- Associated Press - Friday, January 17, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - R?yan Asdourian can walk down the?halls of his office building on Microsoft’s Redmond campus and nary a head will turn.

Put him in his Sunday outfit, though, and heads pop out of offices, smartphone cameras appear and one person after another stops to greet him - especially in these days of Seahawks playoff fever.

Such is the double life of Asdourian, 32, a Microsoft employee who is also the man inside the costume of “Blitz,” the Seattle Seahawks mascot.

Most days of the year, Asdourian, a 10-year Microsoft veteran, works on getting developers to create apps for the Windows platform. He’s also become a go-to guy for product demos and presentations at company events, most recently at Microsoft’s annual shareholders meeting last November.

On game-day Sundays and for charity events, Asdourian dons the blue fuzzy-headed, big-beaked Blitz costume, which adds muscular padding and 3 inches to his already 6-foot-tall frame. His weekday presentation patter goes silent while his physical antics grow bolder and bigger.

“When I’m in the costume, there is a character for Blitz,” Asdourian said in an interview this week at his Microsoft office. “You transform.”

Blitz, he said, “is the Seahawks‘ biggest fan. He pumps up the crowd, loves kids, loves to be goofy, has a lot of fun. You’re excited and you’re representative of the team, so you end up walking a little bit differently, carrying that excitement with you.”

Asdourian, who has been Blitz since 2006, was revealed to the public as the man behind the mask several years ago when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned it while both men were presenting at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Since then, Asdourian’s personal life has crossed over with his Blitz persona a bit more as he, with the Seahawks‘ support, started Team Blitz to raise money for research and education on multiple sclerosis. Asdourian was diagnosed with MS in 2008.

And he was recently featured on a Microsoft website that highlights interesting employees and projects.

But, clearly, not all employees had heard of Asdourian’s double life.

Earlier this week, as Asdourian strode through the lobby of his Microsoft office building in full Blitz gear on his way to a photo shoot, a co-worker excitedly stopped him, hoping for a photograph.

“We have a huge party this weekend,” Mike Morton, a senior program manager with Visual Studio, told Blitz as they posed for the photo. “This is going to be the bomb!”

Morton later expressed surprise when his manager told him Blitz was actually a Microsoft employee. He had assumed the mascot was a member of the Seahawks back-office staff.

“I thought: ‘Dude! That’s totally cool!’?” said Morton, who plans to print copies of the photo and hang them all over his house this weekend.

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