JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Marquand Manuel took a step back. All he wanted to do was watch the celebration.
Eight years ago, Manuel — then a safety for Seattle — was joyous on the field after the Seahawks reached their first Super Bowl by beating the Carolina Panthers in the NFC title game.
So when the Seahawks were back celebrating again two Sunday's ago after beating San Francisco, the enjoyment for Manuel was just in watching.
"The easiest thing is to make sure the guys cherish the moment," said Manuel, now an assistant defensive coach for the Seahawks on Pete Carroll's staff. "It's not about what you did yesterday, it's about what you did today."
Manuel has a unique distinction as Sunday's Super Bowl against Denver approaches. Manuel is the only player or coach who was on Seattle's only other Super Bowl team that lost to Pittsburgh 21-10 in Detroit in February 2006.
And for Manuel there is a feeling of coming full circle because the other time he went to the Super Bowl with Seattle, he was left watching and not by choice.
"I never got hurt," Manuel said. "And it happened."
It was midway through the second quarter when Manuel was injured tackling Pittsburgh's Hines Ward on an 18-yard, end-around run. Manuel appeared to get tangled up with equipment beyond the sideline boundary at the end of his tackle.
That left former practice squad player Etric Pruitt as Seattle's free safety for the final 2½ quarters. Pruitt, then in his second season from Southern Mississippi, was signed to the active roster in November that season and had played in 11 career games. And Manuel knew immediately after Willie Parker raced 75 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter to give Pittsburgh a 14-3 lead that Seattle was in trouble.
"I get hurt 8 minutes into the second quarter on a fluke play that I've made a million times and I'm not able to come back. (The) 75-yard run doesn't happen. The halfback pass never happens. Now you're talking about a 14-10 game which is totally different. Now it's a slugfest and the best team wins and I would have put money on our offense to score points," Manuel said. "From that standpoint it always sat with me. It always sat with me that if I ever had the opportunity; and that's what I try and instill to the players is take advantage of it because it's been eight years and I'm just getting back and it's not promised to anybody."