Going into this season our mindset is simply: FINAO - FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION
This off-season has been extremely rewarding for many reasons. While last season didn’t end how we would have liked, the team is healthy and ready for this season to begin. Being a competitor, the off-seasons can grow long. You get the itch to go out and compete with your teammates. This team is motivated, hungry and aspires to leave a legacy for the City of Seattle. We are using last season as motivation and going into this season with the mindset that Failure Is Not An Option.
While off-season OTA’s and Minicamps only reveal so much, I can tell you that one thing this team does not lack in is passion and the desire to continually get better. Offensively, the growth is apparent. Russ has continued to perfect his game and it’s evident his bond with the receiving core continues to get stronger. I am extremely proud of my man, Doug Baldwin, in receiving the extension that he deserved. The receiving core is ready and hungry… Little Lockett, Doug, Jermaine and it’ll be a big boost to add Jimmy back to the fold. It’s also encouraging and motivating to see Rawls’ work tirelessly to get back on the field. It’ll be great to see the offensive line when the pads are on, I know they are as ready as anyone to line up against the opposition.
Defensively, we’re ready. We are strong on all levels of the defense. I’m excited to see the rook, Jarran Reed, get to work in the middle. It goes without saying the Cliff and Mike Bennett will continue to get after the quarterback. At Linebacker, Bobby and KJ put in a heck of an off-season and the boys are hungry to fill in the vacancy left by Bruce. In the Legion of Boom, you know we are ready. We are cohesive, strong and have a lot of depth in this secondary. We have extremely high expectations as a secondary and a defensive unit and as an overall team, but if your expectations aren’t high, then what are you playing for?
While we are ready for camp, it is also important to reflect on the positives of this off-season. Having time to ourselves in the off-season is great because it gives me time with my family and allows me the opportunity to really go to work in the community through my foundation, Blanket Coverage. One of my favorite parts of this off-season is that I was able to visit a number of different schools in an attempt to leave a lasting impact on students. Growing up in Compton, CA, I was the biggest Lakers fan and always looked up to Magic Johnson. When Magic made an appearance at my high school and spoke to our student body about the importance of utilizing education to achieve your goals, and not be a product of your circumstances, it greatly impacted me. It is a moment I will never forget. He instilled in me that no matter what hand you are dealt don’t use it as an excuse not to achieve your goals. I aim to provide the same impact on today’s youth.
To whom much is given much is expected. It’s a privilege for me to have this platform as it allows me to have a positive influence on our youth. My message to our future leaders is simple… FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. Every person encounters significant challenges throughout life and there often are times where we feel there is no hope, but do not give in. Failing should be looked at as a learning lesson, a motivating point that makes us hungrier. Do not give in to your perceived failure – failure is a myth as long as you keep learning and moving forward. Aspire for big goals and set incremental goals that will lead you to that big goal. If you desire to become an attorney there are several steps that need to be achieved in order to reach your goal - you need to first graduate high school, then college, then take your LSAT, graduate from law school and pass the bar exam. Success doesn’t come overnight or else everyone would be successful. Success comes from focused, consistent effort and an unwillingness to accept failure. I want our youth to understand that despite being dealt an unfortunate hand in life, dealing with bullying in schools or on social media, or having negative influences around you, do not succumb to the noise, overcome it.
It is easy to be a critic, but persevering and pursuing your goals takes courage. Do not listen to the negativity, use it as motivation. Academics is at the crux of success. Treat every day with respect. Through Blanket Coverage, I often speak with students individually who I feel need the extra guidance. We make the students sign agreements that if they are able to achieve a certain GPA, they will be rewarded by my foundation. I strive to hold students responsible because earning a reward through hard work is so much more impactful than just being given something.
My motivation comes from seeing the growth of students that my foundation is lending help to. I’ve seen kids that have started with 1.0 GPA’s transform to 3.5 GPA students who are now on a path towards college. We didn’t do much, we just helped alter the mindset. We tried to boost confidence and allow students to look at the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. We looked at negativity and perceived failure as learning experiences and life lessons.
As a foundation, we had an opportunity to visit several elementary and high schools this off-season, one of the most impactful and memorable experiences for me was seeing how bullying can affect a student. Bullying is real and I cannot stand it! Not only is their bullying by spoken words, but now cyber bullying has become increasingly prevalent. I’ve witnessed it ruin students’ confidence and I will not stand for it. All individuals need to take a stance against bullying and lead by example that these actions are not acceptable. Do not listen to the noise or the distractions others cause, focus on your goals and persevere.
This offseason I had the privilege to align with a company called FINAO www.finaonation.com, which allows me to stay on top of the students’ we are speaking to and follow their progression towards achieving their goals. FINAO is a mobile app that allows you to list your goals and post updates on the progress towards those goals. This gives me and my foundation the ability to follow our students and track their progress, while also giving the students the ability to follow my journey. The FINAO mindset suggests that failure is a myth and, by your own definitions of success, Failure Is Not An Option. Don’t get me wrong, failing is a part of every successful journey. However, “failure” does not exist when we choose to persevere. It’s innovations and tools like this that will further allow us to grow as a foundation and provide a positive influence to our youth.
I’m looking forward to seeing you 12’s in Training Camp and at the first preseason game. This team is ready, motivated and going into the season with the mindset of… FINAO!