I was thinking, if I could write a letter to Antoine Winfield to try and convince him to come to Seattle like back in the old days before the internet made it seem creepy to do so (LOL), what would I say? Well, here's what I would say to him.
Dear Mr. Winfield,
When word broke that the Vikings handed you your release on March 12th, the 12th Man immediately perked up and thought about the possibilities. This is a very smart fan base, one that actually knows about other teams and players around the league. A lot of that has to do with years of futility, spent toiling away watching draft prospect after draft prospect, hoping for someone who could help turn things around. Even you, for instance, were once a possibility to help turn the Seahawks around coming out of college. Buckeye/Seahawk (they exist, we are everywhere) fans everywhere must have been going nuts in 1999 when the Seahawks were on the clock and you were still on the board. They must have gone even crazier when Seattle pulled the trigger on Lamar King of Saginaw Valley State. With all due respect to Mr. King, he's not the guy a grown man is writing an open letter to right now.
Ask any Vikings fan about you and your release is still a sore subject to them. As is your potential departure. This shows the type of player you were during your time with the Vikings and the player you still are. It also shows what kind of leadership you bring to the team and the respect you command in the community. All of these things must be tough to leave behind. You've got your family situated in Minnesota. I can't imagine this kind of decision. I uprooted once. From New York City to Pullman, Washington but that was just a kid going to college. This wasn't a man leading his family halfway across the damn country. I actually think that I respect you most for still considering staying in Minnesota despite the fact that you were given your release. I think that speaks a lot to the type of character you possess and it's impressive in this day and age.
But Antoine, the city of Seattle needs you. No, the city of Seattle deserves you. You've paid your dues to the league. You paid your dues to the great cities of Buffalo (love the grit!) and Minnesota. You and Seattle deserve each other. Now it's time to cash in on what you deserve. A legitimate chance at a championship. The ever elusive ring that's somehow, wrongfully, managed to evade you for the past 14 years. Over those 14 years you've made play after play at times when your team needed you most. The reckless abandon that you play with, while now being frowned upon around the league, is not something foreign to the Seattle Seahawks. Antoine, you were destined to be a Seahawk. Watching one of your highlight reels is enough to give you chills and make you wonder "wait, this is during an NFL game?!" all the while making you smile because you're glad that players like Antoine Winfield still exist.
It's important that you know that you'd be filling some pretty big shoes. Marcus Trufant, much like yourself, has always been a humble, hard-working guy who has deep-rooted ties to the area. He's played here his whole life, from high school to the NFL. Sadly, it seems that his run with the Hawks might be coming near an end, but I couldn't think of a more honorable replacement than Antoine Winfield. In a dream scenario, the man we call Tru would be on the sidelines helping coach the crew we call the "Legion of Boom" to a Super Bowl victory this season. I know you're a student of the game, so you've watched the film on the Seahawks secondary countless times, but you'd be a perfect fit. The passion, the physicality, the reckless abandon, you've all got that gift. Who knows, maybe you could even teach them a thing or two back there. I wouldn't doubt it. You're that damn good.
Regardless of the decision you make (unless it's Washington!), everyone will understand, especially us Seahawks fans. At the end of the day, you've got to do what you've got to do as a man, especially one with a family. However, from someone who made that trip all the way across the country a few years ago, I'll tell you that the city of Seattle and the state of Washington is my "home away from home." Just ask Heath Farwell, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Darrell Bevell. It won't ever replace Minnesota in your heart, but maybe there's a special place for you in Seattle lore. A chance to be a part of history that not many get the chance to be a part of. This team and this city is waiting to celebrate that 1st Lombardi Trophy. They're waiting to have one of the craziest celebratory parades in sports history. Come join the celebration. Oh, and somebody's got to do the Bernie.
With Much Respect,
The 12th Man