The day Steve Hutchinson gave me the ...'COBRA'.

I remember when the Seattle Seahawks had drafted a player from Michigan named Steve Hutchinson. This guy played for University of Michigan as an offense guard. He’s like 6’5.. 275lbs and a freaking beast. He would take and grind defensive players to the ground long after the play was over. He would also grind opposite players into each other and go after linebackers! Just wreaking havoc with everything in his path. He looked like a WWF wrestler with a biker persona. A huge man-child having his way; he was completely unstoppable! Mike Holmgren was the head coach for the Seahawks. He was rebuilding our pathetic team.

Around that time I was working at the Crab Cracker Restaurant in Kirkland Washington. Located just down the street was the Seahawks training center. The guys would often come in after practice for food and beers. I was able to meet a lot of the players over the years. I also struck up conversations along the way and heard their perspective on the NFL and other players. Sometimes they would use crazy language describing the trash talk used with each other. Things like ’motherfucker don’t own me! Motherfucker don’t own me! But, he own you’. Terry Taylor(of the Seahawks) would say to James Hastings (of the Kansas City Chiefs)..’you got to TELL your agent! NFL dont give a FUCK about you! NFL DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YYYYOU! Funny shit... But, I digress here…

So in 2001 we draft Steve Hutchinson….STEVE FUCKING HUTCHINSON!!! NO FUCKING WAY!! The monster is coming to Kirkland!! Now we have Steve Hutchinson…Walter Jones, Mack Strong, Robbie Tobek, Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer ; A very powerful and explosive offensive line. We had Shaun Alexander as our running back. He was KILLING IT! So the Seattle Seahawks now have another ‘monster’ on their offense. I would read the training camp reviews on how the team practices were coming along. Often times they would mention how our ‘rookie’ Hutch was coming along in his new life, the NFL (No matter who you are, coming from college to the NFL, you get your ass handed to you! No matter how good you thought you were)…but, then there is Steve Hutchinson. Even in training camp he is causing havoc and grounding veterans into the ground, literally raising HELL! Veterans do not like to be ‘grounded’ by a rookie! THIS GUY IS A MONSTER! I cannot wait for him to kick our opponent’s asses!

It was a Wednesday after training camp… practice was over and the guys are coming into the bar for some beers and food. I always loved Seahawk players coming into my bar! This time its Chris Grey, Trent Dilfer, Chris Macintosh, Mack Strong, Matt Hasselbeck and Steve Hutchinson. (When serving the offense players, they are quite courteous and show appropriate etiquette.) That is very cool because you know who you’re serving…and you’re a huge fan of all the guys…PLUS ITS FUCKING COOL!! After I serve most of the players, I look down at the end of the bar and there sits…’The Monster’. I did not notice him at first…which is weird. YOU notice Steve Hutchinson!! So in my mind I realize….SHIT!! RIGHT BEFORE ME SITS STEVE HUTCHINSON! He is just sitting there…apart from everyone else. He is sitting at the bar looking straight forward. His hair looked like he just got off his Harley…all sticking out…wild. A total mug shot pose, if you will. Not even close to a football player..let alone a nice courteous offensive line guy. Out of the corner of my eye he would just sit there looking straight the fuck ahead. Now his stare is Charles Manson like..what a weird mother fucker! So now I approach him, saying hello and can I bring you a beer? He just keeps staring ahead…..LIKE CHARLES FUCKING MANSON! This huge man.WWF biker motherfucker just ignoring me. I do not wait too long….something about giving a man and his vibe space (I likened it to what I imagine a guy’s first day in prison…and asks where the bathroom is?)

Also at the same time I am a professional bartender dividing time to all my guests. So Seahawks or not, everyone gets AWESOME service! So if you’re just staring away and not answering me over a beer request…fuck off! The ‘monster’ is being rude. Yet, it’s still STEVE HUTCHINSON!

So in a timely manner I go back to that side of the bar to ask again… remember, he is STILL staring forward….like 15 minutes or so. I ask ‘hey Steve can I bring you a beverage? He then looks at me and says’ do you know what I do to people who ask me for an autograph? In my mind I’m thinking ’bitch nobody is asking for your autograph. I respond with ‘no Steve’ what do you do? He says ‘I give them the COBRA’. Again in my mind I am thinking.. COBRA..WTF?? This guy must be a dumbass! Soooo I say what’s the COBRA? He then suddenly leaps up on the bar from a sitting position…using just the lower half of his body (which is huge) flexing both arms to his side while inflating his lats and back to resemble the biggest motherfucking COBRA man has seen!! Like a fucking huge jack in the box…just springing up and bobbing around fully flexed with the face of a demon! (All this happening within seconds of my response


Somehow I am braced by a wall behind me or I surely would have fell back after SHITTING MY PANTS! This fuck is huge! ( The whole time this is happening, I am seeing what defensive players see….a fierce, non-human crazy motherfucker who will give you a full on BEATDOWN!) I thought….WTF!! WAS THAT? Right then some of the other Seahawks saw this and reach over and say in a friendly commanding voice STEVE…relax! Not here! Gino is a good guy! And at that moment, a friendly, sober, charming Steve Hutchinson politely asks me…may I get a glass of water?(Like an athletic Keith Moon)

Talk about an experience from a guy that is fearsome! I felt I lived defensive nightmares this guy has caused. Imagine the pranks he must have played on his college underclassmen. FUCKING SCARY!!

Now you might think that the story would end here….but, About a few years later I am working for a different company; Luwa distributing. Our company distributed high-end appliances to dealerships around the Puget Sound. My job was to demonstrate how to use these appliances, for they are a bit challenging. So as I was acclimating myself to warehousemen, sales guys and gals, I hear them talking about the Seahawks and Steve Hutchinson. These few were having a private conversation amongst themselves. When I heard them mention Steve I chided in with an agreement…and that I have met Steve. They just stared at me….at the time, I was not in the clique yet. A few months go by and I am now a part of the clique. Laughing and talking freely with my new friends. That month we were involved in the Seattle Home Show. We had a large booth featuring our appliances and services. One day at the Home Show I see Steve Hutchinson walking down an aisle with his girlfriend. WTF! I rush out from the booth and go looking for Steve. But not before taking a pen and a piece of cardboard for him to sign. AUTOGRAPH! I’m looking around and I am not seeing him. Where the fuck is he? I am going up and down aisles….then I see this huge mass of a black leather jacket walking down this aisle. He is about 10 yards away and I yell..STEVE! Like I’m jacked up! He turns around and walks towards me…but not menacing. His girlfriend is way shorter and gorgeous! As I approach him he’s looking to see if he knows me. I reach out and shake his hand. I told him we had met in his rookie year at the Crab Cracker. He laughs and does not remember….why would he? I then decide to ask for an autograph! He says…..wait for it…….sure! Simple as that! I say make it out to the guys at the office who thought I was full of shit with my Steve Hutchinson story. When he finishes, he smiles and hands the autograph to me…I stare back and say’ aren’t you going to give me the COBRA? He stops and stares at me and says, how do you know about the COBRA? I say, YOU GAVE ME ONE AT THE BAR! Your rookie year! He steps back and laughs and chuckles…and says, sorry about that. (Can you fucking imagine Steve saying he’s sorry? Not really necessary)…he goes on to say his girlfriend doesn’t let him do that anymore

Come Monday morning as I enter the office…ahem fellas’ I have this Steve Hutchinson autograph you might be interested in seeing, it has your names on it! YES!

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