Seahawk mom shares sons' football dreams

Seahawk mom shares sons' football dreams
Seattle Seahawks' Paul McQuistan stretches before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
LEBANON, Ore. (AP) — When twin brothers Paul and Pat McQuistan were 8 years old, their older sister challenged them at a local running track, saying she would run twice as far as they did.

She had to stop them at seven miles.

That's when their mother, Terrie, first realized the competitiveness — with each other and in general — of her red-haired sons, born six minutes apart on April 30, 1983.

But today, when Paul — now 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds — steps onto MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, N. J., as an offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, his brother Pat will be cheering as loudly as anyone in the stadium.

As an NFL player himself over the last eight years, Pat (6-6, 317 pounds) knows full well the pressures his brother will face as the Seahawks, 15-3, take on the Denver Broncos, 15-3, led by Super Bowl XLI-winning champion quarterback Peyton Manning.

"They have always been competitive with each other, but they are each other's biggest fans," Terrie McQuistan said last week from her home in Lebanon.

McQuistan lives in the same house her seven children grew up in on Grant Street, although it has been completely remodeled, thanks to her sons.

"They offered to build me a new house," she said from the family room that was once a two-car garage. "I don't know why I didn't take them up on it."

Three large couches provide comfortable spaces for family members to watch games on a big-screen TV on the Sundays when they can't get to Seattle.

Photos, helmets and other NFL memorabilia — including a football signed by Paul and Pat — decorate the home.

Terrie and several other family members will be at the Super Bowl, and although she doesn't like to bother her sons on game day, she plans to text Paul about 90 minutes before kickoff:

"Are you excited? I hope you can take a few minutes and soak in all you have done and what it means to be where you are. I'm so very proud of you. Enjoy your week and your game. Play safe, play smart and savor the memories you're making. God has truly blessed all our dreams and your deep desires and determination. Love, Mom"

And, as she has for many years, she will be waving one of two gray T-shirts Paul and Pat wore under their football jerseys at Lebanon High School.

"They went shopping for something to wear under their shoulder pads and came home with this," Terrie said with a broad grin, holding up a shirt with an imprint that reads, "Mommy's Little Stinker."

Terrie said she takes the jersey to every game and waves it.

She's added some extras to the shirt for the Super Bowl, including Paul's high school and Weber State jersey number, 76, and his Seahawks' number, 67. And, "To the Super Bowl 2014."

It's easy to see that family and God are the most important things in Terrie McQuistan's life. Divorced in the early 1990s, she cared for her seven children — who remain tight-knit — by herself with support from her extended family.

"They are both great kids," their mother said, although she admitted that like most brothers, they loved to roughhouse as kids, often egged on by relatives. "Sometimes, it was total chaos, but they love each other very much."

Their work ethic was learned early in life, helping on their uncle Tony Wahl's sheep farm and working for area grass seed growers.

"They worked during harvest and also built things like corrals," Terrie said. "They learned the value of a good work ethic early in life."

Both Paul and Pat focused on sports at an early age. Paul was the more quiet of the two and always gravitated toward football.

Pat is the jolly one who loves to kid around. He was into all sports and actually hoped to be a baseball pitcher in college.

The twins' athletic paths diverged for a short time after graduating from Lebanon High School in 2001.

Paul signed with Weber State in Ogden, Utah. Pat tried to get a college baseball career going in Washington state, but he couldn't get his fastball over 90 mph consistently, picked up transfer credits at Linn-Benton Community College and then reunited as a lineman with his brother at Weber State.

"I was working 70 hours a week at the time and would get off work at 6 o'clock Friday morning," their mother said. "My daughter Tammie and I would drive 11 hours to Ogden to watch home games. We didn't miss many."

Paul's NFL career has taken him to the Oakland Raiders (2006-09), Jacksonville Jaguars (2009), Cleveland Browns (2010) and, since 2011, Seattle.

Pat has bounced around even more than his brother: Dallas Cowboys, 2006-09; Miami Dolphins, 2010; Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints, 2011; Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals, 2012; and Jacksonville and Tennessee, 2013.

"I think the NFL has missed an opportunity by not having both boys on the same team," Terrie said. "They have always known how to work together. They are mirror twins. Hiring two of them would be like getting three players."

McQuistan said she wasn't surprised that both of her sons made it to the NFL. Paul was drafted in the third round by Oakland, and Pat was taken in the seventh round by Dallas.

"I knew they could face the challenge if they wanted to go for it," Terrie said. "I think a parent should plant encouraging seeds for their children, and I did that several years ago."

Terrie opened a small tin replica of a football locker that once held candy bars. Inside Paul's she wrote, "Perhaps you'll have an NFL locker of your own someday. Love, mom "04" and in Pat's she noted, " Twin NFL lockers. It can happen. Love, mom."

McQuistan said both boys have remained grounded and have taken care of themselves financially for the long term.

The boys married Lebanon girls, for whom the NFL experience has been "an incredible ride," Terrie said.

"It has been a lot of adjusting for the girls, but they are incredible supportive," she said.

Paul is married to Jana Rieke of Lebanon. They have 1-year-old twin sons and are expecting another baby. Pat is married to Amy Danielson; they have three boys.

Both families live in the Lebanon-Scio area during the off-season.

Like any mother, Terrie worries about her sons' health and safety.

"I often text them before games reminding them to 'play safe, play smart,'" McQuistan said. "So far, fortunately, neither has had a serious head injury. I want them to be able to play with their own boys someday. It's really hard as a parent when you're sitting in the stands watching them and can't do anyhing to help."

Neither brother has completed his college degree, but both are close, Terrie said.

"They love to build things," she said. "They will probably get into contracting after the NFL."

Pat hasn't yet been picked up by a team for 2014 and Paul becomes a free agent after the Super Bowl.

Terrie doesn't think her sons will have trouble acclimating to life after football.

"They both like to hunt and fish," their mother said. "They still get together with their friends from high school.

As proud and excited as Terrie is about Paul playing in the Super Bowl, she is especially happy that this year, another son is safely home after serving three tours of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Air Force.

"Whenever I see the flag at football games, I think of our guys who are overseas fighting so we can be at games like this," Terrie said.

Although she admits her family has been blessed having two NFL players, there also have been drawbacks, Terrie said.

"When they both were drafted, I thought, 'There goes the holidays,'" she said. "NFL games are on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had Thanksgiving dinner in the Dallas Cowboys parking lot, but we've also had some really good times."