September 1, 1997 in Sports

Maybe Seahawks Shouldn’t Have Left Cheney At All

By The Spokesman-Review

On the positive side, I don’t think any ceiling tiles fell. But I didn’t double check.

On the topic of checks, new Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen probably wouldn’t mind canceling one he wrote a while back. Judging by the 41-3 humiliation Allen’s club endured Sunday, the initial return on his investment was slightly below projections.

He’s so disillusioned, he might need to sell $940 million of Microsoft stock today to brighten his mood.

How eager do you suppose Allen will be to write another $400,000 check so the Seahawks can return to Cheney for training camp next year?

It was in the name of a fast start to the regular season that the Seahawks trained at Eastern Washington University this summer. Ouch. It was in Cheney that the Seahawks were supposed to bond into a chemistry-crammed, camaraderie-filled football team. Ouch squared.

I hadn’t seen the Seahawks in person since they broke camp in Cheney in mid August. Last I saw, the team seemingly was coming together well, the new free agents were worth their high price tags and rookies Shawn Springs and Walter Jones were clearly the real deal.

Hey, maybe the mistake was leaving Cheney? The Seahawks sure looked a heck of lot better there than in the Kingdome.

Somewhere between Cheney, Kirkland and the Kingdome the Seahawks lost it. Players weren’t sure how, why or where. Some came to Cheney’s defense in the aftermath of Sunday’s debacle.

“I thought we had a very good training camp,” offensive guard Pete Kendall said. “Unfortunately, now people are going to say this is a reflection of how we practice. People who are real grinders are going to say (Jets’ coach Bill) Parcells kicked his players’ (butts) in camp and that’s why they kicked ours. That’s not necessarily true in this game - look at Buffalo, San Francisco, teams that know how to practice, know how to win games. This should in no way be an indictment on how we practiced and prepared.

“Yet, when you go back for reference, this is the only one we have.”

With 60 minutes of rotten football, Seattle’s roll of recent good fortune came to a screeching halt. And AFC West bully Denver arrives in the Dome in six days.

“We had things going for us in the right direction and we came out and weren’t ready to play,” head coach Dennis Erickson said. “It’s embarrassing and humiliating to have that happen at home with a good crowd. People were into the game for awhile.”

Until the Jets took a 27-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

“We looked like we didn’t have any preseason games to prepare for this one,” defensive end Michael Sinclair said. “Like nobody went to Cheney. We all just drove to the game and said, ‘Let’s play ball.’ It looked … hideous.”

Almost as hideous as The Spokesman-Review columnist, that evil twin of mine, who predicted Seattle would win 10 games. Can’t wait to hear my phone messages today.

At least I didn’t pick ‘em to win 11, like the Tacoma writer. Or 12, like one national magazine. Or contend for the AFC championship, like Joe Theismann.

No disputing the Seahawks were lemons on this day.

“It’s terrible, you can use any synonym - humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed,” Kendall said. “They all apply.”

On his way to the Seahawks locker room, Seattle defensive tackle Dan Saleaumua was telling ardent fans that this team has a lot of season left to turn things around. He’s right, but it’s going to take some major steering.

Later, Saleaumua said the next few days are critical.

“We can’t let this separate us,” he said. “We’ve got too many good players. We won’t accept it.”

I doubt Allen will either.

, DataTimes

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