Seahawks veteran: Matt Hasselbeck

Last month, at the NFL Draft, speculation was running wild that the Seattle Seahawks were going to draft University of Southern California quarterback Matt Sanchez as the future heir apparent to current starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The rumors were fueled by the fact that the Seahawks aren’t expecting to be that high in the draft order again.

However, when the time came for the Seahawks to draft, they showed confidence in Hasselbeck and his back, which had been injured last year, by drafting Aaron Curry.

Hasselbeck is a three time bowler that made his way to Seattle after being drafted in the sixth round, 187th overall, by the Packers in the 1998 NFL Draft. In 2001, Hasselbeck was traded to the Seahawks.

A few years prior to this, however, Hasselbeck had a bright spot in his personal life when he married his college sweetheart, Sarah Egnaczyk in 2000. They had known each other since high school, and both had been athletes at Boston College. Matt and Sarah also have had three children together.

Amongst much controversy, Hasselbeck’s former coach in Green Bay, coach Mike Holmgren, started Hasselbeck in 2003 over former Super Bowl MVP Trent Dilfer. However, Hasselbeck quickly quieted the critics by putting up strong numbers right away.

In 2005, he had the highest passer rating in the NFC, and led the Seahawks to the playoffs for the third consecutive year, where they made it to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.

In 2006, Hasselbeck had injury problems by getting a second degree sprain when linebacker E.J. Henderson rolled into his leg, as well as breaking fingers on his non-throwing hand when he hit them on a teammate’s helmet. However, despite these injuries, he was still able to lead the Seahawks to a 9 – 7 record and the fourth seed of the playoffs.

Hasselbeck once again led his team to its fourth consecutive divisional title and fifth consecutive playoff appearance in 2007. He also set career highs in yards, passing attempts, and touchdown passes in the 2007 season, and was the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl that year.

2008 was a rough year for Hasselbeck, as in the preseason opener, he suffered a back injury that affected a nerve in his lower back, creating a weakness in his leg that brought on a knee injury. He was treated with injections for his bulging disk, and started the regular season as the starter before injuring his knee against the Giants. Later, he would also receive a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Cardinals. These injuries combined caused Hasselbeck to start in only seven games last year.

In 2009, Seahawk fans hope that the front office’s faith in Hasselbeck pays off, and that he can return to his former pro bowl form and stay injury free. With the high profile offseason additions of Aaron Curry and T.J. Houshmanzadeh, the Seahawks are in position to make a playoff run once again, but Hasselbeck remains the biggest question with his injuries.