For Schottenheimer’s family, the struggle with Alzheimer’s is ongoing. Marty Schottenheimer, one of the winningest coaches in NFL history, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s not long after his coaching career came to an end. In recent years, especially as his father’s condition has worsened, Brian and his family have tried to find more ways to raise money and awareness.
“We’ve always wanted to give back, and this is something that is near and dear to my heart because of my father being affected,” he said. “It’s hard to see somebody who was such a regimented person and so organized, and to see what this disease has done to him is hard to watch. So any little difference we can make would be great.”
Early in his coaching career, Brian spent six seasons as an assistant under his father in Kansas City, Washington and San Diego. Those years were particularly special to Brian in part because of the time together they missed when he was younger due his father’s job.
“We had a special bond. It was always a dream of mine to coach with him, No. 1 because I think he’s one of the best who’s ever done it,” Brian Schottenheimer said. “I loved some of the things he did, the fundamentals he preached, the discipline he preached, accountability. I missed a lot of time with him as a child, when you’re a kid, they’re busy, they’re gone—I experience the same thing with my kid now—so when you get a chance to coach with him, not only do you see him in a different light, but I was also excited to try to help him. I was excited to try to help him win a Super Bowl—we never were able to do it, but it was an awesome, awesome experience. There’s a special bond already, but working with him added to that relationship.”
Now, however, he has to watch his father and his family suffer through a battle with Alzheimer’s, a harsh contrast to the great times they had working together at three NFL stops.
“He’s hanging in there,” Schottenheimer said. “He tries to stay active when he can, he doesn’t travel like he used to. It’s definitely getting worse.”
Seeing his father’s condition worsen has caused Schottenheimer to realize he needs to do more in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
“His condition has kind of woken me up to say, ‘Hey, I need to do more, I want to do more and I’m excited to do more,’” he said.
Schottenheimer, Burr-Kirven and Iupati’s stories are just three of many personal experiences that have inspired the shoed that will be worn this weekend. Roughly 30 players will wear customized shoes this weekend, as will Seahawks president Chuck Arnold (One Love), general manager John Schneider (Ben’s Fund), head athletic trainer David Stricklin (National Athletic Trainers’ Association) and Vulcan Sports & Entertainment CEO Chris McGowan (Girls Inc.), as well as Seahawks Legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones (Ben’s Fun and House of Harvest).
In addition to raising awareness with their shoes, players will also raise money through an online auction of their shoes, which is already ongoing at auctions.seahawks.com.
Left tackle Duane Brown, who will represent the American Diabetes Association with his shoes, said of the ‘My Cause, My Cleats’ initiative, “A lot of us, we come from all walks of life, and we all have things that are special to us, things that we care about, things that inspire us, reasons that we play, all types of things. Having ‘My Cause, My Cleats’ is a way to display that. Display things that are important to you, things that inspire you, things that may have affected you in your lifetime or affected those close to you, or affect our world as a whole. It’s very special they do that.”