As the celebrate the end of the draft and the implication that the new season is going to be soon upon us, its time to also remember that two Seahawks have recently become former Seahawks.
The first one, Jerramy Stevens, was done a while ago. In late March he was released. But, recently he was picked up by Tampa Bay, in what some would call a good move. Despite his drops and his knack for trouble making, one gets the feeling that Stevens will fit in with Tampa. He's out of the Northwest for once, and that offense needs a tight end. In Seattle, with the offense progressing as it did, Steven's lack of being able to take a hit and hold onto the ball didn't fit into the up tempo style Holmgren and Hasselbeck like to run. His blocking "skills" didn't help either.
On the same day Stevens joined Tampa Bay, it became official. The rumors that had swirled around for weeks came to an end: Darrell Jackson was traded to the 49ers. Given the longevity of the rumors, I don't know that the news shocked Seattle fans. Again, Jackson was prone to the drops and his injuries were taking a toll.
Throw in the fact that he was slightly bitter about a contract dispute, and people knew that GM Tim Ruskell would probably ship him. But, you have to credit Jackson. He wasn't happy about his contract, and he couldn't have been happy when Nate Burleson and Deion Branch were brought to Seattle. Jackson thought he was The Guy in the receiving corps, but yet it seemed as if the Hawks were trying to drive him out.
But, instead of pouting about it, complaining about it, D-Jac went to work. Nearly 1,000 receiving yards, 10 TD catches in (another) injury shortened season. The 10 TD grabs was a career high. For someone who was disgruntled, Jackson hardly looked it on the field.
To me, its kind of confusing as to why Ruskell shipped him. Ruskell likes character guys. Stevens was not a character guy, he was a distraction in waiting. Jackson was a character guy. I don't know what went on behind the scenes, but though he held a grudge, he didn't let it get to him on the field.
But, somehow, that grudge led to him being traded to a divisional rival for a fourth round pick. Ruskell, who has shown he has a golden touch in the past, had better know what he's doing. This has power trip written all over it. The GM's job should be to build a winner, and now what had been a key cog in a winner for the past few seasons will be doing his work in an enemy uniform.
This trade will be a hot topic once again in weeks 4 and 10 when the two clubs meet, and depending on where the teams find themselves in the divisional race and what Jackson has done that year will ultimately factor into whether this was another genius move by Ruskell or a mistake.
The point of the post though is that, these two players--Jackson and Stevens--though totally different, were major parts to the run to Super Bowl XL. Though Jackson was hurt most of the year, he had a big TD grab in the NFC Championship game and was Hasselbeck's go to guy early in the Super Bowl. Stevens meanwhile had his best receiving year to date in 2005, and like it or not, is responsible for Seattle's only touchdown in the Super Bowl. Never mind the fact that he was in Joey Porter's dog house (seriously, no pun intended) for most of the game.
These two players are the first "big names" from that Super Bowl team to move on. And though their partings aren't met with the sentiments that will be bestowed upon Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones, or Mack Strong when they leave the game, its still something to think about. This season we'll be two seasons and two key players removed from the Super Bowl run.
Despite their trials and tribulations in Seattle, it will be weird watching a Seahawks game without those two guys in the line up. Here's hoping the 'Hawks give us reasons to forget about them