Even if the Seattle Seahawks win Super Bowl 49, defensive tackle Landon Cohen isn’t going to Disneyland.
Win or lose, he’s returning to Spartanburg, South Carolina, to resume the valet parking job he held before the Seahawks signed him Jan. 5.
“Every little kid, if you play football, this is the pinnacle of playing American football: the Super Bowl,” Cohen said this week. “So what I’m going to attempt to do is be present in every moment and just embrace everything that goes around it. When game time comes, do the same thing. And after it’s over, just keep on going. Right when I get back home I’ll probably have an event to work. I’ll be back working again, which is fine by me.”
The valet service Cohen started with some high school buddies in 2011 and ’12 has always been more than a job to him. The income may have come in handy after Buffalo released him last summer. But he portrays The Valet LLC as a chance to benefit his hometown. It was, he said, a chance to serve. And when Cohen uses that word, he makes it sound sacred.
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“Basically the reason that I started this was I was in a place where I felt like I needed to serve,” he said. “You live in America, it’s a capitalistic place, so I figured I could find a way to serve people and also make money. Service, that’s what we do. … I get gratitude out of being able to serve people and make their life easier.”
Cohen believes his valet company has found just the right spot in Spartanburg: the middle of a dining district where patrons can drop off their car in one spot convenient to several nearby restaurants.
Cohen also was in just the right spot Sunday, in the middle of the defensive line that produced two goal-line stands that forced the Green Bay Packers into field goals, when touchdowns might have made Seattle’s comeback margin insurmountable.
“Held them to three points,” Cohen said. “That’s a team effort. It takes 11 guys to be scrambling and scratching and crawling and doing whatever they have to do to keep them out of the end zone.”
Cohn joined the NFL in 2008, drafted in the seventh round by Detroit after playing at Ohio University. Over two seasons as a Lion, he played in 20 games, including four starts in 2009. But he rarely saw the field over his next two seasons, split between Jacksonville and New England. In 2012, he was out of football. He came back in 2013, playing a couple of games with Dallas and 13 with Chicago. In 2014, he reported to Buffalo and thought he was doing a good job, but didn’t make the final roster.
That sent him back to Spartanburg, setting the alarm earlier so that he could work out before parking cars. Finally, he received a call from the reigning Super Bowl champions.
“He’s not lucky — he just got on the right team,” Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said. “He’s been playing, he just had to go through the ringer of the NFL — being cut and keep coming back, that’s one of the hardest things for people to do. … Once you get cut, come back, get cut again and have to come back, and you keep fighting — that’s something about his spirit, that’s why that’s good for our team.”
Cohen says he’ll be happy if his parking-to-playoffs story is publicized during Super Bowl week and ends up being good for business at The Valet LLC. But otherwise, he tries to separate his parking life from his pro football life. He doesn’t usually tell the people whose car he parks that he’s an NFL player. He says it changes the person-to-person dynamics when one is suddenly asking for autographs.
“Everybody has a story,” he said. “Everybody goes through whatever they have to go through to get to different things. The Super Bowl is big, but I’m sure that after I’m done playing football I’ll do something that’s bigger than the Super Bowl.”
CARROLL: THOMAS, SHERMAN WILL BE FINE FOR SUPER BOWL
Earl Thomas did some limited practicing Friday during the indoor workout, and Richard Sherman was again fully participating. Coach Pete Carroll said afterward both All-Pro defensive backs will be good to go to play in the Super Bowl in nine days.
Thomas separated his left shoulder during last weekend’s NFC title game and Sherman injured his elbow to the point he held his pained left arm into his chest during plays in the fourth quarter. But both finished the game.
“Richard did everything (in practice). He took every play this week and looked fine,” Carroll said. “That’s a big statement that Earl’s going to be fine for next week.
“It’s going to take (Thomas) all the way until game time — we will keep him from getting banged but he will be fine by game time.”
The coach said starting right tackle Justin Britt should be ready for the game after missing last weekend’s with a knee injury. Such are the rewards of this bye week.
KEARSE GETS HIS MOMENTO
When Jermaine Kearse caught the 35-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to win the NFC title for the Seahawks last weekend, the wide receiver from Lakewood immediately threw it into the stands.
Friday, Kearse got back the ball from the biggest catch of his life.
Scott Shelton, the fan who caught the ball in the stands, delivered it to Kearse inside team headquarters following practice.
Shelton (who reportedly has a criminal past for firearm possession) was also reported to have turned down a memorabilia dealer’s offer of $20,000 for the ball. So what was his reward for returning the ball to Kearse instead?
“I gave him a pair (of my Super Bowl tickets),” Kearse said.
Thursday, Seahawks nickel back Jeremy Lane said of Patriots hulking, unanimous All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski: “I actually don’t think he’s that good.”
Friday, Carroll had his tongue in his cheek when he said: “Jeremy hadn’t watched film yet.”
The Seahawks have invited fans to line the streets of the City of SeaTac to send the team off for their Sunday morning flight to the Super Bowl. The team suggests fans start lining up along a 1.1-mile route on South 188th Street starting at 46th Avenue South towards 28th Avenue South beginning at 9 a.m. … The team is scheduled to land in Phoenix around 1 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday. … The Patriots are due to arrive Monday afternoon.