were 18-0 in those games. And the interception was the only pick thrown from the 1-yard line by any quarterback this season.

It was a horrible end to a remarkable season, but as far as Wilson’s financial future, it won’t change a thing.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Earl Thomas sat at his locker with his head hanging in his hands.

The Seattle Seahawks safety didn't move; he just stared into the locker. Thomas' teammates hurried past him, already showered and dressed, ready to put Sunday behind them and get back to Seattle.

They passed Thomas, not even glancing at him, as he sat in the wake of a 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night. While other Seahawks were leaving in suits, Thomas was still wearing his football pants, socks and cleats.

He was in no rush to take them off.

Justin Britt clapped loudly.

J.R. Sweezy grabbed his locker.

Many Seahawks just sat there, on their phones, texting and scrolling through social media.

Everyone was coping in his own way. The team's second-straight NFL championship was 3 feet away. But instead of a touchdown and title, the Seahawks were left with an interception and loss.

“It’s tough,” defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. “I don’t know. You kinda feel like a sense of, ‘We let them off the hook.' Really, to tell you the truth, I don’t know. I just play, man.”

For a while, Richard Sherman sat next to Thomas, also staring. He was eventually ushered out to answer questions about his elbow and why a pass was called instead of a run from the 1-yard line. Before he left, Sherman and Seattle wide receiver Chris Matthews embraced. At one point, Britt went over to Sherman and talked for a few minutes.

While Sherman was gone, Thomas ate his postgame meal and drank a Gatorade, still dressed from the waist down in his uniform.

Linebacker Bruce Irvin was the last Seahawk to take his pads off. He was another who sat at his locker, on his phone, not wanting the night or the season to end. At one point, he walked over to Sherman and Thomas, talked for a few minutes and then, as he was walking away, grabbed the collar around his neck and closed his eyes really tightly.

They were so close.

When Sherman returned from his interviews, he rejoined Thomas at the lockers. Soon after, Pete Carroll walked in, saw them sitting there and changed his course. Carroll stood between the two members of the Legion of Boom and talked, just a coach and two of his stars.

He shook Sherman’s hand and then rested his right hand on Thomas’ neck, rubbing it like a father would to console a child.

When Carroll was done talking to them, he squeezed Thomas’ neck three times, shook Sherman’s hand again and walked away.

“You see the feeling in here,” Britt said. “It’s not good.”video
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Russell Wilson was one play and 1 yard from doing what he has done so many times before: find a way to win at the end.

Instead, thanks to what might be remembered as the worst play call in Super Bowl history, Wilson found a way to lose.

Wilson ran the play called, but it decided the outcome in the 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night.

The Seattle Seahawks had a second-and-goal at the New England 1-yard line with 26 seconds to go. With arguably the best running back in the league in Marshawn Lynch and definitely the best running quarterback in the league in Wilson, the Seahawks elected to throw it.

The quick slant route, intended for Ricardo Lockette, was intercepted by cornerback Malcolm Butler near the goal line. With that, Wilson’s run of comeback victories came to a shocking halt.

“It definitely hurts,” Wilson said. “I hate the feeling that I’m the one who lost it.”

He isn’t. If anyone is to blame, it’s offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and coach Pete Carroll for making the decision to throw when they had three downs to run it in.

“He took the blame for it,” Wilson said of Carroll. “But it’s not his fault. Put the blame on me. I’m the one who threw it. I trusted the play and trusted our players.”

Wilson had marched the team 79 yards down the field after the Patriots took the lead on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman with 2:06 remaining.

Wilson completed a 31-yard sideline throw to Lynch, an 11-yard throw to Lockette and a 33-yard pass on a miraculous, bobbling, off-his-back catch by Jermaine Kearse, which got them to the Patriots' 5-yard line. The next play was a handoff to Lynch, who almost made it in but was stopped at the 1.

Three plays to win it and make Wilson the first quarterback in history to win two Super Bowls in his first three NFL seasons. Three plays to give Wilson his 16th comeback win as the Seattle quarterback and his sixth of the season.

The fairy tale changed to a nightmare on one seemingly senseless play. This was the 10th time this season the Seahawks had a play at their opponents’ 1-yard line. They had rushed the ball on seven of the previous nine such chances. They scored a touchdown on three of the seven runs and one of the two dropbacks. Lynch had five rushes from the 1-yard line this season for minus-1 yard and one touchdown.

This time, they threw it into a crowded middle of the field with everything on the line.

“I thought it was a touchdown, honestly,” Wilson said of the quick slant throw. “It looked like it worked. But the guy [Butler] made an incredible play. That’s really what it came down to.”

Wilson put the Seahawks in position to win, with two long drives at the end of each half. The Seahawks went 80 yards in 29 seconds to tie it 14-14 at the end of the second quarter, and they did it without Lynch or either starting wide receiver touching the ball.

The Seahawks shocked the Patriots on five plays, including a 17-yard run by Wilson, a 23-yard pass to Lockette and an 11-yard touchdown throw to Chris Matthews, after the Seahawks went for it with six seconds to go in the half.

Wilson finished with 12 completions on 21 throws for 247 yards, two touchdowns and a 110.6 QB rating. He completed five passes of more than 25 yards and four of more than 30 yards. He almost pulled it off again, which has become his trademark.

But one incredibly inexplicable play call, which Wilson tried to make work, will haunt him and the Seahawks for a long time.

"We were right there,” Wilson said. “We fought so hard all game. I’ve watched a lot of Super Bowls. In my opinion, that was one of the better ones. We just didn’t win it.”