On a day for remembrance, the Seattle Seahawks honored their past and an Aberdeen High School football coach and teacher got to be a part of it on Sunday afternoon.
AHS assistant football coach Terry Dion is a former member of the Seahawks and he was one of many former players who honored the franchise’s first head coach, Jack Patera, during a halftime ceremony at Sunday’s Seahawks-Miami Dolphins game at CenturyLink Field.
Patera was the franchise’s first head coach from 1976-82 and he raised the team’s 12th Man Flag before the game. Dion, who played as a defensive end out of Oregon for the Seahawks in 1980, enjoyed the experience tremendously.
“It was quite an experience in every way,” said Dion, who is a Social Studies teacher at AHS and was the Bobcats head football coach from 2012-13. “They rounded up as many guys as they could to come help celebrate Jack while he was still around. It was a wonderful experience. We all stayed at the Bellevue Hilton. We ate together.
“On Saturday, we toured the (Seahawks) facility,” Dion added. “My wife, Jan, and I got a nice picture with Richard Sherman and Pete Carroll.”
Dion noted that he’s been to the Seahawks headquarters/training facility in Renton before and said the difference between the facilities now and when he played was stark. “Compared to when I played, the facilities are 100 times better; they really take care of the players,” he said.
The halftime ceremony brought together players from all of Patera’s teams, along with coaches, trainers and other staff during Patera’s time with the Seahawks. Dion added that the players also honored Sandy Gregory, who was an original employee with the Seahawks and was close to the players.
The ceremony was organized by the Seahawks and the NFL Legends group, which helps take care of NFL alumni away from the playing fields.
“A lot of the focus on getting the alumni together is to make them aware of and signed up for assistance, if they are struggling health-wise,” Dion said. “There is a whole program for getting assistance for joint replacement surgeries and other help, plus questionnaires if you have cognitive thinking issues.
“It was a different way to relate to the guys, because we were all so ultra-competitive when we were in our 20s,” Dion said. “To see us in our 50s and 60s, you get a different perspective. It was one of the most positive experiences I’ve had with those guys.”
Ndamukong Suh, the Miami Dolphins’ controversial defensive lineman, doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to on-field conduct and intentionally hurting opponents. However, he will get one on Sunday after his sack — and accidental step onto the right ankle — of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson hurt the quarterback and set back the team’s offense at the same time. Suh just happened to catch Wilson, who was limited in his mobility after the injury. Wilson and the offense lacked zip and power until the final Seattle drive of the game. Short passes and quick routes were the antidote for Wilson, who converted his final five passes of the game against a tired Dolphins defense for the game-winning score, a 2-yard fade pass to Doug Baldwin with 35 seconds remaining. Wilson’s ankle will be a talking point for the next few weeks. … There was one thing Seattle and Miami had in common in this season opener — the below-average offensive lines tasked to protect their quarterbacks and run the offense. Both Wilson and Ryan Tannehill ran for their lives on countless snaps, testament to the pressure of the opposition’s defenses and their team’s woeful offensive lines. The teams combined for eight sacks, five of them by Seattle on Tannehill, including the final, frantic play as time expired by Cliff Avril. The Seattle rushing game took a very big hit in its first game without Marshawn Lynch. The team averaged 3.5 yards per carry, a far cry from Lynch’s 4.23 yards per carry average he had with the Seahawks. … Also speaking of the offensive line, Seattle’s lone fumble came when guard Mark Glowinski stepped on Wilson’s injured right ankle. This forced Wilson to mishandle a pitch to Thomas Rawls and Miami recovered. The Dolphins had a chance to tie the game at 6-6 on their next drive, but … Play of the Game: Cassius Marsh came up with what should be technically the game-saving play when he bulldozed through Miami’s field-goal offensive line and blocked Andrew Franks’ 27-yard field goal with 10:45 left in the contest. Miami would take the lead on its next drive with its lone touchdown try, but the blocked punt helped keep Seattle in striking distance with 4-plus minutes left in the game.
Rob Burns: (360) 537-3926; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @RobRVR