RENTON, WA - Each year, the Seahawks have their players vote for the team's three player captains. It's that time of year again and the results are now in ahead of their Week 1 matchup with the Colts this Sunday.
"Really overwhelmingly, the guys chose Russell [Wilson] on offense, Bobby [Wagner] on defense and Nick Bellore on special teams," head coach Pete Carroll announced on Monday.
This is now the ninth season in a row that Wilson will wear the captain's 'C' on his uniform, only ever missing out on the honor in his rookie year in 2012. But for the very first time, it won't be the only patch stitched into the fabric of his jersey that recognizes his career accomplishments. This year, Wilson will also be donning a patch that depicts the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which he received this past February.
For Wagner, this is his fifth-consecutive season as a team captain and sixth in total. He first earned the title in 2015 amidst Kam Chancellor's contract holdout, but lost it to the legendary safety the following year. The two shared it in 2017 before Wagner became the sole defensive captain from 2018 onward.
"They've really stood for consistency at the highest level," Carroll said of Wilson and Wagner. "And not just that they make a lot of tackles, they throw a lot of touchdown passes; it's in everything they bring and do and what they represent. They're really the real deal and they're the leaders chosen for a number of years, but yet, they're the leaders chosen for a lot of great reasons too. And these guys believe in them, and they look up to them and they count on them. They count on their word and they trust the heck out of them. And we're very, very fortunate to have them."
Historically, the Seahawks have opted to nominate just three—sometimes four—captains per season, with one for every phase of the game. While Wilson and Wagner have been the mainstays on offense and defense, the mantle of special teams captain has been passed around quite a bit over the years.
Since Carroll and company took over in 2010, Seattle has had nine different special teams captains: Roy Lewis (2010), Leon Washington (2011), Michael Robinson (2011-2012), Heath Farwell (2012-2013), Stephen Hauschka (2014), Jon Ryan (2014-2017), DeShawn Shead (2016), Sebastian Janikowski (2018) and Neiko Thorpe (2018-2020).
That number has now grown to 10 with the selection of Bellore, who earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his 11-year career last season. Now in his third campaign with the Seahawks, the 32-year old fullback/linebacker combo has become a favorite among the fan base and his teammates.
"Nick Bellore has just been a fantastic guy that has stepped into this role a year ago and, you know, the guys really looked at him too," Carroll added. "So we've got real wisdom in our leadership and it's really all you could hope for."
Aside from the three captains, the Seahawks have a veteran group rich with leadership. From Duane Brown to Carlos Dunlap and Tyler Lockett, among many others, Seattle's young players aren't short of options to learn from.
The Seahawks also have one of the oldest rosters in the NFL, coming out of roster cutdowns with an average age of 26.4. There's certainly plenty of experience and football knowledge to go around and the team hopes that carries them to a championship at the end of a 22-week sprint.