LAKEWOOD NATIVE Jermaine Kearse stood taking it all in—the confetti cascading down, the roar of the crowd, the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy. The second-year wide receiver had just completed the best game of his young pro career—four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown—sealing the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII win. Five months later we sat down with the 24-year-old UW alum (and 12th Man favorite) as he prepared for the 2014–15 season to discuss coach Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, and what it was like growing up as a not-so-devoted Seahawks fan.
As a kid here, did you act out catching a touchdown for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl?
When I was younger, I was more into basketball. I didn’t even play that much football. I wasn’t going to even play football in high school until all my friends started playing, and then I would have had no one to hang out with. [Laughs]
How have you seen the 12th Man evolve?
I don’t remember the fans being like this when I was growing up. When I was growing up, I only went to maybe one or two Sea- hawks games, but the fans take it to another level. They definitely raise the bar very high.
Coach Carroll has the aura of a guy outside of the typical hard-nosed-coaching mold. What’s he like to play for?
He just lets us be ourselves. We don’t gotta pretend to be anyone, you know? And just the energy that he brings to the organization; I mean, he’s 62 years old and he’s running around practice with us and competing with us. It makes it fun to be here.
What makes Russell Wilson such a great quarterback?
Just the way he prepares. He’s always the first one here. He’s always the last one to leave. He takes the time to watch film, to get that extra work in with the receivers, to get that extra work with the timing and chemistry.
Do you feel either a special connection or a burden being the local kid on the team?
[Laughs] Sometimes, sometimes. But, you know, I’ve just received great appreciation and support from the fans all throughout my career, and being able to have that support with my family and my friends here—it’s huge.... I mean, I’m superpopular in Seattle, but when I go somewhere else I'm just another person. [Laughs]
This article appeared in the September 2014 issue of Seattle Met.