Seattle Seahawks

Young Seahawks benefit from ‘big brother’ advice

Seattle Seahawks safety Dion Bailey, bottom, upends Denver running back Ronnie Hillman on Friday during the exhibition opener at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Bailey credits teammates Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor with helping him improve during his young career.
Seattle Seahawks safety Dion Bailey, bottom, upends Denver running back Ronnie Hillman on Friday during the exhibition opener at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Bailey credits teammates Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor with helping him improve during his young career. The Associated Press

Sometimes athletic tweetage is nonsense or entirely serving of selfish agendas. At its worst, it can be a 140-character glimpse inside of a mind better left unexplored.

Sometimes, though, it can be insightful, as is the case of @dbailey_18, better known as Dion Bailey, a reserve safety on the Seattle Seahawks roster.

Bailey is now seeing the playing field in the absence of primary Boom Legionnaires Earl Thomas (shoulder surgery) and Kam Chancellor (dislocated contract).

An undrafted free agent, Bailey spent much of last season on the practice squad after getting hurt in training camp. It left him to spend a year tight-roping that slippery edge of the NFL.

But with the manpower shortage on the Seahawks, Bailey has earned increased exposure. A couple big plays in practice last week — a hallmark during his college career at USC — bought him playing time with the first unit against the Denver Broncos in the teams’ exhibition opener Friday.

And on Sunday morning, he put his thumbs to use typing out his electronic appreciation for the efforts of some who helped him along the way.

“Much appreciation to @Kam_Chancellor & @Earl_Thomas for taking me under their wings for a year in preparing me for my NFL debut!! #LOB.”

Not sure if the “under their wings” wording is an intentional extension of the “Seahawks” metaphor, but it seems appropriate — and strikingly common — for the team under coach Pete Carroll.

Throughout recent training camps and regular seasons, the sight of a veteran player mentoring a young teammate is a daily occurrence.

Last season, when All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman nursed some dings on the practice sidelines, he stayed within shouting distance of his young replacement, Tharold Simon.

Sherman extensively prompted him on the reads and keys, footwork and mechanics, and Simon almost instantly started making big plays.

Thomas is another example. Whenever a defender on the lower rungs of the depth chart makes a big play, Thomas races onto the field with congratulations that seem equal parts assault and battery.

Rookie receiver Tyler Lockett emerged as a fan darling in the first exhibition game Friday against the Broncos. The highlight was a 103-yard touchdown on a kickoff return.

But Lockett also has impressed with his skills as a receiver. He already has praised veteran Doug Baldwin as a Seahawk who has stepped up and helped him as a mentor.

And several times this camp, Baldwin has cited Lockett’s physical abilities and work ethic.

“So, naturally, you just want to be close to somebody like that because you know that they can do anything that they can put their mind to,” Baldwin said. “He’s a phenomenal kid.”

Now, picture yourself as a businessman. Your company is considering somebody who could come in and do your exact job. Except they are younger and cheaper. Do you go out of your way to help the new guy?

So what’s the deal with the Seahawks players?

It’s at least a recent legacy, as Chancellor has many times talked about the value of having spent his rookie season as an apprentice at the knee of veteran safety Lawyer Milloy.

He didn’t just learn the defense from Milloy, but how to be a professional athlete.

Surely, there are still players who tenaciously guard their territory.

But when you see so many of the best players and team leaders on the Seahawks roster so active in sharing the secrets of their craft, it’s obviously a pervasive theme.

It doesn’t seem that guys are nearly as concerned about being replaced as they are eager to put young players in the position to, at some point, help them win games.

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