Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
August 4, 2008 4:00 PM
Posted by Jose Romero
Coach Holmgren stopped to talk to reporters after the Monday special teams practice and was asked about retiring OL Chris Gray. It was funny when he smirked at me and said "This is my day off," sarcastically. Holmgren typically talks to media about every other day.
Q: Thoughts on Gray's announcement?
A: "He's one of the players, when I walk away I'll look back upon and say, 'He made it worthwhile for me to coach. That's why I coach, is a player like Chris Gray.' The other day when we found out what the decision was going to be, next to him, I felt worse than anybody else. Because he has been a trooper. A loyal guy. Dependable. Tough. Better player than he got credit for. I'll miss him. I really will miss him."
Gray won't totally be out of the picture. Holmgren plans to have him come to practices and help out with the offensive linemen, serving as an extra set of eyes the way FB Mack Strong did after his retirement last season.
"This was pretty much of a stunner for everybody," Holmgren said.
August 4, 2008 12:13 PM
Posted by Jose Romero
The veteran of 15 NFL seasons called it quits today, out of pure necessity. He was told by Seahawks doctors that he was at risk for possible paralysis if he didn't stop football immediately after hurting his lower back on the second day of training camp. So Gray, who is married with two kids, bid farewell after a long and strong career that saw him play 208 games.
Gray came to the Seahawks in 1998 from Chicago in free agency. He came to Seattle as a center but moved to right guard for good in 2001. From 2000 to 2007, Gray missed just one game, the regular-season finale at Tampa Bay in 2006.
Gray said he still feels tingling in his legs and lower back soreness but expects to fully recover. After many years as a starter, including last season, he was slated to be a backup at center and right guard this season.
Gray was poised and even funny with his comments, revealing a side of his personality rarely seen, even by the media who cover the team day in and day out. Gray was never one to say much and downplayed his "Ironman" streak of 121 consecutive regular-season games, a team record he set in 2006.
PS from Jose -- My relationship with Chris was very cordial. He was always an approachable guy who gave honest responses, and his humility about his career and accomplishments was refreshing. Being the good-natured guy that he is, he shook mine and all the other beat writers' hands as we lined up after his news conference today to wish him well. One of the things that struck me was how proud he was that he was a big part of the the Super Bowl run in 2005.
The Seahawks placed Gray on injured reserve and brought back DL Kevin Brown, who was with the team at its May mini-camp before being released. Brown made his training camp practice debut this morning.
Seventeen players missed the morning practice, including Gray, who will not be back. TE Jeb Putzier was back, as was OT Kyle Williams for the first time since Saturday's scrimmage. Putzier had a sore hip that kept him out since last Wednesday. DL Chris Cooper did not practice this morning.