SEATTLE – When Matt Hasselbeck last walked off the turf following a game in Seattle, he truly did not believe it would be his final time in a Seahawks uniform.
It was after the 2010 NFC wild-card game when the Seahawks upset the defending Super Bowl champion Saints and Hasselbeck left the field with his son, Henry, propped on his shoulders and his two daughters by his side. He knew his contract was up and the Seahawks may go a different route, but on that night not wearing a Seattle uniform was the furthest thing from Hasselbeck’s mind.
“Even though I knew it very easily could be, I just didn’t feel that in my heart,” Hasselbeck said this week. “So it’ll be nice to get an opportunity to go back and play some football.”
It’ll mostly be a cameo for Hasselbeck, but an important one at that, when the Tennessee Titans come to Seattle for their preseason opener against the Seahawks tonight. Hasselbeck will get the start, about 12 to 15 plays according to coach Mike Munchak, and a chance at a bit of closure after an abrupt departure from Seattle before the start of the 2011 season.
“Just because of where this game is and it is a preseason game, I think I may soak it in just a little bit more,” Hasselbeck said. “Just enjoy the moment and the fact that I’m back there playing against some friends, playing in front of some friends, and obviously a place that was really, really special to me and my family.”
Usually, the first preseason game draws little interest outside of maybe seeing the first-round picks see their initial game action. But in this case, Seattle’s Bruce Irvin and Tennessee’s Kendall Wright are mostly afterthoughts.
For this night, it’s all about the quarterbacks.
On the Titans sideline is the question of whether second-year QB Jake Locker – a Washington graduate also making his return home – is ready to take the reins from Hasselbeck. For the Seahawks, it’s the debut of offseason free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson, both part of a three-way QB competition with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson. The Seahawks intend to have Flynn play the entire first half, with Wilson taking over in the second half while Jackson sits back and watches.
Seahawks guard John Moffitt is expected to undergo surgery on his left elbow and miss the next two to three weeks.
Moffitt’s elbow has been causing problems for him recently.
Coach Pete Carroll said Moffitt is likely to undergo surgery to clean up some “loose bodies” in his elbow. Deuce Lutui will start instead at right guard.