JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: How I connected with Chuck Knox while covering the Seahawks

May 14, 2018, 1:44 PM
Chuck Knox and John Clayton both found themselves at Seahawks headquarters in the 1980s after growing up in Western Pennsylvania. (AP)
(AP)

The passing of Chuck Knox over the weekend created so many opportunities for players, coaches and reporters to discuss what Knox meant to the Seahawks franchise and the fans.

Knox was a winner. He had a strong presence and knew how to make a franchise successful. He did it with the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills and the Seahawks. His style was no-nonsense, but it worked.

I moved to the Seattle area in 1986 to cover the Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. One of the attractions was covering Chuck Knox’s teams. What helped was we talked the same language – we both grew up in Western Pennsylvania, Chuck coming from Sewickley while I grew up in Braddock.

Dave Wyman on his former coach Chuck Knox: He ‘helped me grow up’

These were tough towns, but growing up where we grew up, we all learned you needed to work hard to be successful. Knox worked hard. He brought the Ground Chuck approach to football. He wanted a hard-running team that was accompanied by a good defense.

The formula was successful.

I always loved the beginning of training camp. Knox would take his cap and turn it backward so he could get with the offensive linemen and bang a few heads. He joked to employees that he got a few headaches as a result.

No doubt, his head-on approach got the attention of his blockers. “Ground Chuck” needed offensive linemen to be at their best.

One of the advantages of covering the Seahawks back then was the location of the press room. It was the first office as you entered the headquarters at Northwest College in Kirkland. I had the seat that had a great view of the parking lot.

That was important because I would wait each day until Knox walked to his car. When he would leave the building, I would follow him and try to fire out a few questions to keep up on the news of the team. Knox was great at dealing with the media and would stop and give the appropriate answers.

I still remember chasing him to his car the day the Seahawks drafted Dan McGwire. The Seahawks wanted to pick a quarterback in the first round and had three choices: McGwire, Browning Nagle or Brett Favre. Management went to owner Ken Behring and asked him to break a tie among the decision-makers. Behring favored McGwire, figuring at 6 foot 8 the team would be getting more for their investment in McGwire.

I went to Chuck and asked him what he thought. He told me he wanted the quarterback from Mississippi: Favre. Had the Seahawks drafted Favre, Knox might have made the elusive Super Bowl he tried for every year.

One funny anecdote involving Chuck was when I drove to Sewickley to see where he was raised. He talked about his humble beginning, and you could see he indeed was raised humbly. What surprised me, though, was what was directly across the street from his childhood home – a Mercedes repair shop.

Clearly, that shop wasn’t there while Chuck was young, but it gave me something that I could come back to Seattle with and get a few laughs from him.

Chuck, we miss you.

More from 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton

The John Clayton Memorial Fund

Benefitting the Multiple Sclerosis Society

The Professor's Notes

John Clayton hosted a daily video breaking down the NFL

John Clayton

John Clayton Memorial Fund...
No Author

John Clayton Memorial Fund benefiting the Multiple Sclerosis Society

Seattle Sports and Bonneville International are honored to announce the “John Clayton Memorial Fund.” The John Clayton Memorial Fund will benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
11 months ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf...
John Clayton

Clayton: What’s next for Seahawks after kicking off ‘major’ rebuild

After some major moves, John Clayton breaks down what the next things to watch for with the Seahawks are heading into the new league year.
11 months ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson...
John Clayton

Clayton: Won’t be easy for Seahawks to replace Wilson after surprising trade

After a surprising trade he never thought would happen, John Clayton shares his immediate reaction to the Seahawks' trade of Russell Wilson.
11 months ago
Seahawks Action Green...
John Clayton

Clayton: Why you shouldn’t worry about salary cap with Seahawks this offseason

Seahawks fans and followers are worried about how they can re-sign players and stay under the salary cap. John Clayton says they shouldn't be.
11 months ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll...
John Clayton

Clayton: The big news from Seahawks, NFC West as combine begins

Wednesday was a big news day for the Seahawks and the NFC West. John Clayton breaks down what's going on in Seattle's division.
11 months ago
Seahawks Rashaad Penny Russell Wilson Chris Carson...
John Clayton

Clayton: How RBs in NFL Draft should help Seahawks this offseason

The Seahawks should be looking to bring Rashaad Penny back, but a loaded class of running backs is likely to help them in a few ways.
11 months ago
Clayton: How I connected with Chuck Knox while covering the Seahawks