The Seahawks opened camp this season without Lawyer Milloy, the veteran leader of the Seahawks secondary for the last two years. Milloy is a free agent, and his jersey number has been given to another player, so he is looking for another team to call home.
The 15-year veteran had a solid season for Seattle last year, starting all 16 games and putting up strong numbers (88 tackles and 4 sacks). He also brings veteran leadership and experience to the field that goes far beyond what can be measured by tackles, sacks and interceptions.
In the dog-eat-dog world of the NFL, it’s tough to tell what team will give the 37-year-old defensive back a chance for a starting position, so right now he has to wait. Milloy continues to be hopeful as he looks ahead, saying “I have all the intentions of playing. I’m a free agent just like any other free agent out there.”
Milloy has accomplished a great deal in his career. He is a four time Pro Bowl player, three time All Pro and was a Super Bowl champion with the 1996 New England Patriots. His leadership is already being missed in Seattle.
Kam Chancellor, who Milloy helped to mentor in Seattle, said to the Seattle Times of Milloy’s departure, “It was good having Lawyer around because he’s like a legend, man. He was one of those faces that was feared. I feel blessed to have been behind a guy like that. Big shoes to fill.”
Chancellor added, “He showed the young guys the way.”
While Milloy waits to see what this NFL season will bring, he has started to look ahead to life after football. Asked about his plans for when he does finally hang up his pads, he said, “Two years ago, I couldn’t answer that question because I’ve always been football, football, football. But I know I want to be my own boss, and I’ve afforded myself that choice.”
As Milloy starts to think about the business opportunities ahead of him, he is guided by the same principles that guided him on the field. Milloy has always been known as a “character guy” – that hard-to-define quality that includes leadership, teamwork, honesty and hard work. He views business as primarily “relationship building, before you even start talking about business. You want to see if that communication is genuine. Trust is a big thing.”
He gets philosophical as he talks about life after football and how hard the transition is for many players. “One thing about our sport, which is a year around sport, is that it doesn’t give you an opportunity to reach out and learn other things. When you get out, it’s almost like coming out of jail. Most of these guys, their lifespan in the NFL is only 3 years. After that, how are you going to survive?”
Milloy has already enjoyed a much-longer-than-average career, and based on last year’s performance he still has a lot to offer a team that isn’t focused primarily on getting younger. A proven performer on the field with his level of locker room leadership and mentoring for younger players is tough to find. And he will be a tough act to follow in Seattle.