Seahawks’ Lofa Tatupu talks about ‘whirlwind’ first season of coaching
Lofa Tatupu has more Pro Bowls to his name than all three current starting Seahawks linebackers combined, but the Seattle linebackers coach told “Danny, Dave and Moore” Tuesday he’s not sure he could have competed with their talent during his prime.
“They are phenomenal athletes, better than I was when I was playing,” he said. “If anything, I learn stuff from them.”
In his first year as an assistant coach, the former Seahawks great called the experience “amazing” and a “whirlwind.” Here are some highlights of the conversation.
On how fast the season has gone: “I remember just being brought on and meeting all these guys at the combine. It feels like it was just a couple months ago. But it’s been awesome. The ebbs and flows of the year, going through that couple tough games early on but then finding ourselves and rallying from then on. So it’s been a great experience.”
On whether he ever jokes with Bobby Wagner about being the better middle linebacker: “No, because I don’t know if that’s accurate… We will joke back and forth. Like when I see him tip a ball I say, ‘Hey I might have picked that.’ And then he’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t know if you’d have got there in time.’ So, some shots here and there, but we keep it friendly.”
Why he decided to pursue coaching: “I’d just been watching football, and I’m talking even like going down the street watching high school games, because other than that I was just spending time with the family, trying to figure out what the next step for me was. I just thought about it over a couple days and decided it was what I wanted to do.”
On injuries forcing him to retire: “Anybody’s who’s ever put on those pads, you all know there’s gonna be a day inevitably when you’re not going to play anymore and I don’t think anybody who’s ever played, no matter how you go out, even if you go out with that Super Bowl Ring. I’m sure if you talked to Ray Lewis, even though he won his last game, which very few get to do, he would still love to go out there and play. You never know when your time is up, and that’s why you try to make the most of every situation, every game you’ve had.”
On how Pete Carroll has changed over the years: “I think he’s changed some. His philosophy is never gonna waver, never gonna change. That’s who he is and that’s what guys respect about him and love playing for him. He’s energetic, full of life and going out and seizing the moment is what he’s all about and what he’s transferred into this team from the day he got here. From that aspect, no he’s not changed. But yes, as far as some little things where the game’s changed and you don’t have to go through all those padded practices, he’s been kind of cutting edge or the next level taking some of that wear and tear off guys and having specialists come in here, and not just with nutrition but also with Chris Carlisle and all of them in the weight room — just every way you can find an advantage as far as helping these players out, he’s done.”
People still wear his No. 51 jerseys: “That is a bit of a trip, seeing the old 5-1 out there. But I know my man Bruce is holding it down well, so it’s in good hands.”