GEE SCOTT

Seahawks equipment manager has a special role as comic relief

Jun 16, 2016, 9:54 AM
Seahawks athletic trainer Derin Lazuta shows the pen dropped in his mug by tight end Jimmy Graham. (Gee Scott, 710 ESPN Seattle)
(Gee Scott, 710 ESPN Seattle)

You’ve maybe never noticed him during pregame before the Seahawks take the field or standing on the sidelines. But for the past 11 years, assistant equipment manager Derin Lazuta has played an important part of keeping them loose: Through comic relief.

“When I first got here, I didn’t really know who Derin really was,” Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Gee Scott. “But as he progressed, I found out what kind of guy he is. So when I walk into the building and I see he drew Ninja Turtles on my mailbox, I just realize he has way too much time on his hands. And when we’re out there on the practice field, and he’s carrying the balls for (QB Russell Wilson), we’re going to go out of our way to make sure we knock him out.”

Lazuta’s primary job is as equipment guru – knowing the ins and outs of the team’s helmets, footballs, shoulder pads and cleats. But he has other roles, such as snapping the ball to Wilson.

Does he do a good job?

“Half the time,” Wilson responded.

Wilson and Wagner aren’t the only ones who give Lazuta a hard time. While Scott spent the day with Lazuta, tight end Jimmy Graham dropped a pen in Lazuta’s coffee mug. The repartee was part of Graham’s rehab from a gruesome knee injury.

“For me personally, he’s been a lot of stress relief through the six months of rehab, just taking out all my frustrations on him as a human being,” Graham quipped. “Him helping me feel bigger and better in life just to make a grown man feel like my small child has really been a help.”

Lazuta says the relationship he has forged with the players is more like family than anything else.

“I could honestly wake up every morning and say with all the joking and stuff like that, it’s a different environment here,” he said. “These guys have a very important job, and our job is to make sure they focus on football, but really it’s a big family here. And I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere else, but it’s almost like a big brotherhood.”

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