One of the more aggravating things about being a Seahawks fan is listening to ignorant casual NFL observers call them drug addicts, cheaters and thugs. Pete Carroll and the Reggie Bush controversy at USC, PEDs, Richard Sherman’s rant, blah blah blah and so on. People who follow the team closely understand that this perception is entirely bogus. The Seattle Seahawks organization is one of the classiest in professional sports.
Don’t believe me? This next story should make you think twice before you level that tired CHEATHAWKS accusation on Twitter.
With the 199th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft the Seahawks selected Garrett Scott, an offensive tackle who played college ball at Marshall. While the team doctors were evaluating his health, they discovered a rare heart issue that makes playing professional football a serious liability. It had to be devastating news for Scott so soon after realizing his dream of joining an NFL team. General Manager John Schneider had to cut him from the roster, but first he made a move that speaks volumes about this franchise’s character.
Schneider gave Scott a boost by allowing him to sign before waiving him. If Scott clears waivers he’ll join the team’s IR list and receive the full worth of his contract for 2014: upwards of $300,000. He’ll also get a signing bonus which is estimated to be around $100,000. Over the weekend Schneider told Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Wilkening that they like Scott and hope to continue helping him:
“We think highly of Garrett as a person and as a football player… The team is committed to supporting Garrett in the months to come and will continue to help him determine his next steps.”
In case you haven’t had the misfortune to get sick recently, allow me to clue you in on a terrible secret. Medical bills in this country are obscenely expensive. For people with chronic conditions or potentially serious illnesses the cost of care can force many into bankruptcy. $400,000 is not a lot of money for a professional athlete, but for an average person it’s a windfall that could mean the difference between life and death.
The Seahawks didn’t have to give Scott that money. Until his heart condition can be repaired they’re not going to get any value out of him on the field. Scott won’t line up for OTAs which begin today. He won’t be on the roster for the September 4th opener. He won’t be able to compete for the team at all but they paid him anyway.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that not many NFL teams would be willing to make that same decision. Seattle needs to scrap and save every penny they possibly can in order to give quarterback Russell Wilson a long-term extension next year, and they have had to make some hard choices in letting veterans and fan favorites walk this offseason. They had every reason to waive Scott, pat him on the back and say aw schucks that’s too bad, here’s a bus card. That John Schneider will allow Scott to earn NFL money is a bold humanitarian move in a violent, often brutal business.
Fan polls consistently show that outside of the west coast, most NFL fans hate this team and that’s a damn shame.
I hope that Scott is able to get healthy again and one day take the field for the Seahawks. For now, he’ll just have to serve as a living, breathing reminder that this team has earned the right to be a fan favorite across the country.