Especially in this year's rapid-fire transaction schedule, it's all too easy to treat the names as numbers and forget that when players are moving from city to city — sometimes against their preferences — there's a family continuity that's broken. Now, we're not expecting anyone to "feel sorry" for guys earning millions of dollars, especially in this economy, but there are sides to these trades and free agency signings that don't always see the light of day.
Take the Seattle Seahawks' decision to move on from former franchise quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Acquired in trade form the Green Bay Packers before the 2001 season, Hasselbeck took the tutelage of Mike Holmgren and Trent Dilfer seriously enough to make himself into a playoff quarterback in 2003, and a Super Bowl quarterback a few years later. Age, injuries, and bad front office decision-making limited Hasselbeck's ability to keep that standard up over the last few seasons, but he had become the face of the franchise and the unquestioned leader of the team. His last act as the team's quarterback was to lead the lockout-forced player workouts at the University of Washington despite the fact that he wasn't under contract at the time.
Hasselbeck also connected with the community — so much, in fact, that when Seahawks general manager John Schneider's young son discovered that he and head coach Pete Carroll had decided to let Hasselbeck take a better offer from the Tennessee Titans, the move was not met with a positive reaction. At all.
"My little guy was crying the other day because he's got a Matt Hasselbeck jersey," Schneider told the media Friday night. "He ran in the room and punched me [when he heard the news] and ran out of the room crying, so I get it, I get it."
And Schneider thought facing the media was tough.
From Hasselbeck's point of view, his new three-year, $21 million contract with the Titans didn't mean much to his daughters, who are now dealing with their own side of the change of scenery.
"You don't realize everything that goes into it," Hasselbeck told KING5 TV's Paul Silvi. "Call the school back in Seattle, tell them we're not coming back. The girls are upset that they're not going to be on their soccer team that they like to play with in Seattle, and all that kind of stuff. There's some transition … it wasn't our first choice, but it will be okay — it will be a learning experience for the kids."
Well, at least Hasselbeck's kids didn't punch him, which puts him one-up on his former GM.