Pep Talk: Never Be Satisfied

When Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu was a child he was a sponge for learning new skills and talents. Now in his fifth season in the NFL he still follows advice given by his mother 20 years ago in Selma, Alabama.

“My mother was a single parent,” Ben told me as we talked in front of his locker at Seahawks headquarters this week. “She gave us the opportunity to learn whatever we wanted to learn and her advice was, ‘never be satisfied.’

“I took piano lessons, violin lessons, played the drums in the chorus at church, played baseball, basketball, football and swimming lessons. I also took jazz and tap and even did gymnastics.”

With all of those activities the advice was the same, “never be satisfied.”

After an outstanding career at Auburn, Obomanu was chosen by the Seahawks in the seventh-round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played in 12 games in 2007, sat out the 2008 season with a broken clavicle then bounced back in 2009, playing in 14 games mostly on special teams.

During training camp in 2010, Obomanu joined a bevy of receivers under new coach Pete Carroll, came through stiff competition and made the 53 man roster. So far this season Ben has three catches for 36 yards and one touchdown. He also sees a lot of action on special teams.

Through all of this Ben never forgets his mom’s advice. He can’t, she reminds him every time he goes home to Alabama.

“She still talks about it today even though I’m an NFL player and people think you’ve made it, you’ve arrived,” said Obomanu. “When I go home she always tells me, ‘now don’t be satisfied just the way you are.’”

Ben points out that it doesn’t mean one shouldn’t celebrate or appreciate their success it just means don’t get complacent or as he puts it, “always have that drive because once you lose that drive, things start going downhill.”

Great advice from Ben Obomanu and his mom.

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Pep Talk – Letter to Leon

Seahawks running back Leon Washington is a favorite among fans and teammates for a number of reasons. I like him because he always has a smile on his face and a positive attitude.

His teammates like him for the same reasons but also because he brings so much talent and energy onto the field with him.

Leon got national recognition when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns against the Chargers on September 26th.

The next day I sat next to him at his locker and asked him if there is one person in his past who taught him something that explains his work ethic and attitude today.

“Whenever I do anything I always want to do my best no matter what I’m doing whether it’s writing a paper in college or working out, or at practice or performing in a game.”

“ I got a letter from Barry Sanders on behalf of Oklahoma State when I was being recruited in high school. Sanders used a quote that I’ll never forget. “To be a winner in life you must do the things that losers don’t like to do.”

Obviously Sanders used that advice himself long before he knew of Leon Washington. Barry Sanders rushed for 1000 yards ten straight seasons in the NFL. In 1997 he rushed for a 100 yards a game for 14 consecutive games. Sanders was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Named “Mr. Football” in Florida after his senior year at Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, Leon chose Florida State University over Oklahoma State but he still uses Sanders quote as a guide to his daily approach to football and life.

“I use that towards everything, if I want to be the best returner in the league I need to work hard in practice and run 100% all the way in practice, if I want to be the best husband to my wife I need to make the sacrifices necessary to do that. I use that quote for everything every day.”

Great advice from an NFL veteran that we can all use day-in and day-out.

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Pep Talk: The Light Clicked On

Seahawks special teams captain Roy Lewis always brings a level of energy and confidence to practice and game day, but there was something else missing and it took until his rookie year in the NFL before he discovered it.

Out of Narbonne High School in Los Angeles, Lewis originally enrolled at San Jose State but transferred to Washington and starred as a defensive back there, starting all 13 games as a senior.

Lewis signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent on April 28, 2008 and shortly after that he discovered “his foundation.”

Everybody needs something they can turn to when life presents a challenge. For Roy Lewis it happened in his rookie year in Pittsburgh.

“I’m not super, super, religious but I am a Christian, I believe in God, there’s this one Bible verse that’s been dear to me ever since I was a rookie.

It helped me get through rookie camp, and make the team, when I was back in Pittsburgh,  I’ll never forget it, it’s Philippians, Chapter 3, verses 12-16, it’s talking about pressing toward the heavenly goal.” Read more »

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