Day later, Seahawks lamenting hiccups that led to loss in Green Bay Print
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Sunday, 13 January 2008 13:10
NFL Headline News

 KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Rob Sims looked at the giant scoreboards atop Lambeau Field, saw a 14-0 Seattle lead less than five minutes in and thought the Seahawks were bound for the NFC championship game.
``There haven't been too many times where we've been leading like that and we haven't gotten it done in the end,'' Sims, Seattle's second-year guard, said Sunday.
The Seahawks were back at their team headquarters Sunday morning, going through their final meetings, getting offseason programs in place and digging out from Saturday's snowbound 42-20 loss to Green Bay in the NFC divisional playoffs.
The Seahawks were also lamenting missed opportunities earlier in the season that could have put Saturday's game in Seattle, instead of the snow globe that was Green Bay.
``We had to go play on the road, play in a blizzard, and it didn't have to be that way,'' quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said.
Seattle's 14-0 first-quarter lead that evaporated among Ryan Grant's runs, Brett Farve's improvisation and the swirling snow, was forefront for the players as they packed up their lockers and got jerseys autographed by their teammates.
But four of Seattle's five road losses during the regular season, all by three points, weren't forgotten. Had Seattle won three of those four, Saturday's game would have been at Qwest Field. It was a point coach Mike Holmgren brought up during his final team meeting.
``I think he did a nice job today, and he just kind of set the tone for the offseason,'' Hasselbeck said. ``He talked about what our season could have been, what it was and what it can be next year.''
With talk of next year also comes the lingering question of whether Holmgren will be a part of it. He has one year remaining on his contract. As in previous years, Holmgren said after Saturday's loss that he will take a vacation with his wife, Kathy, and then make a decision on whether to return.
Aside from Holmgren's future, there are major personnel decisions that general manager Tim Ruskell will need to make about key free agents. There is also concern over the left knee injury Deion Branch suffered early in Saturday's loss. Branch was expected to have an MRI exam Sunday and results should be known early in the week.
Leading Seattle's list of potential free agents is Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant, coming off the best season of his career. Trufant had seven interceptions in the regular season, one more in the Seahawks' wild-card win over Washington, and earned his first Pro Bowl selection.
Even though he is a Seattle-area native and has played his entire career for the Seahawks, Trufant didn't make it a sure bet on Sunday that he will return.
``I love the organization. I know the organization loves me. But that only goes so far,'' Trufant said. ``There is always a business side of it. We may want things to be done exactly how we want them to be done, but it can't always be that way.''
Among Seattle's other major unrestricted free agents are kicker Josh Brown, offensive tackle Sean Locklear and receiver D.J. Hackett. Versatile fullback Leonard Weaver, who became the heir apparent to Mack Strong this season, is a restricted free agent.
Brown was in the same position a year ago, and when a long-term deal couldn't be reached, Seattle slapped its franchise tag on the talented kicker. Brown, who made 32 of 40 field goals in the regular season and playoffs, wouldn't mind getting franchised again, but wants a lengthy contract.
``I learned that it's frustrating, but it's part of the business,'' Brown said of last year's negotiations. ``I'm optimistic that we're going to get something done. Ultimately, both parties have to agree.''
For Hackett, Locklear and Weaver, free agency will be a first-time experience.
``I've never been through this. I understand how it works, but as far as when it will get done ... it's a waiting game, I guess,'' Locklear said.
Along with its own free agents, Seattle will be looking to upgrade at tight end, a point made clear by Marcus Pollard's struggles in Saturday's loss. Pollard - who dropped a touchdown and fumbled his only reception - hinted after the loss that he may retire.
There are also concerns on the offensive line, which has been unable to produce a viable, consistent running game since Steve Hutchinson left for Minnesota before the 2006 season. Sims never took command of his position and was in a rotation with Floyd Womack by the end of the season. The other guard, Chris Gray, is 37, and All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones will turn 34 next Saturday.
Still, even with a lackluster run game and a spotty offensive line, Hasselbeck's passing and the Seattle defense was good enough to win a fourth-straight division title. And there's been little evidence from its NFC West foes that anything will change in the future.
``I think, if anything, we just realize how close we are,'' Hasselbeck said.
 

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