Trent Dilfer: Matt Hasselbeck saved my life

Getty Images

In April of 2003, Trent Dilfer’s 5-year-old son, Trevin, died of heart disease. Dilfer, then the backup quarterback for the Seahawks, was so despondent that he thought he had no reason to keep playing football, and little reason to live.

But Dilfer ended up playing five more NFL seasons and is now working as a broadcaster, and Dilfer says it was his Seahawks teammate, Matt Hasselbeck, who did more than anyone to get him to start playing again, and to start living again.

“[Hasselbeck was] walking me through the most difficult time of my life. I mean I was a mess,” Dilfer said, via USA Today. “I’ll be very transparent. I mean I was 265 pounds and drinking myself to sleep. I’m depressed, my wife’s going, ‘What’s going on?’ And it’s that guy, Matthew Hasselbeck, that says, ‘This is over. I love you too much to let you do this to yourself. You need to come back up to Seattle.’ And I credit Matthew Hasselbeck for the type of father I am, the type of husband I am, because he really saved my life in 2003.”

Dilfer’s comments came in the context of the strong relationship Hasselbeck has with Jake Locker, the quarterback who has supplanted Hasselbeck as the Titans’ starter. Dilfer says there’s no better teammate to have than Hasselbeck.

“Jake Locker might be the luckiest guy in the NFL right now,” Dilfer said. “He’s got a good football team, he’s got a great coaching staff, and he’s got the best dude in the world — who probably should be playing — mentoring him and pushing him and teaching him those lessons. So Jake Locker, his family, his kids — not to mention the organization — are better off because Matthew Hasselbeck’s here. It’s great for Jake Locker, it’s tough for Matthew, but I guarantee you nobody will handle it better than Matthew.”

Dilfer may know better than anyone what kind of teammate Hasselbeck is.

30 responses to “Trent Dilfer: Matt Hasselbeck saved my life

  1. I thought it was an excellent tribute to Matt Hasselbeck. I’m from Fresno and a State alum and it broke my heart to see Trent Dilfer go through that with his son. I remember it being on the news.

  2. I can’t imagine having to deal with the loss of a child. Knowing how much I love my children, I don’t know what I would do.

  3. Matt Hasselbeck is the ultimate pro. I doubt you can find many more athletes that are such class acts and are always team-first. Is he the best QB? No. But any team would be lucky to have him.

  4. Matt always seemed like a really stand-up guy, but this is a great story.

    I never knew that Dilfer went through all of this. Good to see that he made it through.

  5. I remember when this happened and Dilfer making sure to credit Hass for pulling him out of the abyss. Just one of many reasons Hass will always be one of my favorite people and players in the NFL.

  6. Know what I look forward to? The day Matt Hasselbeck enters the press box to do color commentary for an NFL game.

    It will happen. He’s an extremely sharp, articulate, and funny guy. And also apparently a tremendous human being.

  7. I’m actually more surprised that PFT wrote an article about it than the fact that Hass is like that to Dilfer. And no doubt Locker is reaping the benefits of having Hass there as a mentor and they have the Seattle connection as well. Really can’t wait for Hasselbeck to end up doing games or commentary in the studio. The question is which network, NFL Network, Fox or ESPN? My guess is NFL Network.

  8. What a terrible load to carry for any father or mother. It was surely fortunate for Mr. Dilfer that he had a good person around when he was in such dire need. Not many people would have extended themselves the way Matt H. did. Well done Mr. H.

  9. I didn’t know the great details beneath the Trent Dilfer/Matthew Hasselbeck relationship, but I know it had to take a lot of courage and pride for Dilfer to say those words on the air and talk about it openly. I’m a 49ers fan, so I knew about the tragedy from reading many blogs and following my team back with Dilfer was a backup for us. Hasselbeck and his Seahawks always had our number for a few years there, so I wasn’t fond of him in his prime. Hearing Dilfer’s story, though, makes me a fan of Hasselbeck for sure. That man is a true role model. Many props to him.

  10. Had heard him talk about this before, I think with Tim Hasselback. Both men are tremendous examples of what men, let alone role models should be, and ‘brennanwhatever your name is, if your comment was a slur against Trent, you should be ashamed!

  11. We Seahawks Fans have known what a great guy Matt is for years, and thats why we still love him.

    However, I only opened the comments because I knew some unimaginitive idiot would respond with “We want the ball and we’re gonna score”

    Congrats nohopeleft, you are the unimaginitive idiot that I knew wouldn’t disappoint

  12. I was aware Trent lost a son but I didn’t know what he went through after that. I have a new found respect for Hasselbeck for being that guy. Good for him, yes any team would benefit from having a person like that in their locker room

  13. The only reason I am torn about the Titans going with Jake Locker, even though it makes perfect sense in the big picture and there’s a lot to like about Locker, is that I hate to see Hasselbeck be the one to have to step aside.

    Nothing but respect for him. He does things the right way. One cool dude.

  14. Even though he was a division rival of my Rams for a long time, I’ve always been a huge Hasselbeck fan. I’ve always thought he was one of the better and most underrated QBs in the NFL. I always knew he was a class act on and off the field too. But wow, reading stories like this, honestly kind of brings a tear to your eye to see. If only more people in our world cared enough about each other.

  15. Matt comes from a wonderful home and had a great education at Xaverian Brothers High and Boston College as well as the experience of playing in Green Bay. I have watched his father in the pros and he and his brother through HS and college. Stand up guys who are a credit to their mother and father and the NFL. Thanks for writing this.

  16. makes me wonder why pete wouldnt have just kept Matt and let him be that guy for Russell!! However if we cant have him I couldnt be happier that Jake does!!! Thanks for all the great years Matthew SEATTLE will never forget you!!!

  17. Stories like this (and there are others that could be used as an example) are important reminders that players are so much more than names on the back of a jersey. They are real people with real lives, joys and heartbreak.

    I find that it is all too easy to lose sight of this realization.

  18. You have to be a heartless, moronic imbecile to “thumbs down” this story.

    Gives me a new impression of both Dilfer AND Hasselbeck.

  19. It was a sad day for the Seahawks when Matt was let go by the new coaches. I don’t think they really knew what Matt was really like and they wanted something new, well they got it and we had to watch it. I hope Matt gets to play some more before he has to retire because he can be fun to watch and sometimes he can make you mad with his play. But I have a lot of fun memories of Matt playing for the Seahawks and yes that was one of the best ones (We want the ball and we’re going to score!) I’ll never forget it. Pete bring him back to Seattle.

  20. Oh, one more thing I hope he doesn’t go to Arizona. I don’t want to remember our QB playing against us like that. Its one thing to play against him once in a while, but two times a year, Not good. Hell he is getting close to retiring let him play in Miami. Sun shine and beaches.

  21. Trent Dilfer has always been a special person. He’s humble, dedicated, and classy. It was a most painful time when his son was publicly known to be suffering with his heart disease. I live in Fresno and Trent was very visible in the community and his local church. He’s a wonderful human being. So sorry for his loss. I actually got to meet and shake his hand about a year ago, when he was in Fresno his his college coach, Jim Sweeney’s funeral. Love him also as a football analyst.
    Kudos to Hasselbeck for being such a great person as well!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.