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Seahawks Blog

Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
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January 29, 2007

Reinfeldt the front-runner?

Posted by Bob Payne at 11:16 AM

Seahawks vice president of football administration Mike Reinfeldt is the leading candidate to become the Tennessee Titans' next general manager, according to an article in The City Paper of Nashville, Tenn.

Reinfeldt is one of eight finalists, and could be offered the job as soon as this week, according to the article. Reinfeldt, 53, played defensive back for the Titans from 1976-83, when they were the Houston Oilers. Ruston Webster, Seahawks vice president of player personnel, is also one of the eight candidates.

January 24, 2007

Koren Robinson's Minnesota charges

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:21 AM

Koren Robinson agreed to be sentenced on a felony charge of fleeing police this week in Minnesota, but the resolution of that case does not constitute a new violation of his probation from a drunken-driving conviction here in Washington. Here's the story that ran in our paper Wednesday explaining Robinson's agreement in Minnesota.

Here's the status of his Washington case: Robinson was sentenced to 90 days in jail by a Kirkland Municipal Court judge in October for violating the terms of his probation from a 2005 drunken-driving conviction. The probation violations ranged from new legal charges to failing to report a change of address to not following his treatment program.

The court knew of the charges Robinson faced in Minnesota at the time of the October hearing. Matt Knauss is the assistant prosecuting attorney for the City of Medina, and he said Wednesday the resolution of the charges in Minnesota does not affect Robinson's case here in Washington.

Robinson must begin serving his 90-day sentence by Feb. 28. He does not have to serve the sentence in Kirkland, but can be at another court-approved facility at his own expense. Indications are he will serve the sentence in Wisconsin. He signed with the Green Bay Packers and played four games for them last season, but was suspended by the NFL for one year and can't be reinstated before September 18, 2007.

Robinson must still be sentenced on the charge of fleeing police.

January 19, 2007

Reinfeldt, Webster candidates in Tennessee

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 2:33 PM

The Titans asked the Seahawks for permission to talk to Mike Reinfeldt and Ruston Webster about Tennessee's general-manager position.

Reinfeldt is the Seahawks' vice president of football administration, and considered one of the league's premier planners in terms of salary-cap structure. Webster is the vice president of player personnel, someone Seahawks president/GM Tim Ruskell knew from working with in Tampa Bay.

The Seahawks granted permission for both to speak with Tennessee.

Jones, Boulware among offseason surgery possibilities

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:41 PM

Here's a list of players considering offseason surgery. Most procedures would be arthroscopic, meaning less severe recovery time.

Left tackle Walter Jones, knee and shoulder. More of a procedure to clean up the joints. The timetable would be after he participates in the Pro Bowl.

Strong safety Michael Boulware, shoulder and ankle.

Maurice Morris, ankle.

Chris Spencer, both shoulders.

Tom Ashworth, hip.

Matt Hasselbeck underwent surgery on his left shoulder on Thursday, and he might beat the six-month timetable commonly mentioned. It's his non-throwing shoulder so he'll be able to throw before then.

The other note on operations is that defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs underwent microfracture surgery on his knee after going on injured reserve this season. That's a very serious procedure and something that a number of basketball players took a great deal of time coming back from. The hope is Tubbs will be ready for training camp, but this is a surgery that athletes have experienced trouble recovering from.

January 18, 2007

Cardinals hire Austin

Posted by Jose Romero at 4:15 PM

This just in ... the Arizona Cardinals have made it official, hiring former Seahawks assistant coach Teryl Austin to be their defensive backs coach.

That makes two Seahawks assistants who are either officially out or soon to be out of the organization because of other job offers.

Austin's contract with the Seahawks was believed to be expiring soon.

Austin departure imminent

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:21 PM

Those changes in the Seahawks' coaching staff that Mike Holmgren hinted about are taking place. Special team coach Bob Casullo is expected to be named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' tight-ends coach, and today we learned that defensive-backs coach Teryl Austin is close to joining new coach Ken Whisenhunt's staff in Arizona.

Austin, 41, has been with the Seahawks for four seasons. He helped develop current Seahawks Marcus Trufant, Ken Hamlin, Michael Boulware, Jordan Babineaux and Kelly Jennings.

The Cardinals parted ways with their cornerbacks coach from the previous administration, Richard Solomon, earlier this month.

January 17, 2007

Casullo gone?

Posted by Jose Romero at 1:36 PM

An article in today's Tampa Tribune says Seahawks special teams coach Bob Casullo is interviewing and could accept a job as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' tight ends and assistant special teams coach.

If Casullo departs, he'd be reunited with head coach Jon Gruden, for whom he worked from 2000-2003.

Casullo, 56, served as the Seahawks' special teams coach in 2005 and 2006. He had a pair of one-year contracts for those seasons.

Seattle improved their punt return yardage average by three yards, from 5.7 to 8.7, from 2005 to 2006. But opponents averaged more than two yards more per kickoff return than the Seahawks in 2006, and the Seahawks were 27th in the NFL in yards allowed per kickoff return.

The Seahawks were statistically about in the middle of the NFL in terms of combined special teams statistics. Casullo did have to juggle his rotation of players as injuries took away a few of his core special teams players because those players had to assume larger roles on defense and offense.

Casullo has coached tight ends at Syracuse, Michigan State and in 2004 with the New York Jets in his home state.

January 16, 2007

What you can do for Brown

Posted by Jose Romero at 2:30 PM

Seahawks fan Sonia Peterson has created a petition for fans to sign if they would like the team to re-sign kicker Josh Brown. Her Web site has Brown's stats and a statement imploring fans to let their voices be heard by team management.

Here's how to get to it:

There are 353 signatures on last check.

January 15, 2007

Hasselbeck, two broken fingers

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:48 PM

The Seahawks players cleaned out their lockers on Monday, and Matt Hasselbeck spoke with reporters.

He explained that he suffered two broken fingers this season in his non-throwing hand. The injury was alluded to after the Seahawks' victory over Green Bay, but it was never specified exactly what the injury was. Hasselbeck said they were non-displaced fractures in his hand and won't require pins to heal properly. He wore a glove on the hand and admitted Monday that it "wasn't fun" to play with the injury.

"You appreciate what your teammates go through," Hasselbeck said. "Because I know of guys on our team that had that same injury that didn't get the attention or the sympathy that I got."

Hasselbeck appeared to aggravate the injury in the first half of Sunday's game after he was knocked over from behind by Chicago lineman Terry Johnson. However, it did not appear Johnson deliberately hit Hasselbeck, but rather incidentally ran into him as he chased the play downfield.

January 14, 2007

Until next time...

Posted by Jose Romero at 5:09 PM

The season has ended, and what a way to end it.

It really did feel, as Bryce Fisher said, like the Seahawks were going to win. But it wasn't to be, even though Seattle played as good an all-around game as it had all season.

So now it's back to Kirkland for a season wrapup. The players will be clearing out their locker stalls and heading out for the offseason until it's time to report for offseason conditioning.

I did manage to shake hands with Robbie Tobeck, who made his last appearance in uniform today. He's retiring.

Now the speculation begins as to what needs the Seahawks must fill in the offseason. Off the top of my head, there will be needs at cornerback and offensive line.

Jackson active, could start

Posted by Jose Romero at 9:13 AM

Wide receiver Darrell Jackson is active today and could start.

That's the good news. The bad news is that WR D.J. Hackett is among the eight inactives. So he is out for this game.

Other inactives: QB David Greene, CBs Marcus Trufant and Rich Gardner, FB David Kirtman, T Ray Willis, WR Ben Obomanu and DT Marcus Green.

It's a brisk morning here in Chicago. There were snow flurries downtown earlier but no precipitation right now. The sidelines on the field are muddy and field conditions don't look ideal.

January 13, 2007

No more training camp in Cheney

Posted by Jose Romero at 1:52 PM

This article ran in the Spokane Spokesman-Review today. It says the Seahawks won't be back at Eastern Washington University this summer for training camp, and since the team is opening a new training facility in Renton in 2008 before training camp, it's so long to Cheney.

The reason is because of the logistics of the team's trip to China for an exhibition game in August.

January 12, 2007

Soon to depart

Posted by Jose Romero at 1:51 PM

The buses are outside of headquarters waiting for the the Seahawks to get on board and head for their flight to Chicago. There's a small gathering of fans nearby waiting to see the team off.

The Seahawks signed CB Gerard Ross off their practice squad and added him to the active roster, taking up the spot vacated by the release of John Howell. The team had its last practice today before the trip east.

"We're prepared to play a really fine football team. We know that," coach Mike Holmgren said. "But we'll give it a go. We're ready."

Wide receivers Darrell Jackson and D.J. Hackett didn't practice all week and will be game-time decisions. Holmgren had hoped to get Jackson one practice.

"It's kind of the way it's gone," Holmgren said. "I'm hopeful to have one or both of them on Sunday."

If neither can play, rookie WR Ben Obomanu could play in his first game.

January 11, 2007

Tidbits from Chicago

Posted by Greg Bishop at 5:25 PM

Bears quarterback Rex Grossman still consumed the majority of Bears news conferences today, but there is a new theme emerging in the city that should be familiar this week in Seattle. Snow. People all over the hotel are talking about it. Someone told me that it hasn't snowed in Chicago in a long time, like more than 40 days, which apparently is unusual. It's supposed to snow, more of a rain-sleet-snow, on Saturday, with a big storm hitting Sunday after the game finishes. I heard one meteorologist on the radio say that the snow during the game would be similar to what the Seahawks faced earlier this season at home.

That's also one thing people forget about the Seahawks. They played a lot of games in really bad weather this season, especially at home, and as linebacker Lofa Tatupu told me after the game last week, they played well in almost all of them -- save the monsoon at home against the 49ers. Dare we say it: they might be even better prepared for bad weather than the Bears.

Out at the Bears facility today, the focus was still heavily on quarterback Rex Grossman, although not as much as Wednesdasy, and not as much as the continued fixation on talk radio. One new topic emerged today.

One was whether the Bears thought the continued criticism locally was unfair. Linebacker Brian Urlacher said this, while noting that Chicago is a media-driven city: "At least it's been consistent all year long. People have been consistently telling us how bad we are. We're the worst 13-3 team of all-time."

Added Alex Brown, who wore a shirt signifying the recent college football championship at his alma mater, Florida: "If you didn't watch football at all, you wouldn't think the Bears are 13-3."

Much of this rests with Grossman, of course.

A few other tidbits:

-- I talked to former UW coach Jim Lambright for a Olin Kreutz story. His allegiences are split this weekend, because Kreutz plays for the Bears and Jerramy Stevens, another former player, plays for the Seahawks.

--Brown called Seahawks tackle Walter Jones "the best in the league.''

--Kreutz said the Bears running backs, overlooked in the Grossman saga, are the deepest in the league. That includes starter Thomas Jones, along with talented backup Cedric Benson .

--I also asked Kreutz to compare the craziness of football fans here with those in Washington, and he said UW fans during his time there were at the same level.

--Urlacher on the Seahawks success last season, and how that plays into this game: "Last year's over." He responded similarly to a question about Shaun Alexander, who did not play against the Bears earlier this season: "I'm sure they are going to try to run the ball more with him in there. He's a good running back. He was the MVP last year. But last year's over."

Fair enough. And for those stuck back in snowy Seattle, you can at least take comfort that it's still cold in Chicago.

Fun in the snow

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:39 PM

I guess you just can't get a bunch of 20-something-year-old football players from other parts of the country around snow and not expect some sort of fun.

But let's start in practice, where for the first time in my five seasons on the beat, I saw coach Mike Holmgren "raise the roof" with both of his hands after a play on which he felt the Seahawks would have scored a touchdown.

Holmgen raised his arms, then turned his palms to the sky and lifted his arms as if doing a shoulder press.

When practice ended, defensive end Grant Wistrom stood over rookie punter Ryan Plackemeier and watched him perform 30 pushups with his bare hands in the snow. Teammates stopped to watch in amusement. The reason for the punishment? Plackemeier failed to run from the practice bubble to the locker room after the team's morning practice, and his choice of discipline was either being hit with a hard ball of tape or pushups.

Right after that, players began an impromptu snowball fight. Lofa Tatupu accidentally beaned a Seahawks beat writer who shall remain nameless (it wasn't me!) and Rocky Bernard hit Bryce Fisher. Fisher chased after Bernard, who slipped and fell, and was then bombarded with snow.

"I am Matt Hasselbeck"

Posted by Bob Payne at 2:01 PM

With all the new attention on this week's game, it was inevitable that a Hawks-themed song or two would hit the airwaves. If you go for this kind of thing, you should hear "I am Matt Hasselbeck," set to the beat of Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback." It comes from Seattle's KKWF-FM/100.7 "The Wolf."

Some lyrics:

I'm Matt Hasselbeck
Them other teams don't know how to act
Our team is special and that's a fact
Tony Romo, hey, you blew the snap

(Take it to the Bears!)

Right click this link to download a copy of the mp3 (it's a pretty big file). Save it to your desktop and then open it in your music player of choice.

A toast to Tatupu

Posted by Cathy Henkel at 11:58 AM

The Hula Hula cocktail lounge at 106 First Avenue North is introducing the Lofa Tatupu cocktail, created by master mixologist Patrick Haight.

It's made with -- what else? -- 151 rum, blue Curacao and green Midori and fruit flavors of Polynesia.

Here's the recipe:

Lofa Tatupu HULA Cocktail

Fill container with hard cold ice
1 1/2 oz 151 rum
1/2 oz blue Curacao
1/2 oz green Midori
1 oz pineapple Juice
1 oz of guava/orange juice

Shake the living daylights out of it. Pour contents into glass, skewer a maraschino cherry, lime, slice of pineapple and wedge of mango for garnish.

Mayors get into the act

Posted by Cathy Henkel at 11:46 AM

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley are in a betting mood on the big game, too.

Nickels' side of the bet: Two pounds of smoked king salmon from Jensen's Old Fashioned Smokehouse in Greenwood; two pounds of Beecher's Handmade Cheese from Pike Place Market; three bottles of wine courtesy of the Washington State Wine Commission; one case of Pike Pale Ale from The Pike Brewing Company; six boxes of espresso chocolates from the Seattle Chocolate Company; and two pounds of Starbucks coffee.

At stake for Mayor Daley: Pork chops from Mike Ditka's restaurant; steaks from Gibsons Steakhouse; hot dogs and sausage from Vienna Beef; chips from Jay's and Vitners; nachos from La Preferida; pizza from Gino's East; popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shops; Italian beef from Buona Beef; pop and beer from Goose Island Brewing Co.

Nickels also declared tomorrow "Seahawks Blue Friday,'' encouraging fans to show their team spirit by wearing Seahawk colors to work.

January 10, 2007

Rex Grossman vs. stuffed pizza

Posted by Greg Bishop at 8:54 PM

The talk here in Chicago is centered around one player. Rex Grossman. No surprise there. I listened to sports radio driving from Lake Forest, Ill., back to Chicago this afternoon, and they spent the better part of an hour killing Grossman, making jokes about Grossman and worrying about Grossman. I've been trying to figure out if there's ever been an NFL favorite, like the Bears, with a greater question mark at quarterback. Or a city more in fear of how he might lose the game, instead of win it.

Grossman admitting he didn't play at "100 percent" in the Bears regular-season finale against the Packers didn't help matters, but he drew a laugh Wednesday when he told reporters he wouldn't be as open with them anymore. He said the comments would have been better in a one-on-one interview where he could explain himself.

The Bears split their press conferences this week. Offensive players talked Wednesday. Defensive players talk Thursday. Both days, the Bears also have an open locker room, but the pickings were slim Wednesday. We'll have stories each day from out here.

The big themes Wednesday were Chicago losing to Carolina in the second round last season. Several players said they thought the Bears were just excited to be there, and they won't take the Seahawks lightly. Another question that came up often was the Seahawks-Bears game earlier this season. Predictably, they all said it didn't matter. There is also supposed to be a storm Sunday, which is notable on two fronts: 1) how it will affect the game, and; 2) how it will affect my travel plans.

Other highlights: Grossman said Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson "makes a lot of plays that a lot of people can't make." Thomas Jones said he hadn't talked much to his brother, Cowboys running back Julius, about last week. And cornerback Charles Tillman gets my vote for engaging athlete of the week. He put thought into his answers, avoided cliches, and had the auditorium laughing for most of his 10 minutes.

Side note: on the advice of Pamela Sitt, a Times colleague, I grabbed some stuffed pizza my first night here. Sorry, Rex, that was definitely the highlight.

New Seahawk

Posted by Jose Romero at 1:11 PM

The Seahawks waived S John Howell, who injured his hamstring last Saturday night, and signed yet another new player, S Guss Scott, who was added to the practice squad.

Scott spent training camp in New England, was cut and signed by Houston, was released in November by the Texans and signed by the New York Jets, who cut him six days later. Then he signed to the Patriots' practice squad on Nov. 29.

There's more. He was signed to the Patriots' active roster on Dec. 16, then released three days later and signed to the Miami Dolphins' practice squad on Dec. 27.

Scott is in his third year, a third-round pick by the Jets out of Florida in 2004. He's 5 feet 10, 205 pounds.

NFC gets no respect, says Urlacher

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:36 AM

The four AFC teams still alive in the playoffs have won at least 12 games, and linebacker Brian Urlacher said the conference pecking order is clearly defined when you listen to people talk about the NFL.

"The NFC gets no respect," Urlacher said to Seattle reporters. "There are some good teams in the AFC, we realize that. But there are some pretty good teams in the NFC also."

AFC teams were 40-24 in interconference games this season. This is the fifth consecutive season AFC teams have had a winning record against the NFC. The largest disparity was two years ago when AFC teams were 44-20 against the NFC.

Rex Grossman turns a deaf ear

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:29 AM

Rex Grossman is the hot-button topic in Chicago as the Bears are 13-3 yet enter the playoffs with the loaded question of whether their quarterback can stand up to the pressure.

How does he deal with that kind of scrutiny? He doesn't listen to it, saying he avoids any sort of media assessment of his play.

"I don't go out seeking abuse," Grossman said during a conference phone call with Seattle reporters on Wednesday. "So if I happen to turn to a channel where they're talking about me, I just keep turning."

Grossman had an uneven season. He has seven games with a passer rating of more than 100, which he said is the most in the league. He also had a rating of 1.3 against Minnesota and 0.0 in the half he played against Green Bay in the regular-season finale.

Injury report is out

Posted by Jose Romero at 10:54 AM

And the Seahawks have only three players on it! A miracle? You decide.

CB Marcus Trufant (right ankle) and WR D.J. Hackett (right ankle) are doubtful. We knew this from Mike Holmgren's news conference Monday. WR Darrell Jackson is officialy questionable with a left toe injury.

Let the betting begin...

Posted by Cathy Henkel at 10:34 AM

Today, the Chicago-Seattle playoff game brought in a new bet between the two cities. One one side, the anchor desk of WMAQ, the NBC affiliate in Chicago, headed up by Dick Johnson. On the other side, Johnson's childhood chum, Charlie Gardner, who works with national advertising for The Seattle Times.

Johnson fired the first shot: "On the virtuallly impossible chance that the Seahawks beat us, we are promising Charlie and his co-workers at the Times three Lou Malanati's deep-dish pizzas plus an Eli's cheesecake they forced us to throw in. ''

They'd also have to wear Seattle caps on the air Monday morning.

If the Bears win, Gardner will send the WMAQ team three pounds of smoked salmon -- and place a congratulatory ad in The Seattle Times' sports section.

Gardner, who got up early to talk to his old friend on the air this morning, said Seahawks fans weren't worried about Chicago weather.

"We've seen the rain, the snow, the sleet, the wind and everything in the past few months, and we're looking forward to it,'' he said.

He also offered to give the Bears the name of someone to hold the ball for field-goal attempts, if needed.

Tony Romo.

Here's the clip if you'd like to check it out:

January 9, 2007

Every Romo Hurts

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:34 AM

Photographer Rod Mar forwarded this link, which made at least two people in my house laugh at loud Monday night. Nothing crass. Just heart-felt hurt from people down in Dallas. Here's the clip.

It was also pointed out to me a palindrome from Saturday's game: "No Romo. Moron." I didn't come up with that. It was passed along by someone much smarter. I'm not sharp enough to concoct my own palindromes.

And if you're in the mood for heart-felt quarterback tributes, here's a Tom Brady page that ESPN.com's Bill Simmons linked to earlier this year.

January 8, 2007

Guns, Pez and Romo

Posted by Jose Romero at 6:23 PM

So much stuff came out of today's news conferences with Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck that I had to put some of it here.

Holmgren was asked for his take on Chicago DT Terry "Tank" Johnson, the former University of Washington player who had 550 rounds of ammunition seized from his home in a December police raid. Johnson was also charged with illegal possession of a firearm after the search.

The conversation with Holmgren turned to guns and the Seahawks' policy on keeping firearms.

"Guns scare the hell out of me," Holmgren said. "You have to real careful with that stuff...The idea that we're role models as players and coaches, I think that's real. And I've always said that and I preach that to our guys."

Holmgren speaks to this team about having guns, but admitted he doesn't know how many of his players own them. After a lecture on Day Three of training camp, he asks any players with guns to check them in with the team's head of security, Rick Ninomiya.

"I'm always a little surprised by that," Holmgren said. "I've never walked around with a gun."

Players get their guns back when the team breaks training camp.

Moving on...

Hasselbeck said he is thinking about calling Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to console the young player after his bobbled snap cost Dallas the game. Hasselbeck was once the Green Bay Packers' and Seahawks' holder and knows the feeling of fumbling a field goal snap.

Hasselbeck also spoke to Cowboys coach Bill Parcells briefly after the game. Parcells knows the Hasselbeck family, and still calls Hasselbeck "Kid."

"He gave me, you know, the Pez," Hasselbeck said, lifting his head in acknowledgment the way the head on a Pez dispenser must be lifted to get the candy out. The motion drew some laughs.

A whole new ball game

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:26 PM

One last check in the rearview mirror of Saturday. The slickness of the ball used on the Cowboys' final field-goal attempt was something owner Jerry Jones talked about, and his quotes were reported by the Dallas Morning News in a story here.

Holmgren talked about the standards for game balls on Monday, and he explained that it used to be the home team did all sorts of things to mess with the balls used on field-goal attempts, so-called "kicking balls."

"They'd do all sorts of weird stuff to them," Holmgren said. "Put them in microwave ovens, put them in dryers to deflate them.

"It was common knowledge. It was bad."

The league's competition committee, which Holmgren previously was a part of, cleaned that up. And now, Holmgren said, there are incredible precautions taken to make sure no kicker gets slipped a mickey, so to speak.

"The kicking balls, it's like they come in a Brink's truck," Holmgren said. "It's the darnedest thing you've ever seen. They're guarded."

January 6, 2007

Next stop, Chicago or New Orleans

Posted by Jose Romero at 11:10 PM

That's all that can be said. I'm speechless and out of words after this wild game.

I'm sure everyone will be watching to see who the Seahawks get in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Before I sign off, I understand that LB Julian Peterson did indeed become a father between missing Thursday's practice and last night's game. I'll try to get details Sunday.

Hackett, Jackson are active

Posted by Jose Romero at 4:06 PM

That's the big news as kickoff is about 45 minutes away here at Qwest Field. Jackson will get the start over D.J. Hackett, who was running on the field about an hour ago and is also active for the game.

Jackson and Hackett were listed as questionable for today. So were offensive linemen Floyd Womack and Chris Gray, who are also available and expected to play (Gray will start). Rob Sims will start at left guard for Womack.

Return specialist Nate Burleson and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, both probable for today, were also on the field for warmups and should play. Linebacker Julian Peterson is back after a day off from practice last week to become a father.

The Seahawks' inactives today: CB Marcus Trufant, FB David Kirtman, LB Marquis Cooper, C Robbie Tobeck, OT Ray Willis, WR Ben Obomanu, DT Marcus Green and QB David Greene.

January 5, 2007

The end of an era?

Posted by Jose Romero at 4:05 PM

The Seahawks announced today that they have waived nine-year veteran tight end Itula Mili and signed rookie wide receiver Ben Obomanu to the active roster to provide depth at receiver, where three players are hurting.

Obomanu has some upside. He has looked good in practice and had a good training camp.

But let me say a few things about Itula. You couldn't find a more classy guy as far as his attitude and demeanor in the face of some serious injuries and decreased playing time.

Mili bucked the odds several times. The Seahawks brought in other big-name tight ends to try and phase him out (Christian Fauria and Jerramy Stevens, to name two) and Mili perservered. He earned a pair of new contracts after his original one expired.

Releasing Mili all but signals the end of his career, though I hope it isn't. He deserved to go out better than that. He gave it everything he had for the team through the years and lasted way longer in the league than anyone could have imagined.

The thing I'll miss most is his very upfront candor in my talks with him. He never held anything back and he spoke his mind and from his heart.

The Seahawks had their reasons for doing what they did, but I'd like to congratulate Itula on a solid career here.

January 4, 2007

Last practice before the big game

Posted by Jose Romero at 2:43 PM

The injured players must have taken coach Mike Holmgren's words to heart.

"At this stage of the game, either you're in or you're out," he said to the team after practice on Tuesday.

Right guard Chris Gray, wide receivers Nate Burleson, D.J. Hackett and Darrell Jackson and left guard Floyd Womack all got some work in practice, though Jackson and Hackett were not in for team drills.

Whether all five will play Saturday against Dallas will be a game-time decision, Holmgren said. Gray (quadriceps bruise), Womack (sore groin) and Burleson (ankle) practiced Thursday, while Hackett (hip flexor) and Jackson (turf toe) did individual work.

Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (foot injury) also practiced and is probable to play.

Linebacker Leroy Hill has been upgraded from questionable to probable, and linebacker Julian Peterson missed practice because he is an expectant father.

Also from practice, the Seahawks worked both Pete Hunter and Rich Gardner as nickel cornerbacks. It remains to be seen which one will see the most action.

Bill Parcells final week update

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:21 AM

No news from the Dallas coach, who completed his final news conference of the week on Thursday morning. The Cowboys have no injuries, but haven't solidified who will be active yet. Parcells said it hasn't been decided if safety Tony Parrish will be active for the game or not. Parrish went to Washington, and he signed with the Cowboys this season after being waived by the 49ers.

January 3, 2007

Fun with coaches

Posted by Jose Romero at 5:29 PM

Ah, there's nothing like a Wednesday in Kirkland, when all the media members gather in the week's largest group confab to hear what the Seahawks coaches and players have to say about themselves and the upcoming opponent.

We also get to ask questions in conference calls with the opposing head coach and a player. Today it was Bill Parcells and QB Tony Romo of Dallas.

I wasn't present for the session with Parcells, but some funny stuff came out of it. Parcells is known for his less-than-happy demeanor in news conferences with Dallas media. But he fielded even the most offbeat questions today.

Some material from the official transcript from Parcells, Romo and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren:

PARCELLS
On being confrontational at news conferences: "I think I've been pretty subdued this year. You should have seen me about 15 years ago. I was a lot worse then I am now. We all from time-to-time, you catch us at the wrong minute. I haven't had any profane-laced tirades that I can recall this year."

On lack of patience for a dumb question: "No, that's not really true. What I have lack of patience for is people that try to antagonize me purposely. When you're around the same writers for a long time, you know which ones are trying to do that. You guys wouldn't do that at all, would you up there? Nice even-keel fellas."

On biggest food weakness: "Without question peanut butter. But I've done a lot better this year. I'm in a lot better condition this year then I have been in recent years. I've been having a fight with the scale. I don't get on that. But I'm doing pretty well, I really honestly am, compared to other years. I'm doing very well, much better. And I think that's the reason I have more energy, too. I feel pretty good... Just peanut butter... This year I said no cookies and no candy for the season, and I've held to that."

On dyeing his hair: "No, that's been about four years since I've done that... It looks like it on the camera. I mean people say that all the time. But, no, my hair is as gray as you can get it... I promise you that there's not been one thing on there in about three or four years."

On having a dog or cat: "My girlfriend has a cat. I have a cat. His name is Cody... He's a good-sized cat. He's about 16 or 17 pounds, very athletic. Very, very athletic. He can do stuff you wouldn't believe."

Romo was asked about his relationship with singer Carrie Underwood of American Idol fame.

"She is just a friend. I just met her that day so I don't know where this stuff comes from. It is pretty funny though."

On whether he is dating Underwood: "No, I honestly don't know where they come up with this stuff sometimes. I can't talk to anyone anymore or say 'hi' because it gets somewhat crazy."

Holmgren talked about watching the Fiesta Bowl with his wife, Cathy, a game that saw Boise State rally to stun Oklahoma with a "Statue of Liberty" handoff play.

ANY CHANCE OF SEEING THE STATUE OF LIBERTY SATURDAY?
"Wasn't that something? Last time I ran that was in high school, honest
to goodness. It worked, too. It worked ... No."

When was the last time you saw the Statue of Liberty play in organized football?

"I haven't seen it, no. What you'll see in our league, you'll see sometimes a fake pass draw, maybe a fake pass sweep. But how he (Boise State's Jared Zabransky) did that, if you notice, he faked the thing here, and then somehow the ball got to this hand. It's amazing how they did that. We would try that in practice and guys would run into each other. We would do that. Any time we try anything special, guys run into each other."


The week's first injury report

Posted by Jose Romero at 10:58 AM

It turns out that the groin injury believed to be affecting WR D.J. Hackett isn't the reason he is questionable this week. It's a right hip flexor. This is one guy the Seahawks MUST have.

Other wounded Seahawks: CB Marcus Trufant (right ankle) is doubtful. G Chris Gray (riight quadriceps) LB Leroy Hill (concussion), WR Darrell Jackson (toe on left foot) and LG Floyd Womack (groin) are questionable.

DT Rocky Bernard (right foot) and WR Nate Burleson (left ankle) are probable.

Wednesday morning report from Dallas

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 7:43 AM

Another NFC city, another team where the fans are chewing fingernails and gnashing teeth over their team's flaws entering the playoffs.

Coach Bill Parcells talked about that in his first news conference of the week on Tuesday. The recurring theme was reporters seeking to plumb the depths of Parcells' frustration over his team's late-season fade.

How much is he struggling with his team's inability to respond to his early-December speech about what championship teams think about this time of year?

"I'm not struggling with anything," Parcells said. "You guys are the ones that are struggling. I've got a game here to play. The sides are even here now. We're starting over."

At this point, the reporter tried to ask a follow-up question. Parcells wasn't finished and kept talking.

"All you guys want to talk about history. I don't feel like talking about that right now. But you know what, you've got a lot of company in a lot of cities because they're all doing the same thing. 'How do you feel, coach, about your team going in?' Or this team's limping in or this team's backing in. This team's lost three out of four. This team has lost two straight."

Yep. That's about right. The Giants, Seahawks and Cowboys all enter the playoffs with losing records in the month of December.

Parcells was asked by a different reporter if he's exasperated at his team's inability to respond to his attempts to correct the slide.

"No. It doesn't exasperate me at all," he said.

Then how does he explain it?

"I don't need to explain it," he said. "It's a simple answer. We're just not playing as well. But fellas, I'd like to get on to Seattle. If you want to talk about history, go down to the museum."

This led to one of the more comical exchanges of the press conference as Parcells asked the room how many games Seattle won last month. The answer didn't come immediately.

Parcells' press conferences get boiled down to sound bytes that are replayed on highlight shows on SportsCenter, and he appears to be very much a grump. It's not really like that. He is engaged and answers every question, which is really all a reporter can ask. He's also quite funny. But Parcells also has a message he wants to get across, and he will question the premise of a question if he doesn't believe in it.

Here's a daily dose of reading material:

Matt Mosley provides an assessment of the Cowboys' department of defense right here from the Dallas Morning News.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram offers an assessment of the Cowboys' lack of momentum heading into the playoffs.

And anyone looking for more broad-stroke assessments of the significant events of the Cowboys' season, the Dallas Morning News put together a great synopsis with 10 plays that shaped the year.

January 2, 2007

Tickets gone

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:48 PM

In 15 to 20 minutes, the Seahawks said. Playoff tickets went on sale this morning at 10 and were sold out in that amount of time.

So the 12th Man will be in the house on Saturday night. The weather forecast calls for 45 degrees with a 60 percent chance of rain.

Several Seahawks didn't practice Tuesday because of either injuries or needed rest. LB Leroy Hill (concussion) was at practice but didn't participate. WR D.J. Hackett (groin), CB Marcus Trufant (ankle), RG Chris Gray (quadriceps), WR Darrell Jackson (toe), LG Floyd Womack, DT Chuck Darby and DT Rocky Bernard were absent.

It was believed to be the first missed practice for Darby all season. WR Nate Burleson went into the training room briefly but returned and finished practice, though he was limited.

The Seahawks are not required to release an official injury report until Wednesday, so the availability status of those players is yet to be determined.

The air up there ...

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:01 AM

Rick Gosselin, the NFL columnist at the Dallas Morning News, is advocating an air-it-out approach for Saturday's wild-card game. The thing that might catch people in Seattle by surprise is that he is saying the Seattle Seahawks should use it, not Dallas. The Seahawks have suffered three cornerback injuries in the past two games, leaving them desperately thin in the secondary, but Gosselin points out that Dallas' secondary has been a year-long sore spot.

The Forth Worth Star-Telegram puts a more tempered perspective in this story about the postseason chances of a team that has lost three of five and was beaten at home on Sunday by the team with the fewest wins in the NFC.

The teeth gnashing in Dallas covers all the bases. Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw says in this article that Tony Romo must try and wipe the month of December out of his memory banks.

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