When the Seahawks take the field Thursday night for their last preseason game, it will be the final audition for a number of players fighting to make the team.
But what happens to the players who have to hang up their cleats and call it a career?
Imagine going from a routine cacophony of stadium cheers to the silence of football retirement.
For former Seahawks and Broncos standout Dave Wyman, it was pretty tough to suddenly have nothing to do on Sundays after nearly a decade in the NFL.
“There was a lot of days for a few years where I would wake up after a reoccurring dream with a team calling me, telling me, and they want me to come out of retirement and play for them,” Wyman said. “I would wake up and have an empty feeling.”
Wyman is now a radio talk show host on 710 ESPN Seattle, and does the pre- and post-game shows for Seahawks games. So he’s still involved. But for the first two years after retiring, he says he could barely even watch a game.
“The first year that the football camp started without me, it was like standing on a dock and watching everybody you know and love sail away, and just leave you behind,” he said. “Because you feel like, ‘this game can’t go on without me playing it. I’ve been doing it since I was 14 years old.'”
Wyman admits he didn’t have a plan post-football. For a while, he sat around on the couch. His wife finally told him to go do something. He threw himself into things like his family and becoming a financial adviser.
Other guys aren’t so lucky. Former Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant often talks with younger players and tries to help them plan for the future.
“You hear about all the horror stories; the 80 percent of guys going broke, guys having mental issues, marital issues,” Trufant said. “I’ve always tried to be on the opposite side of that. I’ve really tried to stay true to that. It’s always been a focus to be a step ahead of the game.”
Trufant planned for several years before leaving the NFL. He invested in several businesses and formed a charity that would keep him busy after football.
And like Wyman, he needed to get away from the game — at least for awhile.
“When it first happened, it was like a fresh wound,” he said. “I couldn’t go over there, I couldn’t watch practice every day. You still have that love. It’s almost like a crazy addiction and you still want to be a part of.”
But neither Trufant nor Wyman have been able to stay away entirely. They’re broadcasting on the subject and they do events. But there are plenty of times they’d love nothing more than to get back out on the field — at least one more time.
“You know, you kind of daydream,” Trufant said. “If I’m watching the game, I can picture myself being in the game and what I would have done in this situation. Or I think I could still do that. But I’ll have a conversation with myself: ‘No Marcus. Maybe your rookie year, or your second year in the NFL. But you’re a different guy now.'”
“I watch the games. I’m a fan. And I can consider myself a 12 now,” he said.