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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks arrive in Munich, hope for ‘crazy and loud’ environment vs. Bucs

Nov. 10, 2022 Updated Thu., Nov. 10, 2022 at 8:25 p.m.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith looks for an open receiver against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter a preseason game at AT&T Stadium on Aug. 26, 2022, in Arlington, Texas.   (Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith looks for an open receiver against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter a preseason game at AT&T Stadium on Aug. 26, 2022, in Arlington, Texas.  (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

MUNICH – Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called a roughly 24-hour period that included meetings and a practice in Renton, a flight to Munich and another practice once the team arrived “like the longest day ever.”

But safety Quandre Diggs wasn’t fooled.

“The coaches got an extra day out of us working,” Diggs said. “They think they was slick with that, but I caught on to that early in the week.”

Indeed, while it felt like one big day for the team and its travel party, it was past 4 p.m. Thursday when the Seahawks hit the field here for a brief practice at the training grounds of FC Bayern Munich at Säbener Straße to prepare for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, which will be held at Allianz Arena, the home field for Bayern Munich, generally considered the best soccer club in Germany. The game will be the first NFL regular-season contest held in Germany.

The Munich practice Thursday came after the Seahawks had practiced at the VMAC in Renton on Wednesday, then boarded buses for a long flight to Munich. After landing in Munich on Thursday afternoon, the team briefly stopped at its hotel before getting back on buses for the workout, which was attended by what one report said was at least 80 members of various local media, with the country at a fever pitch to finally see a real, live NFL game on its soil.

NFL players typically get one full day off a week. When the Seahawks play on Sunday, it is almost always a Tuesday.

But the Seahawks altered their plan this week to practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before coming to Germany.

As Carroll said, the Seahawks essentially got in what are their typical Wednesday and Thursday practices at home on Tuesday and Wednesday – what are their two heaviest practices of the week and in which the game plan is fully installed – before making the lengthy but apparently uneventful trip to Munich.

“I just remember watching some tape, fell asleep, woke up and we were here,” said quarterback Geno Smith of the flight.

And the second practice of the day, so to speak, was about as light as could be – a walk-through style workout that lasted roughly 45 minutes and was designed in large part to keep the players active following the long trip and get them on local time, as well as serve as added promotion for the game itself.

It’s almost the exact schedule the Seahawks used in 2018 when they traveled to London and beat the Raiders 27-3.

Carroll said the team will have what is a usual Friday of work.

Thursday’s practice was followed by news conferences with Carroll, Diggs, Smith and practice squad player Aaron Donkor, a native of Gottingen, Germany. He has been with Seattle since the 2021 season as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program.

At one point early in Thursday’s practice, Carroll approached some of the German media to say a quick hello and how thrilled the Seahawks were to be in Munich.

Carroll and the players said they understood the significance of this game in the league’s efforts to further grow the game internationally.

“To know that we are being received so well and the German people really want to see this game and they are excited about it and the buildup for it, we really feel it’s an honor,” said Carroll of the game, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. PT) on Sunday.

When the game was announced in February, the league said Frankfurt will also host future games, with Düsseldorf also having been announced as another possible site for games in Germany in later years.

Diggs said he has been impressed by the reaction to the game both from Seahawks fans in Germany as well as those who are simply NFL fans.

“It’s really, really cool to see the people come gravitate to us and hopefully we go out there and give them a good game on Sunday,” Diggs said.

Much has been speculated about what the crowd will be like in the stadium, with about 70,000 or so expected after more than 800,000 fans were in the queue to buy tickets on the day they went on sale.

It’s expected there will be large contingents of fans for both teams – the NFL undoubtedly loved the idea of having Tom Brady be part of its first-ever game in Germany – as well as many who may simply be curious to take it all in.

“I hope it’s loud and crazy,” Diggs said. “I’ve watched soccer matches so I’m hoping for that kind of energy. I might get an interception and I might do a soccer slide or something, who knows.”

And while, as Diggs noted, Seahawks players sort of had to take one this week for the team – and even more so for the league – he wasn’t complaining.

“Next week we get the whole week off if we do what we are supposed to do,” he said, referencing Seattle’s bye that follows the game against the Bucs. “So I’ll catch up on my sleep in Texas.”

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