Playing the wing

Jason Cole
Yahoo! Sports

Each Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports will talk to one of the NFL's top players to get a glimpse into what they like to do on their one off day during the week. This week we spoke with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who is coming off a five-touchdown performance against the Giants that helped the team improve to 3-0.

Cole: At this point, what are you thinking about more: The five touchdowns you threw or the three interceptions, including the two that kind of made it ugly in the fourth quarter?

Hasselbeck: I'm looking at the three (interceptions) and I'm thinking about the seven (touchdown passes) I could have had. People come up to you and say, 'Wow, five touchdowns passes, that's great.'

It just kind of pisses me off because in my head, the three interceptions are just embarrassing. The first, I didn't think it should have been intercepted. The second one was the worst throw and the worst decision of my life. The last one was tipped, so I don't know what I could really do about that. But they still make me angry and that's what's in my head.

Cole: You're 31 now (Hasselbeck's birthday was Monday) and you've been a starter for five years. Do you use Tuesday to decompress and get away from football or are you working even on the off day?

Hasselbeck: Unfortunately, I'm in there preparing. It's funny, another player's wife was talking to my wife the other day and said, "Isn't it nice to have your husband home on Tuesday?" My wife said: "What are you talking about? He's in there right now."

Tuesday is a prep day for me. I try to watch four games on the next opponent. I didn't get to four today because I got behind and had some other stuff to do, like treatment. But I try to get a read on what the other team has done recently so that when we get the game plan on Wednesday morning, you have a real understanding of what the coaches are planning.

Cole: Do you self-scout the opponent?

Hasselbeck: I take about a half a page of notes, maybe a friendly reminder about something or some questions. I'll talk to my quarterback coach, Jim Zorn, about it. If there's something the other team has maybe done once in the past four games and we haven't covered it, I'll ask: 'How do you want to handle this if it comes up?'

Normally, the questions I have get answered in the course of preparing for the game, but if they don't, I'll remember to ask.

Cole: Do you get anytime to yourself?

Hasselbeck: I'm up early Tuesday because I've got a radio show that I do. But then we have breakfast. My kids have to be at school by 9 a.m. PT and I have to be at the facility by then, so we have the morning together. Then, my 4-year-old and 3-year-old have swimming lessons on Tuesday. My 16-month-old was out there today, too. He doesn't have any fear of the water, so we're trying to teach him a little of that. What the instructor said is that you dunk them. You have them sit on the edge, you reach out and count 1, 2 and let them jump in and go under the water. Obviously, you're right there, so they're going to be OK, but they get the sensation of going under and they get a little stunned by it. I don't know, that's what the 18-year-old instructor says.

After that, we go to the club and have an early dinner and hopefully they're in bed by 7:45. My wife and I fall asleep with them, but then we wake up at 9:30 and stay up until about 11:30. There's no such thing as continuous sleep in our house anymore.

Cole: Except when you're on the road, right?

Hasselbeck: My roommate on the road, [guard] Chris Gray, and I have a little plan we follow. It doesn't matter where we stay, it can be the Ritz-Carlton. But when we come back, we make up something: "Oh, we couldn't sleep, there was this problem, whatever." We just don't want [our wives] to make us feel so guilty. Yeah, they know we're lying about it, but you gotta try. People ask, 'Does your roommate snore?' Look, when I'm on the road, there's nothing that can wake me up.

Cole: Does Gray try to tell you about what a great athlete he was once upon a time?

Hasselbeck: Yeah, he starts talking about how he was a tight end way back when. But he's an old guy now and he's an offensive lineman. Those guys can't let on too much. It's the creed among offensive linemen: "You strive for mediocrity."

Cole: Does he tell you about how he's one of the last guys left in the NFL who played for Don Shula?

Hasselbeck: Heck, our guys don't even know who Don Shula was. It's pathetic. Some of the young guys think that John Madden was a guy who made a video game. They have no idea. Gil Haskell, our offensive coordinator, said the other day, 'You guys look like the Keystone Cops out there.' Then he looked around at our guys and said, 'None of you guys know who the Keystone Cops are, do you?' They didn't. That's our team.

Cole: OK, so do you have any time for yourself, even on a Tuesday?

Hasselbeck: It's really a seven-day-a-week thing now. It used to be that we could go out once in a while. Monday was my birthday and there wasn't much of a chance to do anything. It used to be that my wife and I would maybe get dressed up and go out. Not anymore. Not with the kids.

One time, I went to a Def Leppard concert on a Monday. No, really. [Former Seattle quarterback] Trent Dilfer found that they were playing one time. He called me and said, 'Look outside, you see the limo. It's 7 o'clock. You have 25 minutes to get dressed up in the best '80s outfit you can find.' He brought a wig and sunglasses and we thought nobody would recognize us. Of course, they did. It was so embarrassing, it was great.

Cole: So what was the last concert you went to?

Hasselbeck: The last concert I went to with my wife was to see Tim McGraw. But during training camp, our kicker, Josh Brown, convinced me to go to a Carrie Underwood concert in Spokane, Wash. That was pretty embarrassing, but I was his wing man because he's got this big crush on her. It was a pleasant surprise. The concert was pretty good … but the defensive linemen got on me pretty good about that. It's a little unusual for two dudes to go to a Carrie Underwood concert.

Cole: So what happened with Brown and Underwood?

Hasselbeck: We end up getting backstage and he got a chance to talk to her. They're both from Oklahoma, so they seemed to hit it off. She grew up a Cowboys fan, but I think she was a little more of a Seahawks fan by the end of the conversation. I think Josh won her over. But then she played in Puyallup and he chickened out and didn't go and I don't think he called her. I don't know what happened there, but I definitely want to know.

Hasselbeck has a foundation in his name which donates money to charities such as the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue and Young Life. For information on how to donate to Hasselbeck's foundation, go to

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