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Camp Confidential: Seattle Seahawks

Elevated speakers pump out PG-13 lyrics and hip-hop beats all through Seattle Seahawks practice.

“I’m fresh, I’m fly, I’m always high,” boasts rapper Lloyd Banks of G-Unit fame, “got ya b—-es waving at me when I roll by.”

Later, it’s a song from Usher creating the visuals: “Honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow.”

And this from another rapper, Akon: “I’m the boss, it only takes one call for a driver to hit you up and drop you off and that’s all. Guess what? I won’t be takin’ that fall. Homie, I got cake, that’s what I’m payin’ them for.”

Thirty-six-year-old safety Lawyer Milloy, the second-oldest player on the team behind kicker Olindo Mare, grooves on the sideline during a break for the first-team defense. His head coach and the Seahawks’ unofficial hype man, Pete Carroll, runs a spirited practice a few yards away. Afterward, I ask Milloy bluntly whether it’s credible for a 58-year-old white guy from Marin County to like G-Unit. Milloy laughs. He played for Carroll in New England more than a decade ago and he jumped at the chance to play for him again.

“The thing about a leader, the leader has to understand and know the people that he is leading,” Milloy explains. “[Carroll] is willing to step into our world a little bit and that’s the sign of a good leader, man — somebody that will get up there and rock to the music. He might not listen to the lyrics, but he can find the beat.”

In theory, anyway.

“I’m not saying he’s always on beat,” Milloy says, “but, you know, it’s just good to see that our leader is out in front. Everything he wants us to do, he’s leading by example.”

The big question upon Carroll’s hiring was whether his enthusiastic style would translate from USC to the NFL. Carroll isn’t running from his reputation as a rah-rah coach. He’s embracing it and winning over players, at least so far, with an approach to training camp that represents a 180-degree turn from the tough camp Jim Mora ran last summer. Mora’s own conditioning level was such that his resting heart rate was 41 and doctors couldn’t make a stress test tough enough to bring his rate to peak levels. If he could achieve such fitness, shouldn’t professional athletes half his age? The team worked harder during camp than anyone imagined. In retrospect, it’s possible the 2009 Seahawks never quit on Mora so much as they ran out of gas.

Carroll has given players full days without practice. Two-a-days ended after about a week. There have been no three-hour practices.

“Best training camp I’ve ever been involved with,” 10th-year receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. “We go harder than any training camp I’ve ever been in when we’re out there. Everything is fast, fast, fast. But he’s giving us ample rest and I’m not used to that. It’s very, very different, and I think it’s good because we took a conditioning test and everybody passed it very easily. That showed everybody was in shape. So now it’s just, work on your craft.”

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One Response

  1. Camp Confidential: Seattle Seahawks…

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