Seahawks and U.S. Army Reps motivate MIHS football players

U.S. Army Sergeant Bride, Sergeant Almeida, Paul Johns, Sergeant Tran visited Mercer Island High School
U.S. Army Sergeant Bride, Sergeant Almeida, Paul Johns, Sergeant Tran visited Mercer Island High School's football practice and coach Brett Ogata on Tuesday. Paul Johns is a former player with the Seahawks.
— image credit: Carrie Bell/Contributed photo

A former Seahawks player and a US Army sergeant visited MIHS Tuesday to speak with football players from the freshmen through varsity teams.

“We’re here to talk about leadership and motivation,” said Paul Johns, a former Seahawks wide receiver and punter returner (1981-84) and the organization’s current assistant director of fan development.

With the first full week of practice underway and first varsity game looming Friday, Aug. 31 (vs. Redmond, at MIHS), Johns asked the players about their preparation. “Your coach can only get you ready for so much; what are you doing to get yourself ready?”

Johns mentioned that players should be running routes on their own, writing down goals and, when on the sidelines, watching what teammates are doing on the field. “Every day, you need to go out there with a purpose, and [ask yourself] what are you going to improve on today, what are you going to [do] to get better?”

Johns suggested the players should ask themselves: “What kind of example are you setting as a football player and as a person? What are you doing to contribute, to make this team better?”

He stressed that football players must “be leaders on and off the field.” Your classmates “watch you guys,” he added, noting that “a true leader does the right thing, no matter how uncool it is.”

Perhaps most important, he said, “don’t ever let another team see you quit. I don’t care if you’re losing 30 to nothing. You want the other team to walk off the field and say, ‘Those guys busted our behinds.’ Football is a microcosm of life, and you learn by defeat, by not giving up.”

Sergeant Almeida, a U.S. Army recruiter for the Seattle area, noted that MIHS football players could adopt the Army’s core values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

Sergeant Almeida stressed that players need to keep up their grades to maintain their eligibility. “You teammates are counting on you, so you need to fulfill your obligations not only on the field, but also off the field.”

After conversing with the players, Sergeant Almeida presented MIHS assistant coach Lee Jahnke with a football, and Johns handed one to Coach Ogata, which was signed by Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn.


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