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January 11, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Planes, trains and John Schneider’s rental automobile

Seahawks architect John Schneider happy to stay in the background
By Danny O’Neil | The Seattle Times

It was before 5 a.m. on Oct. 19, the day after the World Series concluded in Detroit, and I was waiting for the valet to bring around a car I had never seen before.

One of the Seahawks staff had asked if I would return a rental car for the team in the morning. This happens occasionally. The team flies out on a charter after the game, and there are times that someone has a rental car he didn’t have time to return. I don’t fly out until the morning after a game, and returning a car saves me a cab ride to the airport.

But now the SUV had been brought around, and I was pretty sure it was the wrong car. There were football parking passes on the floor in front of the passenger seat. And energy-drink cans. And empty bags from Jimmy John’s, Starbucks and Oh Boy! Oberto. Throw in the Ohio license plates, and this didn’t look like a car someone rented for the weekend, but something that had been driven hard through an entire football season.

I went so far as asking the valet to double check this was the right car, and when he said it was, I went to the glove box half-expecting to find registration stating that this car belonged to Joey Bag O’Donuts from Cleveland who had driven to Detroit for the weekend.

But it was a rental car, one I returned as requested, but when the check-out clerk in the lot addressed me as “Mr. Schneider” I instantly understood. This was a car Seattle’s general manager had driven on a mad-dash scouting trek, and the receipt showed that it had been rented a week earlier in from O’Hare Airport in Chicago and driven more than 1,200 miles before meeting the team in Detroit.

I share this story not to discuss John Schneider’s travel habits, and certainly not his choice of food stops After all, just this week I was responsible for the world’s saddest expense-account receipt. (From McDonald’s. At 12:30 a.m. Dinner for three after Seattle’s playoff victory.)

I share this story to confirm something one of Schneider’s friends in this business said about him: If you didn’t know, you’d have no idea how important his job is or how much money he made. He’s that down to earth. The kind of guy who’ll laugh at your jokes at the bar not because he’s being polite, but he genuinely finds them funny.

That scouting trip in October gives you a pretty good idea of that. Not because he was eating Jimmy Johns, but because here was the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks – the man in charge of the roster belonging to the NFL’s richest owner – staying up until 1 a.m., writing reports, and getting up at 6 the next day to cut a swath through the middle of the country in search of the next wave of talent to infuse to this team.

| Topics: john schneider, paul allen, seahawks


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