Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
December 8, 2008 2:57 PM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Coach Mike Holmgren said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, tackle Walter Jones and linebacker Leroy Hill all will be evaluated over the next two days and decisions will be made on their status on Wednesday when the Seahawks begin practice for the Rams.
"The one that seems to be a little more problematic is Leroy Hill," Holmgren said. "His strength isn't coming back the way you would hope or he needs to play. Now, that could change, though, but right now it looks like he's the bigger problem."
Holmgren was asked about the thought that with Jones and Hasselbeck being two of the best players on the offense -- the only two Pro Bowlers from 2007 -- whether there would be a consideration of just giving them the rest of the season off to let them heal up.
"If a player is healthy he should play," Holmgren said. "In fairness to his teammates, first of all. It's a team sport. We talk about team unity and battling for each other, all that kind of stuff. As soon as you start doing things like that – if a guy can play – you're not being true to your word. My own philosophy is if they can play, they play.
"The really great players, the good players, the players that I've had that love this game, want to play. They want to play. They would fight a coach that says you can't play, I'm doing it for these reasons if they could play. I don't know many good players that say, 'OK, I'll sit it out. Thank you.' They'd say, 'No. I'm playing.' "
Hasselbeck and Jones definitely fall into that category of playing through pain and injuries, exemplified by the fact that until Sunday, Jones had not missed a game because of injury since 1997. Hasselbeck rigorously rehabilitated his back injury to return this season.
"I've never had better guys that way than those two," Hasselbeck said. "Walter's a warrior. He's played through any number of injuries and hasn't missed much time. And Matt had to do his sacrifice and what he had to go through to come back this season and play. It's pretty remarkable, really."
Holmgren was asked about Jones' future. He is 34 and
"This is one man's opinion and it's not going to be worth much in about a month," Holmgren said. "But I would say if you look at Walter Jones that way, you're making a huge mistake. That's me. He has a little knee injury, but he was having a great year. I mean he graded out well. He was having a fine year, and his shoulder problems that he's had, they were fine. He had them fixed. He was on his way to the Pro Bowl again. He might still go to the Pro Bowl. I think around the league he is still recognized as one of the guys.
"But every team has to look at how they're going to fix things. And you don't want to get too many players too old, but I don't think he falls into that category. I think with Walter, as long as he's playing the way he's playing, you let him play as long as he wants to play."