Joe Roberts has dream job with the Seahawks

By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

Perry Bryant, left, and Joe Roberts are Seahawks Kicking Ball Boys. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

This is the second of a two-part interview with East Wenatchee resident Joe Roberts, who is a Kicking Ball Boy for the Seattle Seahawks. Click here for the first installment.

Next time you watch a Seahawks game on TV and the camera pans the sidelines, look for a man with a bright orange “K” on his vest and you will no doubt see Joe Roberts or his friend and sidekick Perry Bryant, both residents of East Wenatchee. They are known as the K-Boys, or Kicking Ball Boys, for the Seattle Seahawks.

Their job is to throw in the kicking ball when needed for a fourth down punt, a field goal attempt or following a touchdown. Roberts covers the home team side of the field during the first half, while Bryant throws in for the away team, switching after the half. Both teams use the same kicking balls.

“We throw the ball in from the sidelines to the line judge who then throws it to the umpire to place for the team,” Roberts said. “It keeps us pretty busy. We have to stay on the ball,” he laughs.

In addition to their job as K-Boys, the men help prepare the locker room for a game. They also air the footballs four hours prior to the game. “After making make sure each football has 12½ pounds pressure, we take them to the officials’ locker room,” Roberts said. “The officials check each ball and initial it, indicating it is the correct pressure.”

Following the game, the men help clean up the locker room and launder the players’ uniforms before heading home from a long day.

The guys leave East Wenatchee at 6 in the morning on game day and get back home around midnight. “It’s okay though,” Roberts says. “We’re too wound up after a game to sleep so we might as well drive home.”

Roberts and Bryant work all home games but only help at a few out-of-town games. “I used to travel to away games more often,” Roberts said. “When I do go, I throw in the playing ball instead of the kicking ball. The playing ball or game ball is used for offensive plays and I have to be ready with a ball for every down.”

Each team furnishes their own game ball personnel to throw in the offensive playing ball. The home team provides the Kicking Ball Boys for both teams at a home game.

During his 27-year career helping the Seahawks, Roberts has met many players and coaches. He proudly displays a picture of himself standing on the field with former coach Mike Holmgren.

“The Seahawk team, coaches and support staff function like one big family,” Roberts said. “Pete Carroll is mainly responsible for the feeling of love and acceptance we share. He is a great guy as well as a great coach.”

Roberts’ boss Eric Kennedy answers directly to Carroll. “Carroll is a good delegator and lets people do their jobs without micromanaging. We know what to do and do it,” Roberts adds.

Over 20 support staff work for the Seahawks. “We do get paid, which is good because we need state industrial insurance in case we would get hurt on the sidelines,” Roberts said. “Our toes are literally touching the line. I got run down once, but was not hurt. When I first started working for the Hawks, I worked free gratis which was plenty okay with me. Just to be down there on the field was a big deal.”

Bryant is in his 18th year helping as a K-Boy for the Seahawks. When the job came open for another K-Boy, Roberts thought of Perry and introduced him to the person doing the hiring. He got the job and the two have been taking turns driving to home games ever since. “I love what I do,” Bryant said. “If you are a football fan, it’s a great job.”

“You have to be a football fan to appreciate how lucky we are,” Roberts concluded.

I am sure all football fans would totally agree.