Seahawks present $20K to Cleveland High School football team

May 24, 2018, 4:14 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm
cleveland high school...
The Seahawks present a $20,000 grant to Cleveland High School's football program May 24, 2018. Safeway donated 250 cases of food. (Matt Pitman, KIRO Radio)
(Matt Pitman, KIRO Radio)

The Seattle Seahawks weren’t expected to show up at the Cleveland High School Eagle’s annual Talon Awards Wednesday night. But they did. And that was just the first surprise.

“On behalf of the Seattle Seahawks, we want to donate some football equipment worth $20,000 to the football team,” said Seattle Seahawk Marcus Smith.

Smith was joined by teammates Dion Jordan and Tedric Thompson, along with Blitz and the Seagals.

RELATED: Seattle’s neglected high school football team

The Cleveland High School Eagles has been referred to as Seattle’s forgotten football team. The school’s field is in such poor shape, the players cannot use it. It’s the only school in town without its own football field. Players often walk or bus miles with their equipment to practice at other facilities. The equipment at Cleveland isn’t much better. Players also have little access to decent food before they take the field. Contrasting Cleveland High School with Seattle’s other schools, it is clear how these players could feel forgotten.

The Seahawks want to change the game for the Eagles with a $20,000 grant, provided through the NFL Foundation. Safeway also announced Wednesday that it will provide 250 cases of food to go toward the school’s athletic program next year.

“When you have the Seahawks coming to your place, there’s no way in the world you can feel like you don’t matter,” said Cleveland High School Football Coach Paul Arnold. “… just being able to have new equipment, legacy equipment, have safe equipment, it’s just a big morale boost.”

“It’s just another thing to show our kids matter and that their hard work is paying off,” he said.

Arnold said this is one of the biggest things to ever happen at Cleveland High School.

Cleveland High School

Truth Caradine is a runningback for the Eagles. He was surprised yet motivated by the Seahawks grant. He’s hoping that the support gives the team the edge they need to make it to the playoffs next season.

“Without support, that’s how most people give up,” Caradine said. “But if you have support. Like a system behind you, a good team, good coach, anybody behind you, you will always have that extra driving force behind you and that is going to help keep you going.”

“Like the food that was given to us, the donation, that is something that is really going help Cleveland’s push, and take us to the next level,” Cardine said. “Now we got snacks to keep people healthy, keep people from getting hungry, and keep people hydrated.”

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Wednesday’s announcement came together after Paul Johns heard about some of the struggles at the school. Johns is a former Seahawk who now heads up the Seahawks youth sports program.

“We found out a lot of players don’t eat before they go to practice and they are performing tremendously without having food and with some of the challenges they are having,” Johns said. “We want to do what we can to make them feel better, let them know we appreciate what they are doing. And then give them some new stuff; it always makes you feel better to have some new things.”

The Seahawks also made a special mention of Ron and Don at the event, noting that they have drawn attention to the issues at the school and with the football team.

MyNorthwest’s Dyer Oxley contributed to this report.

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Seahawks present $20K to Cleveland High School football team