The Seahawks have lost a member of their original football family.
Dick Mansperger, the team’s first director of player personnel, died on May 12 after a long battle with cancer. He was 80.
Mansperger was one of the first employees hired by the expansion franchise that began playing in 1976. He joined the Seahawks after serving as director of player personnel for the Cowboys since 1972, and had been a scout in Dallas for six seasons prior to that. Mansperger left the Seahawks after the 1983 season and returned to the Cowboys.
One of Mansperger’s best moves started with a favor to an old friend. It was through that relationship with former Milton College coach Rudi Gaddini that Dave Krieg got a tryout with the team in 1980. When backup QB Steve Myer sustained a career-ending injury during the then-annual intra-squad scrimmage at training camp, Sam Adkins became the backup to Jim Zorn and the rookie from Milton made the team.
“If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be working for the Weyerhaeuser paper mill back home (in Wisconsin). Or Roto-Rooter maybe,” Krieg said in 1985.
By then, Krieg was the starter. He would play through the 1991 season with the Seahawks and leave after 12 seasons as the franchise leader in completions (2,096) and passing yards (26,132), marks that were surpassed by Matt Hasselbeck (2,559 and 29,434); as well as touchdown passes (195) and victories (70), which remain the club records.
After leaving the Seahawks, Krieg played seven more seasons with the Chiefs (1992-93), Lions (1994), Cardinals (1995), Bears (1996) and Titans (1997-98).
None of it would have happened without an assistant from Mansperger.
He is survived by two brothers, James and Larry; and a sister, Linda Shoppe. Mansperger will be cremated and there will be a Celebration of Life in Phoenix, but the date has yet to be determined.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 18:
1997: Rick Mirer, the second pick overall in the 1993 NFL Draft, is traded to the Bears for a first-round draft choice that the club uses to trade up to the third spot in the ’97 Draft to select Shawn Springs. Mirer was 20-31 as a starter for the Seahawks, but his victory total ranks fourth in franchise history behind Dave Krieg (70), Matt Hasselbeck (69) and Jim Zorn (40).
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 4:
1990: Dave Krieg completes 15 of 23 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 27-21. Jerry Gray, a cornerback for the Rams who would go on to coach the Seahawks’ defensive backs in 2010, is named MVP after returning an interception 51 yards for a TD and also registering seven tackles. Rufus Porter (two tackles) and Brian Blades (one reception) also represent the Seahawks in the game.
1996: Chris Warren leads the NFC with 43 rushing yards, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 20-13.
1998: Jim Johnson is named linebackers coach on Dennis Erickson’s staff. Johnson remains for only one season before becoming the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, but his impact on the Seahawks’ defense is apparent even after he leaves.
2010: First-year coach Pete Carroll announces his staff: Jeremy Bates (offensive coordinator), Gus Bradley (defensive coordinator), Brian Schneider (special teams coordinator), Kippy Brown (wide receivers), Luke Butkus (quality control/offensive line), Dave Canales (quality control/offense), Chris Carlisle (head strength and conditioning), Jedd Fisch (quarterbacks), Mondray Gee (assistant strength and conditioning), Alex Gibbs (offensive line), Jerry Gray (defensive backs), Kris Richard (assistant defensive backs), Rocky Seto (quality control/defense), Sherman Smith (running backs), Jeff Ulbrich (assistant special teams), Art Valero (assistant offensive line) and Jamie Yancher (assistant strength and conditioning).
2012: Cortez Kennedy, in his seventh year of eligibility and fourth year as a finalist, is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the NFL Team of the Decade for the 1990s as a defensive tackle, Kennedy joins Steve Largent as the only career-long Seahawks player in the Hall.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 29:
1979: Steve Largent, the Seahawks’ first representative to the Pro Bowl, ties a then-record by catching five passes but the NFC wins the game 13-7 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
1984: Chuck Knox coaches the AFC Pro Bowl team after the Seahawks lose the AFC Championship Game to the Raiders, and has Kenny Easley and Curt Warner on the squad. But the NFC wins 45-3. Rams safety Nolan Cromwell, who would later coach the Seahawks wide receivers, returns an interception 44 yards for a touchdown.
1989: Dave Krieg is 3 of 14 for 21 yards and the AFC manages only a field goal in a 34-3 loss in the Pro Bowl. Rufus Porter also was on the AFC squad.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 27:
1985: Fredd Young blocks a punt to set up a touchdown, Norm Johnson kicks two field goals and Kenny Easley has a game-high 10 tackles as the AFC wins the Pro Bowl 22-14. The Seahawks’ largest Pro Bowl contingent in franchise history also includes Steve Largent, Dave Krieg, Joe Nash and Dave Brown.
Friday in Hawkville: Larry Fitzgerald says it’s ‘surprising’ that Richard Sherman was not voted to the Pro Bowl
KO OLINA, Oahu – Hawkville has moved to Hawaii this week, as six Seahawks are preparing to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Today, we visited the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa as the NFC and AFC squads stayed “home” to practice:
Richard Sherman. What? The Seahawks’ cornerback isn’t even here. But then, that’s the point.
After intercepting a career-high eight passes during the regular season to tie for second in the NFL, Sherman was voted All-Pro, but not to the Pro Bowl – where the Bears’ duo of Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are the starters for the NFC and the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson is the third corner.
So we felt compelled to ask, “What’s up with that?”
“He had a phenomenal year. He really had a breakout year,” Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said today after the NFC’s 15-minute on-field session. “So it is surprising that he’s not here. But I know he’ll have many more moving forward.”
Fitzgerald has gotten to know Sherman quite well the past three times the NFC West rivals have met. In the 2011 season finale in Arizona, Sherman and fellow Seahawks corner Brandon Browner were so physical with Fitzgerald that he was coughing up blood on the sideline. This season, Fitzgerald caught four passes for 63 yards in the opener in the desert, with Sherman intercepting one pass and breaking up another. During the December rematch in Seattle, Sherman intercepted two passes, broke up a third and also recovered a fumble, while Fitzgerald caught one pass for 2 yards – despite being targeted 11 times.
“Hopefully, I won’t contribute to his stats as much in the future,” Fitzgerald said with a laugh.
Kick returner Leon Washington, one of the six Seahawks who are on the NFC squad, can relate to Sherman’s Pro Bowl snub.
“My first year in Seattle, I scored three touchdowns and didn’t go,” said Washington, referring to his trio of kickoff returns for scores in 2010. “It’s so weird. It works like that sometimes. But Richard is All-Pro. And that’s big. That’s almost bigger than the Pro Bowl.
“He’ll be here next year.”
MATT THOMAS HIRED TO REPLACE JOHN IDZIK
The Seahawks didn’t wait long to re-hire Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator after Gus Bradley was named head coach of the Jaguars last week. They followed the same path after John Idzik left to become general manager of the Jets later in the week, as Matt Thomas was named today as the team’s new vice president of football administration.
“Matt is a well-respected salary cap expert and was recommended by many top-ranking NFL executives,” general manager John Schneider said. “I am excited to welcome him to our football family.”
Thomas joins the Seahawks after spending the past three seasons with the Browns in the same capacity as their salary-cap expert and chief contract negotiator. He began his NFL career in 1998 with the Dolphins and spent 12 seasons with the club, including being the vice president/general counsel & football administration in 2009.
A LITTLE ASSISTANTS, PLEASE
The NFC squad is being coached by Mike McCarthy and his Packers’ staff, which includes assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss. He played linebacker for the Seahawks from 1995-97 and finished second on the team with 106 tackles in 1996.
Greg Knapp, the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator in 2009, is a member of John Fox’s staff with the Broncos that is coaching the AFC squad. Knapp just joined the Broncos after spending the season as offensive coordinator of the Raiders.
AN EVEN DOZEN FOR CHAMP
Speaking of the Broncos, cornerback Champ Baily is taking part in his 12th Pro Bowl. But he definitely is not taking a ho-hum, just-another-week-in-Hawaii approach.
“I had a veteran tell me a long time ago, if you are willing to stop coming, you stop coming,” Bailey said. “Any time I’m invited to do something this special, I’m coming. Unless I’m really hurt, that’s the only way I would miss this game.”
STAT DU JOUR
Russell Wilson will become the fourth Seahawks quarterback to play in the Pro Bowl, as the rookie joins Dave Krieg, Warren Moon and Matt Hasselbeck. Here’s a look at how those other QBs have done in their Pro Bowl appearances:
Player, (season) Att. Comp. Yds. TD Int.
Dave Krieg (1984) 10 4 32 0 0
Dave Krieg (1988) 14 3 21 0 1
Dave Krieg (1989) 23 15 148 0 0
Warren Moon (1997) 8 4 89 0 0
Matt Hasselbeck (2003) 9 4 51 0 1
Matt Hasselbeck (2005) 17 10 85 0 1
Matt Hasselbeck (2007) 9 7 78 1 0
Both Pro Bowl squads will hold their final practice on Saturday morning at Aloha Stadium.
After practice today, Wilson took part in a roundtable with Broncos QB Peyton Manning, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher and Packers center Jeff Saturday that will air Sunday as part of NBC’s coverage of the game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s extremely unlike me. You know me, man. Me and media, we never mix. But this is a great opportunity.” – left tackle Russell Okung on the media attention that comes with being at his first Pro Bowl
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 14:
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.”
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.
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.”
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
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
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 8:
1984: The Seahawks take the field at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum for the AFC Championship Game against the Raiders to the Pointer Sisters singing the national anthem and a crowd of 88,734 shaking silver-and-black Mylar pom-poms. But this one is over before it’s over, as Dave Krieg (three) and Jim Zorn (two) combine to throw five interceptions and Marcus Allen carries 25 times for 154 yards and also catches seven passes for 62 yards in the Raiders’ 30-14 victory.
1992: Larry Kennan is named offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach on the staff of Tom Flores, who replaces Chuck Knox as head coach. Kennan had been selected coach of the year in the World League of American Football after guiding the London Monarchs to the league title and an 11-1 record.
1999: Mike Holmgren is named executive vice president of football operations/general manager and head coach. Holmgren, who had guided the Packers to two Super Bowls, replaces Dennis Erickson. The Seahawks give up a second-round draft choice to the Packers as compensation for signing Holmgren.
2005: Matt Hasselbeck’s pass on fourth-and-four from the 5-yard line with 27 seconds to play goes off the hands of Bobby Engram in the end zone and the Rams escape with a 27-20 victory in a wild-card playoff game in Seattle. Hasselbeck passes for 341 yards, joining Dan Fouts and the Rams’ Marc Bulger as the only quarterbacks to pass for 300-plus yards in his first two playoff games. Darrell Jackson catches 12 passes for 128 yards and a TD as the Seahawks roll up 413 yards.
2010: Jim Mora is relieved of his duties as head coach after just one season, and a 5-11 record.
2011: The Seahawks stun the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints 41-36 in a very-wild Wild Card playoff game in Seattle, as Matt Hasselbeck passes for four touchdowns and Marshawn Lynch ices the victory with an electrifying 67-yard touchdown with 3½ remaining as he breaks eight tackles, tosses Tracy Porter five-yards with a stiff-arm, and the celebration of his effort triggers seismic activity near the stadium.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 3:
1976: Jack Patera, who had been the defensive line coach for the Vikings, is named the first head coach in franchise history. Patera would guide the Seahawks to their first winning season (9-7 in 1978) and finish with a 35-59 record before being fired during the players’ strike in 1982.
1983: Mike McCormack is named president/general manager. The Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Browns had been the Seahawks’ director of football operations since March of 1982, and also stepped in as interim coach during that strike-shortened season after Jack Patera was fired.
1988: Tony Zendejas kicks a 42-yard field goal eight minutes into overtime to give the Oilers a 23-20 victory over the Seahawks in a wild-card playoff game at the Astrodome. Steve Largent catches a 12-yard TD pass from Dave Krieg with 26 seconds left in regulation to tie the score. Largent has seven catches for 132 yards and two TDs. The drive to Zendejas’ game-winner includes a tip of a Warren Moon pass by Jeff Bryant that players involved in the game still say was intercepted, but the officials do not agree.
2009: The Titans’ Chris Johnson runs for 132 yards to eclipse the 2,000-yard rushing barrier for the season and also scores on a 1-yard run late in the fourth quarter as Tennessee defeats the Seahawks 17-13 in their season finale in Seattle.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 2:
1983: Dave Krieg passes to Roger Carr for a 19-yard touchdown with 47 seconds to play, as the Seahawks conclude the strike-shortened 1982 season with a 13-11 victory over the Broncos at Mile High Stadium. Krieg’s game-winning TD pass caps a 10-play, 87-yard drive. Kenny Easley leads the defensive effort with seven solo tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery, while linebackers Shelton Robinson and Bruce Scholtz combine for 27 tackles.
1994: The Seahawks close their 1993 season by rallying from a 24-3 deficit but fall to the Chiefs 34-24 at Arrowhead Stadium. John L. Williams rushes for 102 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown. Rick Mirer becomes the first rookie QB to start all his team’s games since 1973 and sets then-rookie records for attempts (486), completions (274) and passing yards (2,833).
2000: The Seahawks wrap up the AFC West title, despite losing 19-9 in their 1999 regular-season finale to the Jets in the Meadowlands, because the Raiders also beat the Chiefs. The Seahawks finish 9-7 after starting 8-2, but it’s still their best record since 1990. Also, Cortez Kennedy is voted to his then-club record eighth Pro Bowl.
2002: Walter Jones and John Randle are named to the Pro Bowl.
2004: The Seahawks clinch the NFC West title for the first time in their 2004 regular-season finale as they stop a two-point PAT attempt on the final play of a 28-26 victory over the Falcons in Seattle. Matt Hasselbeck passes for two touchdowns and runs for a third, which gives the Seahawks a 28-20 lead with 4½ minutes to play. Matt Schaub throws a TD pass on the final play, but Warrick Dunn’s run for the tying PAT is stopped.
2011: The Seahawks capture the 2010 NFC West title with a 16-6 victory over the Rams in the regular-season finale in Seattle on Sunday night. Charlie Whitehurst starts for an injured Matt Hasselbeck and passes to Mike Williams for the Seahawks’ only touchdown, as Olindo Mare kicks three field goals. Raheem Brock leads the defensive effort with 2.5 sacks.