The coup that was the signing of half-man/half-linebacker/half-cornerback/half-defensive lineman, Julian Peterson. A move that vaulted the Seahawks line-backing unit within reach of the coveted “most dominating unit you’ll see on Sundays” award (coincidently a title held by last year’s Seahawks offensive line).
The absurd near-miss, and potentially earth shattering, landing of the top two defensive free agents, sans John Abraham’s insatiable craving of deep-fried bacon and NASCAR.
Or the undeniable emasculation of a division opponent that was Rushton Webster’s reported election of a lesser post within the Seahawks, than one of greater stature within the Rams organization.
With all that, there’s one transaction that gets little or no fanfare. One that could very well end up paying the biggest dividends, this upcoming regular and postseason. That’s the re-signing of Peter Warrick.
To most of the Hawks faithful, the re-signing of Peter Warrick is nothing more than a raise of the shoulders and an uneducated “he’ll be better than Jimmy Williams returning punts”. But if you look past the initial ramifications, really delve into the unlimited possibilities, P-Dub may offer the Hawks the game-breaker at WR they’ve not seen since Joey Galloway.
While not an absolute indicator of a prosperous NFL career, I clearly recollect P-Dub dismantling opposing collegiate football teams in his career. The ferocity and single-handedness of which, rivaled all-time greats who also battled on Saturdays.
One particular game, forever in the forefront of my mind, is the 1999 Sugar Bowl. Warrick’s Florida State Seminoles were battling the hated Hokies of Virginia Tech for a National Championship. In that game, Warrick compiled two touchdowns and 163 yards receiving, scored a touchdown on a 59-yard punt return, and even caught a pass for a two-point conversion.
The pivotal and backbreaking play of that game came in the fourth quarter, when FSU took over possession of the football after a botched VT fake punt attempt. Up 39-29 at that point, Peter Warrick entered the huddle asking his teammates, “You want me to finish them off?” On that very next play, the then 45 year-old Chris Weinke, lofted one of his patented floaters towards the direction of an interfered with and blanket covered Warrick. Forever cementing his NCAA legend, Warrick made the jaw dropping touchdown catch, and secured the Seminoles’ National Championship.
His performances on those Saturdays came to him with such ease, it’s as if the opposing teams suited up nine year-olds to oppose him. That portion of his career is as impressive as the other super-humans I have the pleasure of proclaiming, “I watched them live”; Randy Moss, Michael Vick, Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Tim Brown, Charles Woodson, or recently Reggie Bush. All of whom, like Peter, are so gifted, it’s obvious our creator molded them for the sheer purpose of playing America’s greatest game.
The following spring, P-Dub had the then unfortunate curse of being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. At that time, Cincinnati was where all talented NFL players went to have their talent removed, like so many Thetans at Churches of Scientology.
At that time, I remember thinking that his talent was too great for even the Bengals to suppress. What I failed to account for was the sad display of Quarterbacking and coaching Warrick would have forced upon him.
In his maiden season, he suffered the affliction of playing for Dick LeBeau and Bruce Coslet; as well catching “passes” from Akili Smith, and Scott Mitchell.
Like all those Bengals who inevitably endured, salt was added to his wound. P-Dub’s salt came in the form of being anointed the #1 receiver, when Darnay Scott broke his leg in training camp. Despite those calamities, he lead the team in receptions with 51 and receiving yards with 592, and touchdowns.
Over the next two years, P-Dub put up similar numbers. Numbers that to a layman would indicate that his career wasn’t living up to special potential all of us saw in him. But in retrospect, the only thing he needed to achieve the greatness we expected was a football coach and a QB. Fortunately for him, he was provided both in 2003 with the hiring of Marvin Lewis and arrival of Jon Kitna.
That season, Warrick accumulated highs in receptions (79), receiving yards (819), yards from scrimmage (976), and touchdowns (9). While those stats are impressive, they weren’t his greatest contribution to his team that season, in my opinion.
His biggest contribution came week 17 against the Cleveland Browns, by simply participating in the action. Warrick suited up and played well against the Browns that game, despite suffering a significant cartilage tear two weeks prior. He risked his career winning season for the Bengals in over a decade.
The next year, Peter played in only three games before finally succumbing to pain and complications of the shin and knee. Pain and complications that conventional wisdom tells us could’ve been avoided if Peter hadn’t played that last game in 2003. When you consider his actions, it’s no wonder teammates Jon Kitna and Chad Johnson wept like Adam Morrison the day he was cut from the Bengals.
Another symptom of that last game of 2003 was landing in Seattle, in my opinion. The selfless nature of playing in that game, for the good of the team only, showed his commitment to winning, and more importantly, to his team. Selflessness and commitment are required traits if you want Paul Allen to sign your checks nowadays. Peter and the Seahawks are refreshing breaks from today’s sports culture monopolized by highlights and contract holdouts.
Along with the abovementioned traits, Peter also possesses that extra, immeasurable, and desirable intangible called “it”, in my assessment. I’ve spoken to “it” before with other players and in other articles. “It’s” not something you can clearly identify or prove. In fact, “it” may not be something that’s real; for all I know “it’s” the hallucinogenic symptom of a “Door of Perception” I opened sometime ago. All I know is the Sugar Bowl showed me something, and I think that something was “it”.
But let’s not get too infatuated with Peter’s character, to the extent we skip over the talent this guy has. Do not let last year’s quiet maiden season with the Seahawks be a barometer. The injury he suffered usually takes two full seasons to recover from, the same circumstance that gave us Bobby Engram. He has all the talent in the world, and was finally able to show us that when supplied even a mediocre QB in Jon Kitna.
Imagine what the tutelage of Mike Holmgren and the passing of Matt Hasselbeck will reveal?
Known very well to friend and foe as "pehawk" in our fan forums, Ryan Davis will be providing a fresh voice on the Seahawks, Seattle sports in general, and life in a nutshell. Feel free to send your thoughts, recriminations and mule sniffs to Ryan here.