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Super Bowl Participants to Troops: ‘You’re the Real Heroes’

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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GLENDALE, Ariz., Jan. 27, 2015 — With the National Football League’s all-star game in the rear-view mirror, anticipation for the league’s championship -- the final pro football game of the year -- begins.

The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, the teams preparing to square off Feb. 1 in Super Bowl XLIX, shared their appreciation for U.S. service members serving overseas during media availabilities here yesterday.

Pete Carroll, head coach of the defending champion Seahawks, assured troops the team understands the sacrifice they are making.

“We want to make sure that you understand that the Seahawks know the work that you’re doing,” he said. “We just want to be more like you guys -- we herald the work that you do and the attitude that you bring. I know that the Super Bowl is really exciting to watch. It’s extremely exciting for us too, but if we could be a little bit more like you guys, we have a chance to win this thing.”

Carroll promised his team’s best effort. “So enjoy the heck out of it, and we’ll be thinking about you, and I hope you guys really enjoy the game,” he said.

Players Express Appreciation

Several players from both Super Bowl teams also joined in expressing their appreciation.

Kam Chancellor, a strong safety for the defending champs, offered not only his thanks, but also the gratitude of the team’s fans, who have a moniker that reflects their contribution to the efforts of the 11 Seahawks who are on the field at any given time.

“All the love from the Seahawks, [and] from the [12th man],” he said. “Kam Chancellor right here, man, wishing you the best.”

K.J. Wright, a Seahawks linebacker, said the team plans to “come out there Sunday and put on a good performance for you guys. Stay safe out there.”

His teammate, defensive end Cliff Avril, offered a “big” shoutout on behalf of the team and said the Seahawks hope to put on a show for the troops during the Super Bowl in appreciation of everything they do.

Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty also said his team hopes to put on a good show and thanked service members for everything they do. Matthew Slater, a wide receiver and special teams player for the American Football Conference champions, shared his gratitude for being able to play football for a living.

“Just want to give you guys a big hello,” he said. “And [we] appreciate all that you do for us, allowing us the freedom to play this great game of football that we love so much. You guys are the real heroes; we tip our hats to you. God bless you guys, and stay safe over there.”

Vince Wilfork, a Patriots defensive tackle, said U.S. troops are the “true patriots.”

“Thank you for everything you guys do for us,” he said. “You guys are the true patriots. You are everything we want [to be], so thank you for all the service you guys provide for us.”

(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallDoDNews)