Mack responding to your questions...
Back on July 1st, I posted a piece about former Seattle Seahawk fullback, Mack Strong; and gave interested Field Gulls members a chance to ask the legendary 'road-grader' any questions they saw fit to pose... It took a bit longer than I had hoped, but at long last I am pleased to post the big guy's unedited responses to every question raised from the fanpost 2 weeks ago (plus a few additional questions that I asked him myself).
However before posting Mack's responses, I would like to take one last opportunity to mention that the The 5th Annual Mack Strong TEAM-WORKS Charity Golf Tournament & Auction will be held next Wednesday (the 18th) at the Golf Club at Newcastle. There are still a few spots remaining in the tournament, (I actually have two spots remaining in my foursome, should anyone be interested in slinging a few divots with a fellow Field Gull.), and any "non-golfers" are more than welcome to attend the banquet & auction, for a substantially lower ticket price.
A celebrity is slated to join every foursome in the event; and among the cast of characters you could expect to see: Slick Watts, Shawn Kemp, Jack Thompson, Jay Buhner, Nesby Glasgow, and one of the "my brother" brothers, Roy Lewis. Among the many items up for bid during the silent & live auctions are local & long distance getaways, (Bellevue, Hawaii & Disneyland; to name a few), dinner excursions to some of the Seattle area's finest restaurants, and for the 12th Man; several autographed jerseys, and an autographed helmet from the best blocking fullback in NFL history. - (Before you ask, yes... It's a new helmet). If all that doesn't interest you, how about a brand new Acura? - (All it takes is a hole-in-one).
It's admittedly short notice, but the best part of waiting until a few days ahead of time is that you have a much more accurate weather forecast, (72 degrees & partly sunny). For those who can't make it, but are interested to hear what Mack had to say; jump along with me...
The questions have all been re-posted, with the member's name immediately preceding the question. Mack's response follows, in bold.
Fluxx: I wonder what approach you would take to improving player safety since you had an uncommonly long career. Was there anything you did to prepare yourself that contributed to your longevity?
Mack: In 2003 I actually started doing yoga. I felt like at that time in my career I had done everything I could to improve as a player. Since I have never been considered flexible, I thought it would be something good to work. Also, I didn't eat any fast food the entire year. That was the BEST I ever felt & statistically it was my BEST season!
pqlqi: What are your thoughts on the concussion debate, especially as someone who spent 15 years in the most consistently and violently collision-prone position in the game - How do you make the game safer while preserving the inherent appeal of the gladiator arena?
Mack: First, let me say that it's an important debate to have. So many studies are coming out now about high-impact football collisions & it's effect on players. Having said that, it's hard to regulate the way in which people play the game. It's a violent, high-speed game and unfortunately it can have lasting effects. I suppose, over time, we'll get to some consensus on what's allowed in terms of how players attack each other.
Baxter425: Should your sons wish to follow in their father’s footsteps; will they have your blessing, given the increased awareness of the inherent danger of the sport?
Mack: Both my sons love football and have played flag football in the past. I already had the talk with them about not playing padded football until they're older (possibly 8th or 9th grade). It had more to do with when I started playing myself, (9th grade), than it did with the debates over concussions.
Built2Spill: What’s your opinion about the new jerseys? Do you like the Native American designs?
Mack: I think we'll get used to new jerseys no matter how we feel now. I'm not a big fan of 'em, though I do like the Native American flavor (my wife is Native American).
Built2Spill: How does your blocking style differ from Michael Robinson’s?
Mack: We did a lot more man-blocking under Holmgren which meant I was more assigned to a particular person instead of an area. Michael does a great job of being the eyes for Marshawn & picking up anybody that's in his path.
clutterheart: Do you think your talent set would fit in the modern day game?
Mack: The modern game?? Hey man, 2007 was my last year! Seriously though, I get what you're saying & it's a good question. I don't see too many lead blocking fullbacks anymore. Most of the guys are hybrid receiver/blocking backs with the exception of Vonta Leach. Still, I think I would have fit in just fine in most systems.
neurocell: What were your thoughts on initially making the team, but only being on the practice squad? Did you actually feel that you would be around for more than a short time, back then?
Mack: I was ticked that I didn't make the 53-man squad! That's how I saw it. They worked me like crazy in training camp & I showed them what I could do on offense & special teams, yet I didn't get to play. That's probably how someone in college feels when they get redshirted.
pqlqi: What are your opinions on the new collective bargaining agreement and the medical care and pension provisions for the retirees.
Mack: It's the best deal of all the professional sports but, still falls short for retired players.
PerryCollective: What was the most memorable block of your career?
PerryCollective: What was the most memorable carry of your career? (I’m thinking of the carry vs. the Redskins in the 2005 Divisional Round, but would love to hear your perspective).
Mack: Yeah, that was one for sure! However, the best run was one that didn't count. - We were playing the Rams at their place & I had a 35 yard 3rd down run get called back because our center was holding. Daddgummit!
PerryCollective: What was the most memorable reception of your career? (I remember your being sneaky-good out of the backfield, but don’t remember a specific reception, sadly).
Mack: My first few years in the league I probably amassed about 1000 yards of total offense in the preseason. I mean they really worked me. In 1994 I caught a 5yd pass and ran 70 yards for a TD! I know it's hard to believe, but there's film somewhere...
PerryCollective: Which former teammate of yours would we be surprised to know is actually kind of tough?
Mack: Rick Tuten. He was a big punter who loved to hit!
The Cheese: What do you think of the physicality of the current Seahawk’s running game?
Mack: LOVE IT! Wish we had some beast mode when I was playing.
The Cheese: What do you think of Pete Carroll and the "Always Compete" philosophy?
Mack: Guys are definitely buying in so it's been very effective.
Baxter425: From what you’ve seen thus far, which member of Pete Carroll’s coaching staff has impressed you the most as a leader & developer of players?
Mack: Tom Cable... 'Nuff said.
The Cheese: How are you enjoying retirement?
Mack: Very busy but I love it! If I want a break, I should go back to playing in the NFL.
SGT Lenny: Do you have any interest in possibly becoming a head coach somewhere? You’re obviously intelligent and do well in front of groups of people. Just curious if you have that in mind.
Mack: I'm starting to get the coaching itch so we'll see. It wouldn't surprise me.
SGT Lenny: Are you going to attempt to become a pro golfer?
Mack: You obviously haven't seen me play golf!
Baxter425: Who among your contemporaries was the LB you either feared or respected more than any other (if there was one)?
Mack: Al Wilson, from the Denver Broncos. He wasn't the biggest LB in the league; but he was compact, and hit like a freight train. (FOOTNOTE: Ironically, one year before Mack's neck injury forced his retirement, Al Wilson's career was cut short after suffering a neck injury against the Seattle Seahawks.)
Baxter425: With the apparent increasing trend in double-TE sets, several teams have seemingly phased out the fullback position. What are your thoughts on the future of the position?
Mack: Huge mistake! Look at the teams that are most successful at running the football; the fullbacks are a big reason why.
Baxter425: If you’re able to share without burning any bridges; with which of your former teammates over the years would you say you were the closest?
Baxter425: Which player on the current Seahawks roster do you enjoy watching in action the most?
Mack: Kam Chancellor - he's a freak of nature & is going to strike fear in the hearts of opposing players!
Baxter425: What are your thoughts on the 2012 Seahawks & their outlook this season? – Do you have any predictions for their final record/playoffs?
Mack: They need to decide early in training camp who their 2012 QB is going to be, because that guy needs a ton of reps with the OL/RBs/RECs to make sure that they are all on the same page. And for the record... I think any one of those guys can get it done this year.
-Thanks to the FG's who submitted questions to Number Thirty-Eight... As pqlqi suggested in the original post, it would be nice if the FG's could have similar opportuntities with other Seahawk "legends" in the future. As for this particular installment, it has been my sincere pleasure to be able to share a little quality time with one of the best TEAM-PLAYERS in Seahawk's history -(in my extremely biased opinion).