When the Seahawks blew out the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, they looked like they had a young nucleus of players who should be able to win more Super Bowls together. But the NFL moves fast, and now Seattle is down to just six starters remaining from the 22 players who started for them in the Super Bowl four years ago.
Kam Chancellor, who revealed yesterday that he’s no longer able to play because of a neck injury, is the latest starter from that championship team to go. He joins Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Clinton McDonald, Chris Clemons, Walter Thurmond and Richard Sherman as players who have left that great defense. Only K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell remain — and Maxwell just re-signed this year, having spent time with the Eagles and Dolphins since leaving Seattle after Super Bowl XLVIII.
On offense, there’s been even more turnover. Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin are the only two of Seattle’s 11 offensive starters in Super Bowl XLVIII who are still on the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, Breno Giacomini and Alvin Bailey are all gone.
It goes beyond the starters. Wilson’s backup, Tarvaris Jackson, is gone. Lynch’s backups, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, are gone. In fact, basically all the offensive skill position backups — Jermaine Kearse, Sidney Rice, Ricardo Lockette, Luke Wilson, Derrick Coleman, Michael Robinson — are gone. Important players on defense who didn’t start the Super Bowl — Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, Malcolm Smith, Bruce Irvin — are all gone.
The Seahawks have managed to remain a good team as they’ve lost a lot of good players, returning to the Super Bowl and falling just short the year after they won it, getting to the playoffs the next two years, and going 9-7 last year. But this year’s purge of aging veterans shows just how hard it is to keep a great team together. The days of teams like the 1970s Steelers are over. A great group of players just doesn’t stay together very long anymore.