Want proof? Here, courtesy of our own Kristopher Jones, is the transcript of that call. You can listen to the clip of the call by following this link at KJR’s website, where you’ll also hear their talented broadcasters, Hugh Millen and Dave Grosby:
Kudos to KJR (an addiction for just about every diehard sports fan in the Puget Sound region) for taking the time to put the call on their site, and thanks to Kristopher Jones for transcribing it so we could include it on ours!
Trent Dilfer KJR-AM Call Transcript – 1/10/05
Trent Dilfer: “One thing that I wanted to say, there’s so much negativity around the season and obviously everybody’s disappointed, I’m disappointed, every player on this team is disappointed, but I also wanted to make it clear to the fans that they need to understand that this team has battled through some serious adversity as well. Had a lot of injuries, had a lot of drama throughout the season and a majority of the team handled it very well and I’m very proud to be a Seahawk at this moment because of how a lot of the guys handled it.
“I think the one thing I’m interested in your listeners understanding, you guys are talking about players now with all these free agents… I know how the end of the season goes I’ve been talked about at the end of seasons many times. It’s very important when we’re talking about a player that the perspective of how a player is evaluated has changed. When Hugh (Millen) played, when I first came into the league, when you talked about the player as a total, you took the whole pie. The skill and the production was obviously a large part of that pie and a very important part, but along with that went a lot of other intangible qualities. The great players that I’ve played with obviously had great skill and that skill shows up in the production.
“But maybe more important that their skill are some other things like intelligence, poise, toughness, leadership, accountability, being able to be trustworthy on a football team. It is very, very important as we look at ourselves as a football team – and I said this to our players and I’ve made my point in public and in private – that we will never be as successful as we want to be until our players recognize as a total person who they are as a football player. That their skill is very important, that how the run, how the catch, how they block, how they tackle, how they fill into a scheme is obviously very, very important. But, I think we have plenty of skill. In fact, would say as talent goes, this as talented a football team as I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on some very good football teams.
“I think what needs to be emphasized is the intangible qualities of our football players. Guys like Chris Gray and Steve Hutchinson and Walter Jones and Grant Wistrom and Isaiah Kacyvenski and Chad Brown and I could go on and on and on… they should be commended on how they handle the things they go through and their intangible qualities. But, when our skill players buy in to the fact that who they are as football players goes far beyond their skill, that’s when we’ll be a great football team, and all the talk can stop right there. Take it from somebody who’s in there. Take it from somebody who lives it. Take it from somebody who’s done everything is his power to help our team succeed… we will never be as good as everyone wants us to be until on an individual level we are more accountable to ourselves, we’re more accountable to our teammates and we try to build ourselves as football players, not just our skill and not just be worried about our production.
Hugh Millen: “See, Trent, first of all you’ve got the credibility, you’ve got the hardware, you’ve got the ring on your finger, so you’ve seen what it takes to get over that hump. I think that a lot of people are listening and their thinking, okay, you’re talking about some of these superstars. I think some guys are thinking that you’re talking about Shaun Alexander specifically, and I know you’re in a tough position because you don’t want to specifically call guys out, but it sounds to me Trent like you think it’s somewhat of a problem that’s going to prevent Seattle from getting to that next step due to the overall attitude of some of these players.”
Trent Dilfer: “People can read into it whatever they want who I’m talking about, I’m not obviously going to give any names. I like our football team and I like many of the people on this team and I enjoy playing with them. I think for me from my perspective, and the reason I made this phone call, is because I’ve been very disturbed that how much is talked about both publicly and privately, how stats, how production, how glamour is going to be what takes teams to the final goal. In my experience, and I only have one world championship and I’ve been on some other playoff teams, but in my experience that is maybe the least important factor.
“When you talk about defenses feeding on momentum and rising to the occasion and making a great play when it’s needed… that goes beyond scheme. That goes beyond talent. (It)’s about trusting one another. That’s about believing in one another. We have guys that want to do that.
“Bobby Engram and I were talking this morning that we’re very proud of a lot of our teammates, how we responded to so much that went on this year. We worked hard on trying to come closer as a football team. We worked hard on crisis management. The leaders on this team dealt with more drama in one year than we’ve had in our entire careers combined. We worked very, very hard to keep this team together and to keep it believing and I think for the most part we did.
“Unfortunately, I think that the perspective from so many was, hey, if our completion percentage was higher, if we drop less balls, if we have more yards here, if we stop this amount of third downs, we’ll be better. And, yes, obviously at the end of the day and you look through all those stats and typically there are stats that equate to wins and equate to losses, but my argument is the WAY you win at the end of the day, the way those things fall in your favor at the end of the day, is how you handle your entire day. It’s how you handle who you are as a person, who you are as a football player and how you respond to your teammates and coaches.
“I think we’ve got guys who want to do it and I believe we can fix this, I just don’t this should be a… we need to rush for more yards, we need to throw this, we need to stop this, we need to stop that, this guy’s a bad apple, this guy’s a good guy… let’s look at it as a football team. I’m as responsible as anybody. We need to embrace more what it means to be a football team and less what it is to be a superstar.
Dave Grosby: “Trent, how does that happen?”
Trent Dilfer: “I think it’s enough guys believing in it. I think its guys who’ve earned their stripes in the league coming together and buying more into that. I think contractually it’s being willing to maybe sacrifice a little bit. Guys… if guys really mean what they say about their contracts then they’ll make some sacrifices in their contracts to stay with the Seahawks. If you see them taking the money, then they don’t believe what they say.
“I’m credible there too because a few years ago I signed what is
in the professional world not a very good deal to come back to a team that I
believed in because that meant more to me than the money. I think we need more
guys who are willing to do that. Now, I’m not talking about Walter Jones,
especially, he deserves to be the highest paid football player in the NFL as
far as I’m concerned. But, you talk about everyone else, there are 21
of them, if they truly mean what they say then you’ll see a good portion
of those guys make a little bit of a sacrifice.