While the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th Man is still reeling from the news of Hasselbeck’s departure from the team he spent a decade with, nobody has felt the impact of the situation more than Hasselbeck himself.
“I drive right by VMAC and I see my old teammates out there practicing in camp, and I’m driving to the airport – it’s just a weird feeling,” said Hasselbeck of the unusual scenario leaving the Seahawks. “But those guys will be fine and I wish all those guys I’ve talked to – I wish them luck, I hope the best for them.”
When the free agency period began Tuesday, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider called Matt to thank him for his time in Seattle and informed him the organization was moving on. Since then, the Seahawks have signed QB Tarvaris Jackson to a two-year deal, while Hasselbeck signed a three-year contract with the Tennessee Titans the following day.
“I didn’t really want to leave,” Hasselbeck explained. “But again, it’s not my call.”
Hasselbeck, 35, will mentor a familiar quarterback in Tennessee – former UW quarterback Jake Locker. Locker was chosen with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Titans last April, but with the recent acquisition of Hasselbeck, Locker will play backup to the 13-year veteran.
While the Hasselbeck-Locker quarterback pairing was a clear possibility leading up to the 2011 draft, both thought it would occur in Seattle, not Nashville.
“Jake and I actually talked before the draft, like ‘Hey, you know, we might be on the same team – there’s a chance that happens.’ I think we both thought that would be in Seattle,” Hasselbeck said.
As the Seahawks’ career leader in passing attempts, completions and yards, Hasselbeck owns the distinction of leading Seattle to its first and only Super Bowl appearance in 2006. Although the Seahawks would lose to the Steelers in Super Bowl XL, the memories from that amazing season weren’t lost upon Hasselbeck.
“You know this is a great city. It had everything, [but] it doesn’t have a Lombardi Trophy. That was our mission that year, just to bring a Lombardi Trophy back.
“Then we came back the next time. We’d just lost the game, the fans are lining the streets. We had the [rally] at Qwest Field there, where the fans came – I mean it was amazing. But it was a hollow feeling because we weren’t able to bring it back.”
Although the Seahawks would never get the opportunity to avenge their Super Bowl loss to the Steelers, Hasselbeck said he will fondly remember his time spent in Seattle.
“It’s really been a blessing. It’s been a dream come true to be the quarterback in Seattle. You know, it came to an end a little earlier than I would have liked, but it was still a great run.”