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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Seahawks DE downplays matchup with former team

    Seahawks DE downplays matchup with former team

    By TIM KORTE
    AP SPORTS WRITER

    KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Grant Wistrom remembers the animosity on the field between NFC West rivals Seattle and St. Louis.

    Now, it's not so clear.

    Any free agent who switches teams within the same division knows what's coming twice a year: showdowns against former teammates and endless questions about how it's going to feel.

    That's the case this week for Wistrom, who spent his first six NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2-2).

    "I think everybody is making a bigger deal about this than I am," said Wistrom, who ranks second on the Seahawks (3-0) with 2 1/2 sacks. "When the opening kickoff happens, you forget about all that stuff. It's just another football team."

    Oh, but there's a little extra invested for Wistrom this week.

    Not only is he facing his former teammates, but for the first time he'll line up against the potent Rams offense directed by his old coach, Mike Martz, a man he grew to know very well.

    Martz said Wistrom's departure had "a deep, deep emotional impact. He's like one of my family, like one of my kids."

    Wistrom's reasons for leaving were sound, Martz said. Wistrom received a $33 million contract that included a $14 million signing bonus, and Martz said he believes the star defender deserves that kind of money.

    "I don't look forward to playing him," Martz said. "I've watched him on tape and I think he's really playing very well."

    Wistrom went out of his way in recent years to stand up for Martz when he felt the coach was being unfairly maligned.

    "We were pretty tight," Wistrom said. "I really appreciate coach Martz. When he was catching a lot of heat, I always stood behind him. I told him that I believed in him as a coach, and I think he receives a lot of undue criticism."

    Another unusual experience for Wistrom will be matching up against five-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace. They routinely faced off in blocking drills, but Wistrom expects this to be different.

    "It's going to be a 60-minute battle," Wistrom said. "I practiced against him for six years, but Orlando's practice speed and his game speed are two different things. I'm going to have to work."

    There's one more twist.

    Wistrom was fined $5,000 by the NFL last season for flattening Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the Rams' 27-22 win in St. Louis. The next day, Hasselbeck called it "a great block."

    That's ancient history, though, because Hasselbeck understands Wistrom's full-throttle approach on the field. They're buddies now, and it's not unusual to see them trading good-natured barbs in the locker room.

    "He's just a good guy," Hasselbeck said. "When times get rough, it's nice to have the good guys - guys you can count on, guys you can depend on - on your team. They lost a key guy, a leader on their team, in Grant."

    Wistrom said he came into the NFL hoping to spend his entire career in the same city. He grew up in Missouri, played college football at Nebraska and seemed to be at home in the Midwest.

    There was a time when going to Seattle would have seemed far-fetched.

    "We didn't like this team very much when I played for the Rams," he said.

    Wistrom loved living in St. Louis, and he said it was tough to leave the Rams organization. Yet since arriving in Seattle, he's learned that the Seahawks value many of the same things.

    "I can't imagine being in a better situation than I am now, being in another great city with another great organization and a bunch of teammates who I love playing with as much as I enjoyed playing with the guys in St. Louis," Wistrom said.



  2. #2
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Seahawks DE downplays matchup with former team

    Hmm, Wistrom's pretty smart. I wouldn't want to tick the big man off.

  3. #3
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    Re: Seahawks DE downplays matchup with former team

    I miss Wistrom...you knew what you were getting from him every play...The D -line isn't the same without him... :upset:

  4. #4
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    Re: Seahawks DE downplays matchup with former team

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadesofgrey
    you knew what you were getting from him every play
    yup......everything he had!
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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