Monday in Hawkville: Players exit by saluting 12th Man

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 14:

FOCUS ON

A warm reception. When the Seahawks were leaving the airport after their return from Atlanta, and a 30-28 loss to the Falcons in Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game, their buses were greeted by a crowd of several hundred cheering fans. When they reached VMAC, several hundred more were on hands and cheering just as wildly.

It might have been a Sunday evening with temperatures below freezing, but the warm reception helped the players deal with the disappointing loss.

“Speaking for myself, I play for the 12th Man,” wide receiver Golden Tate said today when the players were cleaning out their lockers. “That’s who I play for. I love them, and I hate that it had to end.”

That was part of the players’ amazement at the turnout. The Seahawks were returning from a season-ending defeat, not a victory that sent them to the NFC Championship game.

“To have the support we have from those guys, no matter what the outcome of the game, it’s awesome. I guarantee you there’s no other fan base that’s showing up at the facility in that weather after a loss with that type of support.

“The support we’ve gotten all season has been outstanding, and we appreciate it so much.”

All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman seconded that notion.

“That meant a lot,” he said. “It means a lot to have those kinds of fans and to have that kind of support in this city. It makes you want to play hard. It lets you see that all your hard work is for something.

“It’s hard to explain that kind of feeling. It’s amazing. It’s the middle of the night. It’s 20-something degrees. They care about us as players, as a team. And we care about this city. It really leaves you speechless, because they’re nothing you can say to describe the feeling of that kind of support.”

UNIT WATCH

The rookie class. The Seahawks stunned many of the “experts” with some of the players they selected in the NFL Draft last April. It started in the first round, when they took defensive end Bruce Irvin. It continued in the second round, when they drafted middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. It reached the hysterical level when they went for quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round.

Let’s see, Wilson passed for 26 touchdowns to tie the NFL rookie record set by Peyton Manning in 1998, among many other things; Wagner led the team in tackles during the regular season and postseason; and Irvin led all rookies with eight sacks during the regular season.

“We had a tremendous rookie class,” Wilson said. “Everybody said that this rookie class wouldn’t do anything and we’ve shown we can play. The goal is, we’ve got to prove it again next year.”

The NFL Network was at VMAC last week to tape this feature on the Seahawks’ rookie class which aired during its Sunday pregame show.

INJURY REPORT

Zach Miller did indeed tear the plantar fascia in his left foot, as the veteran tight end said after Sunday’s game. He was on crutches and had his foot in a protective boot today.

Defensive end Chris Clemons, who tore a ligament in his left knee in last week’s wild-card playoff game against the Redskins, has yet to have his surgery. But he was scheduled to meet with specialist Dr. James Andrews this week.

“This has been an extraordinary year in terms of that,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I mentioned to the team how fortunate we were to get out of this tear with really one major rehab.”

DRAFT POSITION

The Seahawks will have the 25th selection in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, and 10 picks overall.

“We’ve got 10 picks going into this draft, which is fantastic for us,” Carroll said. “I can’t imagine all the work that John (Schneider, the GM) is going to turn out with all those opportunities.”

STAT DU JOUR

Matt Hasselbeck and Dave Krieg hold pretty much every passing record for the Seahawks. But Sunday, Wilson did something in his second postseason game that Hasselbeck (11 starts) and Krieg (seven) didn’t in their combined 18 playoff starts – pass for more than 350 yards. Here’s a look at the top postseason passing-yard games in franchise history

Player, opponent (date)                                   Att.   Comp.   Yards    TD   Int.  Rating

Russell Wilson, Falcons (Jan. 13, 2013)          36      24          385        2     1      109.1

Matt Hasselbeck, Rams (Jan. 8, 2005)            43      27          341        2     1        93.3

Matt Hasselbeck, Packers (Jan. 4, 2004)        45      25          305        0     1        67.4

Dave Krieg, Bengals (Dec. 31, 1988)                50      24         297        1      2         56.8

UP NEXT

The offseason. The players took their exit physicals, had their exit meeting with Carroll and cleaned out their lockers today. The midseason program begins in mid-April.

YOU DON’T SAY

“The thing I said to the guys afterward was that 25 seconds didn’t define our team. … This has been a great year for us.” – Carroll on the Falcons driving to their game-winning field goal by completing passes of 22 and 19 yards