Time passes, but Pacific Avenue remains the same for Lawyer Milloy.
The Tacoma native and Lincoln High graduate caught a glimpse of the busy thoroughfare he used to spend time on while driving on it Wednesday on the way to his football camp at Pacific Lutheran University.
“I went downtown to eat at the Matador, and instead of getting on I-5, I said, ‘Let me drive through the old ‘hood,’ ” Milloy said. “And that’s what it’s all about – to come back to where it all started out for me. Those streets are very familiar. A lot of times I lived on those streets. So I know and can relate to what some of these young kids are going through.
“I think it’s up to us while we’re on that platform to use it in a positive way. And what better time than right now, while we have all this extra time (because of the NFL player lockout).”
Partnering with Sports International Football Camp, Milloy hosted his first camp in Parkland this week, with Seahawks teammates Deon Butler and Marshawn Lynch chipping in to make appearances in order to teach kids the ins and outs of the game.
But Milloy didn’t just pop in to show his face and talk for five minutes – he spent quality time working with kids in individual drills.
“I don’t want to be a guy that sits on the sidelines,” he said. “That’s not what I’m about. These parents want their kids to get something, and they want them to get it from me. That’s why my name’s on it. And so I think it’s important for me to get out there and have fun with the kids. And it comes natural when you’re having fun.”
PLU football coach Scott Westering, who offered his campus to host the event, says players like Milloy help bring the message home for young players.
“There’s a better-than-average chance a lot of these kids will not experience major college football, much less professional football,” Westering said. “And so it’s important for them to hear – whether it’s Lawyer, Marshawn Lynch or Deon Butler – talk about life bigger than football, and to encourage these kids to obviously give football it’s due, and love the game and give it your best shot, but then ultimately make sure you’re growing in other areas of your life.”
Butler, who suffered a gruesome broken right leg against San Francisco on Dec. 12, appears to have healed six months later, moving well while running routes against some of the campers.
Although Butler, one of the fastest players for the Seahawks, admitted he’d have trouble beating Milloy in a race right now.
Lynch talked to kids about the importance of teamwork. His example? Lynch told campers that on his spectacular, 67-yard touchdown run that iced Seattle’s 41-36 win over New Orleans in the NFC Wild Card game, he was so tired that he had to lean over to fullback Michael Robinson for a reminder of which hole in the line the play was designed to go through.
Milloy channeled his inner child during the afternoon portion of the camp, with the former University of Washington star giving a kid the business for wearing a Washington State University decal on his helmet.
“I had to remember that he’s like 10 years old,” said Milloy, chuckling. “It’s a healthy rivalry between the University of Washington and the other school. And you’re starting to see a lot more of their stuff popping up on some of these kids.
“I’d rather see our kids wearing some kind of university on their shirt that gives them motivation. But ultimately I’m a Dawg – Dawg for life. And my university is better than his – even if he’s 10 year old.”
At 37 years old, Milloy believes there’s still gas left in the tank, and does not rule out returning for a 16th season in the National Football League. Milloy played for the veterans’ minimum salary the past two seasons in Seattle.
After playing special teams and a reserve role for the first time in his career, Milloy was given an opportunity by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to earn a starting job in 2010 along with becoming a team leader.
He did not have an interception, but the strong safety started all 16 games, finished second on the team with 88 tackles and third on the team with four sacks.
Milloy also became the 11th player in league history to total 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career – He has 21 sacks and 25 interceptions.
However, with the Seahawks drafting safeties in back-to-back years – Kam Chancellor in the fifth round in 2010 and Mark LeGree in the fifth round this year – Milloy is keeping his options open.
“I had a chance to get back on the field last year, and I had outstanding numbers,” Milloy said. “You can put my numbers up to really anybody out there – besides interceptions.
“I did the dirty work and I did my job. I definitely outworked my pay while making people around me better, and that’s what I do.
“I’m a free agent, just like anybody else. I’m available to all teams. That’s the only thing. When I go out, I want to go out fighting for a job. Just like last year when I talked to Pete (Carroll); I don’t want anything handed to me. I want to go out and earn it. And as long as I feel that I can do that and keep my body in shape” I’ll keep playing.
So it doesn’t have to be in Seattle?
“Yeah, I’m a free agent,” he said. “As a business person, you never say you love one situation over another when you’re trying to get a job. I want to win a championship, that’s always first and foremost. Being at home is a bonus. I’m open to whoever thinks they can have an older guy that can make plays, make people around them better and that can lead a team – that’s the best situation for me and that’s where I’ll be.”