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January 23, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Q-and-A with Seattle general manager John Schneider

Seattle general manager John Schneider held what is becoming something of a happy tradition — meeting with the local media during the bye week leading up to the Super Bowl.

Schneider hasn’t met with the media here since prior to the season. But as he did last year, he held court for a while today prior to the team’s departure for Arizona (the Seahawks leave Sunday).

Here’s a transcript of what he said:

Reflections on going to another Super Bowl: “Right after the game was pretty exciting in the locker room knowing that we were going back and had done something no one else had done in 10 years is pretty special and a true testament to everybody in the football  operations especially the players and the coaches. But in terms of thinking about it too much we’re in a weird time right now because, I think I explained this last year too, it’s a great thing we’re in the midst of preparing the game and getting the organization ready to support the football operations moving down to Phoenix but we’re also getting ready for the draft and free agency and the good thing is we’ve had our free agency meetings already, we did that earlier this year than we did last year and we’re having our draft meetings starting down there.”

On taking the entire operations down to Phoenix: “We have to do that because what we found out last year was we got a little behind. You know it’s a real bummer we had a parade and got in the way of our operation. Those couple of days are very important because you’re trying to get your staff back home to their families after their draft meetings so they have a couple of days, at least one or two days with their families before they go down to the combine for that week. Because right after that they’re going out to all the individual workouts and it gives us a couple of days to take all those questions we need answered and kind of get them organized and get ready for the combine.”

On free agency meetings being earlier this year: “We did them about a month ago which really helped.”

On why they did them earlier: “We knew that last year, it was a little bit of a different approach because last year we knew we weren’t going to be active in free agency much at all.  We usually have our free agency meetings in the first week at the end of the season heading into the playoffs and we kind of got crunched last year. I don’t think we did a very good job with it, so we wanted to be ahead this year and it really helped because we kind of had the lay of the land and we know we should have a pretty good feeling how other people would feel about our free agents as compared to the rest of the league. Trent Kirchner did a good job getting those guys all ready and getting the board lined up and it felt great to have that behind us before the playoffs even started.”

On if that means they’ll be more active in free agency this year: “No, I’m just saying we’re more prepared for what other people would think about our free agents or how we feel about other people’s free agents. Last year by the time we got to the combine it was just s whirlwind and you’re meeting with agents down there and other teams and so I just feel like we could do a better job this year. ”

On if there is a timetable for extending Russell Wilson: “We don’t have a timetable. At the appropriate time we are able to speak to his representatives and we’ll do that. We are not in a situation where we can yet.’’

On if there are situations where they may have a draftable grade on a guy but they see a guy they can maybe get as a free agent instead: “Yeah, but that happens in the seventh round so you have a feel for what teams are calling specific players so then you are going to go ahead and draft a guy. It could be in the sixth round a little bit, too, depending on how late you are in the sixth round if in those compensatory picks late in that latter bracket.’’

On wanting to keep core defensive players such as cornerback Byron Maxwell, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season: “Yeah, it is. That quite frankly is one of our first priorities is to talk to Maxie. Now I think he like a lot of our other unrestricted guys, I think he is going to be highly sought after and he should be. But we would at least like to have the opportunity to retain him.’’

Overall thoughts on the Percy Harvin trade: “Yeah, so regarding that situation we took a shot for a highly explosive player. For a number of different reasons it didn’t work out and we knew that we had to resolve that situation as quickly as we could so that we could just move forward as a football team, as an organization and it was a very hard decision, one that we didn’t make over night.’’

On how the team successfully navigated that transition:  “Quite frankly from the top down, the support of ownership really helps with that. And then I think being able to communicate too with the staff, the football staff, that’s every area of the organization, it’s not just the coaches how important a decision this is and why it’s happening. And then with Pete, much like everything else he does, he’s just so in tune with making everything such a positive and this was a great example. It’s other people’s opportunity now and I think that’s what he did a phenomenal job with.’’

On the timing of the Harvin trade:  “Not to get too specific with it, it was just—we were talking to a number of different teams. I was actually at the University of Missouri, and had been talking to John Idzik, and they played on a Thursday night, and they just got very aggressive that night.”

On if he was comfortable with how news of the Harvin trade got back to the players:  “I was. I thought everybody handled it as well as it could possibly be, especially that weekend. As far as it affecting that game, I can’t tell you if it did or not. That’s always been a very tough place for us to play. The previous year we won on a goal-line stand down there, so I think it’s always been a very tough play for us, so I’m not sure if that had an effect on that specific game, but I know that after that, we were really able to kind of get our feet back under us. The staff did a great job of just getting our team back to playing the type of football we were capable of.”

On what he remembers about the process of getting hired? “I remember the first day I was just sick to my stomach, like, ‘what did I get myself into?’ I was worried. No, I talked to Tod Leiweke that day, because I was really excited about the opportunity and working with Pete, then you go through doing all the media stuff and everything, then you sit down and you go to work. We had to cut like $52 million in salary. That’s a lot. We were still hiring some coaches, you’re away from you family—I know I was away from my family for four or five months—so it was just very overwhelming. But then being able to get with Pete and spend as much time as we did together, it was just natural after that. We just hit it off. We were able to just really learn each other, each other’s philosophies and how to communicate with each other; that whole respect level that comes into it. The best thing about was that, he’s Pete Carroll, right? I’m John Schneider, right? And his ego level was so not what you would think for a man that had that type of success. So he was very easy to communicate with and talk to and share—share our philosophies and share our vision. ”

On if he was involved in the interviewing of Carroll: “No, I was not. I had to rip about 30 pages out of my book — I had coaching candidates before I interviewed. So it went from like 30 to (page) 62 and they were like ‘What happened here. Guy can’t count.’ I’m actually like, ‘Those were were all the head coaches’ bios were. Sorry.'”

On if he ever really thought they’d have this kind of success when he was hired five years ago: “That’s a really good question. You know what, I think we don’t necessarily view it that way. It’s a daily thing. We are so focused and consumed about getting better in every area on a daily basis that it has just built like that over the years. I know you guys have heard me talk about being a consistent championship-caliber team. And with that comes really tough decisions, like, every day. Obviously, it’s what you strive for. Everybody just kind of knows that. We don’t talk about it. Yeah, of course everybody wants to be a world champion, everybody wants to win Super Bowls. But the manner in which we did it was a blast, the whole group. The culture that we are in is just awesome, just improving every single day. And that’s a lot of things that you guys are probably not necessarily able to see. It’s pretty cool. Video guys are really excited about new technology. Equipment guys are excited about … It’s just a whole organization. Everybody sees the players and the coaches, and obviously that’s the … the people over at Dino’s aren’t really fired up about what’s going on with the video department, you know what I mean? It’s just an exciting, exciting thing to see the whole building come together.”

On if there’s anything he can say about the conjecture about Marshawn Lynch’s future:  “No. I mean, he’s under contract next year. He’s a warrior. Goes out there every weekend and lays it on the line. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better running back in the National Football League.”

On if he is tired of his act: “No. I kind of love his act.”



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