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Seahawks linebacker learns his lesson

Leroy Hill learns about U.S. military during brief visit to JBLM Exchange to meet Soldiers, sign autographs

Published: 02:18PM November 20th, 2012
Seahawks linebacker learns his lesson

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill poses for a photo with sisters Piper, 6, middle, and Holley Tsairis, 3, while their mother, Valerie, watches off camera.

Leroy Hill started the Seattle Seahawks bye week with a lesson about the U.S. military.

The linebacker stopped by the JBLM Exchange on Lewis Main Nov. 13 for a meet and greet with service members and their families. Hill signed autographs, posed for photos and learned a lot from the fans in military uniform.

“Football is the ultimate team sport,” Hill said. “And I figure the military is the same way.”

Exchange General Manager Patrick McGhee asked service members in uniform to explain their ranks, their unit patches and their their jobs in their units. McGhee helped Hill better understand by relating the military to the National Football League by finding similarities between I Corps and the Seahawks’ front office.

The first unit patch Hill saw was the Indianhead of 2nd Infantry Division on the shoulder of Sgt. Shane Fale, a lifelong Seahawks fan. Fale had just finished a 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. night shift, and rather than going home to sleep, he traveled straight to the Exchange to be the first fan in line to meet Hill.

“Super Bowl or bust,” Fale said.

Hill signed a Seahawks football Fale owns, which also featured Golden Tate and Aaron Curry signatures. It was worth losing sleep to Fale, who is preparing for a move to the East Coast.

The meet and greet took place two days after the Seahawks’ Salute to Service game Nov. 11 against the New York Jets. Hill notched six tackles in Seattle’s 28-7 win over the Jets. Before flying home to Alabama to spend the Week 11 bye week, Hill made a point to stop by JBLM for personal interaction with his fans.

“They show us support all the time,” Hill said. “No matter what our record is, we always appreciate that support. That’s why we do things like this to come back and give to them.”

For two hours Hill met with fans, even those who admitted their loyalty to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 6-foot-1 linebacker met his youngest fan in 4-week-old Madison Blackburn, whose grandfather is a retired Airman. Hill was reticent at first, but agreed to hold young Madison while her family took photos of the baby cradled in his large hands.

Hill has been a member of the Seahawks for eight years and has visited JBLM before, including the team visit two years ago when he and teammates ran a military obstacle course on Lewis North. Fans who waited at the Exchange were able to meet a member of an NFL defense that at one point this season was ranked No. 1 in the league.

“We rockin’ and rollin,’” Hill said. “All the pieces are in place finally to have a top-five dominant defense. We have a lot of confidence — a lot of swagger.”