Seahawks, Sounders visit town near fatal mudslide

DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) - A dozen Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC athletes paid a visit Monday to a community center close to the fatal Washington mudslide.

In Darrington, they were met Monday by a crowd of more than 300 children, parents and other area residents. Players say they signed autographs, tossed footballs and kicked soccer balls in an effort to bring some smiles to an area hit by tragedy.

Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith says he signed autographs and posed for photos. In his words, "To be able to offer a little bit of a release or a distraction from what's going on, I mean that's all you can do."

Sounders forward Kenny Cooper told reporters afterward that he played pickup soccer with the kids.

One child, 10-year-old Jacob Spelman, wore an autographed bright green hat commemorating the Seahawks' Super Bowl victory as he spoke to reporters. He says, "I just feel like they care and that they would like it if we felt better."

The March 22 mudslide that hit the rural community of Oso northeast of Seattle has killed at least 24 people.