Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck have battled for the Tennessee Titans starting-quarterback position throughout the offseason, and the veteran Hasselbeck has taken the competition in stride. Locker made a strong claim to the starting job with an impressive performance Thursday night against the Cardinals. According to Hasselbeck’s former teammate and current analyst Trent Dilfer, Locker couldn’t ask for a better mentor than the one he has this season.
Dilfer and Hasselbeck were teammates in Seattle in 2003, which was the most difficult time of Dilfer’s life. The former quarterback and current analyst tragically lost his 5-year-old son to heart disease. During the ESPN broadcast on Thursday, Dilfer credited Hasselbeck with literally saving his life.
“(Hasselbeck was) walking me through the most difficult time of my life. I mean I was a mess,” Dilfer said, according to Nate Davis of USA TODAY. “I’ll be very transparent. I mean I was 265 pounds and drinking myself to sleep. I’m depressed, my wife’s going, ‘What’s going on?’ And it’s that guy, Matthew Hasselbeck, that says, ‘This is over. I love you too much to let you do this to yourself. You need to come back up to Seattle.’ And I credit Matthew Hasselbeck for the type of father I am, the type of husband I am, because he really saved my life in 2003.
“Jake Locker might be the luckiest guy in the NFL right now. He’s got a good football team, he’s got a great coaching staff, and he’s got the best dude in the world — who probably should be playing — mentoring him and pushing him and teaching him those lessons.”
Obviously the relationship between Dilfer and Hasselbeck extends beyond what most of us can understand. However, the second-year quarterback out of Washington echoed some of Dilfer’s sentiments during his own sideline interview when he thanked Hasselbeck for teaching him how to carry himself both on and off the field.
Hasselbeck has always been a good NFL quarterback and is probably still capable of starting on a few teams across the NFL. The way he has handled himself throughout the offseason has surprised some, but after hearing Dilfer’s story, it sounds like it’s just more of the same from one of the league’s classiest acts.