On Tap: A candid Matt Hasselbeck interview
Posted by Jerry Brewer
Unlike the Mariners, we can finish the job.
To post at 3:30 p.m. today: Matt Hasselbeck commentary. This is Part 3 of my "Live from Nashville" series. In Part 1, I wrote about former Seahawks exec Mike Reinfeldt on Monday, and the crazy coincidence that he has brought several people with Seattle ties to the Tennessee Titans. Part 2 was about Jake Locker.
The final part is the best of all, and that's because Hasselbeck was honest, reflective, sad, confused and excited all within the same interview. How much he wanted to stay in Seattle will become clear when you read the piece, but Hasselbeck doesn't come off as some spoiled athlete who feels he deserves better. He understands this is a business. But it's clear his football-playing heart is still in Seattle.
Hasselbeck went on many long, sprawling monologues during our interview, and they were quite revealing. It was like he was fighting through his emotions and searching for the right words to express how he feels.
Here's a snippet of Hasselbeck trying to explain why he's so disappointed that he and the Seahawks couldn't come to terms on a new contract:
"And I think that, really, the most disappointing thing for me is that last year was so hard holding it together, with all of the adversity that we faced, and it was really, really important to me that we won our division. It was really important to me. And it was really important to Pete (Carroll). That was great. It was a big part of the reason that I loved playing for Pete. He wanted to win the division. That was my only fear at all, ever, with the changes, is that people wouldn't be trying to win as hard as they could. But I never really felt that. His desire to win the division was all in. I really appreciated that. And then we got it done, and I really felt that at the end of the year, this was an awesome year. It's the year that I'm most proud of in my whole career because, even though we were 7-9, it was hard for us to get that 7-9. And then we played really well in the playoffs against the Saints. We battled adversity in that game. We were down early. I throw a pick in my first pass, it was a tipped ball. It couldn't have been any worse. I go over to the sideline, and Pete's like, 'Hey, don't even sweat that. Don't even sweat that. I believe in you. We can get this done.' It was great. We had this good thing. And we did it, and had we not been sleepwalking through the first half of that Chicago game, we could've done something even more special.
"So I just felt like it was a big foundation for what was to come. And then -- bam! -- I don't get to be a part of it. So, that's hard. That's hard. But they're doing their thing. They're in good hands. And I've got a big job here, a big responsibility, and I've got to basically just try to do what I did in Seattle. I've got to do that here. And do what I saw other people do that were maybe a little bit older than me."
In the last sentence of that quote, Hasselbeck is alluding to aging quarterbacks who moved on to another team and proved they still had some game left. The Brett Favres, Kurt Warners and Warren Moons of his QB brethren. I wouldn't say Hasselbeck is determined to show he's still got it; he's never questioned himself in that manner. He's just eager to embrace a new opportunity. But letting go has been difficult for him.
I'm posting that piece later in the afternoon because I have to finish a Hasselbeck/Locker column scheduled for Thursday's newspaper. And I'm flying home from Nashville today. So, I really have to hustle.
If you read "On Tap" yesterday, then you know I was planning a piece about moving on in the sports world for today. We'll push that back to Thursday.
From 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, I'll be the moderator for a wonderful sports careers panel that former Husky and NBA player Eldridge Recasner is hosting that night. It is part of his Eldridge Recasner Basketball Academy, and the goal of this panel is to show kids that there are many careers in sports -- or that come about because of sports -- that don't involve being an athlete, but they can be just as rewarding as athletic glory. Guests include: Don James, Brandon Roy, Seattle U athletic director Bill Hogan, former Sonics great Fred Brown former NFL player Eric Metcalf, the Rev. Leslie Braxton and U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones.
There is still space if you'd like to attend. To learn more, click here.
On Friday, The Brewery Mailbag returns. If you have a question for me, email me at email@example.com.
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