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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
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July 31, 2007

Stephens (not Stevens) stands out at tight end

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 5:30 PM

The Seahawks may have lost one Stevens at tight end this offseason (that would be Jerramy). They retained a Stephens, however, when they re-signed Leonard in January. The guy who spent last season on the practice squad made a couple of impressive plays during the afternoon, catching one ball behind Julian Peterson and then later on a route toward the sidelines. The catch against Peterson was particularly impressive since he's a linebacker known for his ability to cover tight ends.

Linebacker Lofa Tatupu intercepted a pass Matt Hasselbeck tried to fire into Bobby Engram. Pete Hunter also made his second interception in two days, wrestling a ball away from Ben Obomanu in Tuesday afternoon.

Safety numbers dwindling

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 5:11 PM

Safety is among the deeper positions on the Seahawks roster this training camp after the free-agent acquisitions of Brian Russell and Deon Grant.

Those numbers have taken a hit so far in training camp. Jordan Babineaux suffered a bone bruise the first day on Sunday, Mike Green is still limited as he returns from his foot injury and Patrick Ghee tweaked a hamstring in the morning practice on Tuesday. That leaves Russell and Grant taking a high number of the plays during team drills instead of just staying on the field with the first string.

"The safety position is as strong and deep as it has been since I've been here," coach Mike Holmgren said after Monday's morning practice. "Who is going to start? We'll see."

The more pressing question might be, "Who's left" with the way safeties are going down in practice.

Safety first

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:01 PM

Jason Cole of Yahoo! was here in Seattle for the first two days of training camp. His story centered on the new pair of players in the Seahawks secondary: safeties Brian Russell and Deon Grant. You can read that story here.

A plain ol' plane this year

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:41 PM

Paul Allen sold the 757 that served as the Seahawks' team plane. The team will use a charter flight this season so the team won't exactly be crammed into coach class on commercial flights for road trips. However, hard to measure up to the luxuries of the team plane, especially with the live-TV feeds that allowed the team to watch games as it traveled back to Seattle after playing.

D.J. Hackett departs for fatherhood

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:07 PM

Where was D.J. Hackett, coach Mike Holmgren was asked after the morning practice. He looked at his watch.

"Well, by now he might be a father," Holmgren said.

Hackett left the practice facility this morning after a phone call from his wife, who is expecting.

Offensive lineman Floyd Womack and defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs did not participate in practice, which was the team's first workout in shoulder pads.

Wide receiver Jordan Kent made two nice catches in the morning practice, coming back to the ball each time. He's skinny in comparison to other players, but has world-class speed and has made a strong first impression so far.

Linebacker Julian Peterson intercepted one pass that was tipped first and later recovered a fumble by wide receiver Courtney Taylor.

Pass-rush move of the morning: defensive tackle Craig Terrill. He worked his way inside of Chris Gray, and elicited a cheer from his defensive mates. Gray is a salty vet. The kind of guy who doesn't look bad too often because his experience keeps him from being put in bad positions.

Nate Burleson looked good in the afternoon practice on Monday, and he had a great catch in the corner of the end zone on a pass from Matt Hasselbeck. Also, second-year cornerback Kelly Jennings made a nice play, knocking the ball away from Deion Branch in the end zone.

July 30, 2007

Matt Hasselbeck still "sore" over knee injury

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 6:01 PM

Matt Hasselbeck is recovering from offseason surgery to repair his non-throwing shoulder, but it's the knee injury he suffered against Minnesota last October that he's working to get past.

"To me, the most frustrating thing about last year and our season was probably my knee injury," Hasselbeck said. "Because it was just such a pointless injury to me. Very avoidable.

"I'll just leave it at that."

A quick review: Seattle vs. Minnesota, Oct. 22 at Qwest Field. Score: 10-10. Hasselbeck gets hurt on the first possession of the second half after Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson fell into his knee. The Seahawks were outscored 21-3 the rest of the game.

"It really changed our whole season," Hasselbeck said. "We lost that game and we shouldn't have lost that game."

José Miguel Romero's recap of the game can be found here. That story includes an explanation from Henderson.

Hasselbeck never called the play dirty Monday, only avoidable.

"It was unnecessary," Hasselbeck said. "Injuries happen. I have no problem with that. I have been hit many times very hard. Some cleaner hits than others, but to me that one was just. ..."

Hasselbeck stopped the sentence there and changed his train of thought.

"What really bothered me was that it was just such a significant injury that didn't need to happen," Hasselbeck said. "And really I got lucky. I got really lucky. There are guys that have missed more than a year from stuff like that."

Hasselbeck missed four games. The Seahawks went 2-2 in that time and he returned, but Hasselbeck said Monday the knee injury affected him the rest of the season.

Was it more mental or physical?

"I don't know," Hasselbeck said. "It was all the stuff. But that happens, and I guess that's a lesson you have to learn. You have to learn to deal with that stuff. That's one thing in my career here I have handled it well at times and I've handled it poorly at times, playing with injury and that kind of thing."

Hasselbeck finished last season with a quarterback rating of 76, his lowest since his first season in Seattle in 2001. He passed for 18 touchdowns and and was intercepted 15 times, also his worst ratio since 2001. His 2,442 passing yards were his fewest since that first season in town.

Burleson stands out in afternoon work

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 5:34 PM

Nate Burleson watched a ball bounce off his facemask during the morning practice, failing to catch David Greene's pass. Certainly not a receiver's finest hour. He made up for it in the afternoon with a one-handed grab that was later followed by a comeback route in which he leaped in front of Marcus Trufant to catch a bullet of a pass from Matt Hasselbeck.

Rookie Courtney Taylor had one of two great diving grabs, extending in front of the sidelines to catch a pass from Seneca Wallace in front of cornerback Dennis Davis. D.J. Hackett extended to catch a pass from Hasselbeck in spite of good coverage by rookie Josh Wilson.

I spent a good chunk of both morning practices watching the line drills, which is one of the most difficult positions on the field to evaluate from the outside. Everyone can see when something goes wrong in a game. The quarterback gets knocked loopy. The running back gets planted. Finding strengths and flaws in the midst of padless drills is a lot tougher. With that qualifier, here's my impression of the line so far.

Walter Jones is his standard self, which is to say spectacular. The balance he shows at his size is incredible, always staying in front of the smaller defensive ends and never getting caught off balance.

Ray Willis has moved from tackle to guard. He looks great at times and gets beat at others. During a one-on-one drill that favors the defense, Willis absolutely stalled Eric Taylor. The very next play Taylor went flying right around him.

The move of the afternoon came from Julian Peterson, though. He feinted as if he would rush Sean Locklear inside. Locklear bit, moved his feet and then watched as Peterson sprinted around the edge almost untouched.

The skinny on Shaun Alexander

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 5:18 PM

Shaun Alexander looks leaner this training camp than he did a year ago.

It's just that the scale doesn't look any different: 227 pounds.

"Just like every camp," Alexander said. "I think I look skinnier, but I'm not really sure if it's because everybody says, 'You look skinnier.' "

Alexander missed games because of injury for the first time in his NFL career last season, sitting out six with a crack in his left foot. He stayed in Seattle this offseason instead of going back to Alabama or returning to the Cincinnati area where he played in high school.

"Maybe the seafood and all that might have helped," Alexander joked. "Instead of eating gravy in Alabama and Skyline (chili) in Cincinnati.

"Must be some good things in salmon."

Alexander isn't measuring his recovery from injury by feet anymore. He said that he hasn't undergone any further tests to see if his foot fully healed from last season's injury.

"When you're running good you just kind of say, 'Let's ride,' " Alexander said.

Hopefully that closes the book on an injury that sidelined Alexander for six games last season. Toward the end, coaches grew frustrated because Alexander felt better but tests showed evidence of the crack remained. Then, at the Seahawks' May minicamp, Alexander said he would wait until after the camp to have tests to see if it had disappeared. Now, he said there's no need for any worries.

"It feels good," Alexander said. "I'm really excited about just how I've been running, how my training went. It's real good."

Coaching legend Bill Walsh dies

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:10 PM

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Bill Walsh, former Stanford and San Francisco died on Monday. Walsh was 75.

Walsh hired Mike Holmgren into the NFL. Holmgren was four years removed from coaching high-school football and at BYU at the time, and Holmgren spoke fondly of his former boss today.

"He was an artist and all the rest of us were blacksmiths," Holmgren said on Monday. "We were pounding the anvil and he was painting pictures."

The respect Holmgren held for Walsh was apparent. Two years ago, I was writing a story based around the labels applied to successful football coaches, specifically when they were called geniuses. A good baseball manager is credited for stabilizing his team, a good basketball coach is praised for his ability to motivate. A great football coach, however, is often characterized as a genius. I asked Holmgren about how he felt when people applied that term to him in the past.

"I don't think I have every been called that," Holmgren said. "Maybe my boss, Bill Walsh. They called him that."

Womack, Babineaux injured

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:48 AM

Safety Jordan Babineaux had tests taken on his right leg on Sunday after suffering an injury in the first practice of training camp. The tests found no fractures, but he's out for the next three to four weeks with a bone bruise.

Guard Floyd Womack missed today's practice because of a tweaked hamstring. Coach Mike Holmgren said he didn't think the injury was serious. Womack missed the afternoon workout on Sunday, but at the time it was possible it could have just been precautionary as he underwent two arthroscopic knee surgeries earlier this month. It was mentioned to me that he may have been injured during the morning workout, and that was apparently the case.

Added observations from the morning practice: Rookie defensive tackle Brandon Mebane make an impressive move against fellow rookie Steve Vallos, a guard, in one-on-one line drills. Mebane's spin move sent Vallos into a somersault. Don't read too much into that as the drill is slanted in favor of the defender. Defensive end Patrick Kerney showed great burst off the edge, getting by Sean Locklear on one particular play.

David Greene, the third-string quarterback the past two seasons, threw a pair of interceptions not too far apart from each other. Pete Hunter came away with the first one and Marcus Rucker corralled the second.

The play of the morning from my perspective though was Chuck Darby running down Leonard Weaver on a screen pass, catching up with Weaver before he could turn the corner.

Monday morning brief

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:55 AM

I'm a stickler for verification. A reporter who needs proof. That explains my presence in the checkout line at my local Safeway this morning, latest copy of Us Weekly under my arm. Not sure how our accountants here are going to take my expense-account bill of $3.80 because our forms don't include a category for "gossip rag." I made one tactical mistake.

But in the interest of verification here's the mention of the Seahawks quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck in an entry about Kate Hudson and her social life:

"Hudson, 28, certainly looked radiant while flirting with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, 31, on July 19 at L.A. hot spot Teddy's. The pair cozied up for an hour while a giddy Hudson flashed him pics on her BlackBerry. 'This is way past my bedtime!' Hasselbeck quipped."

I feel kind of dirty even quoting it. There's no mention that Matt's wife was there. His agent, too. Not so sensational sounding is that now? It probably gave Matt an idea of what fellow NFL quarterback Tom Brady deals with. Heck, even his younger brother, Tim, who's married to Elisabeth of "The View."

Well, now I've got 92 pages of glossy social pages. Anybody want a picture of Mark Wahlberg with a takeout bag? How about 90210 goof Brian Austin Green at the gas pump in a white tank top?

Now, back to football basics. Steve Kelley's column on the absence of drama surrounding this Seahawks training camp.

Oh, and anyone wonder what was happening in Cheney? Just ask The Times' Greg Bishop. He was there to confirm that the sun did in fact come up the day the Seahawks were gone, but the first day of training camp was decidedly more empty than it has been the past 10 years.

Highlight of the first day of practice can be found here, and here's a few more items of note from the first day's practice.

July 29, 2007

First day wrap up

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:52 PM

Floyd Womack wasn't on the field for the afternoon practice on Sunday.

Durability a question with Pork Chop? No way. Not the guy who missed as many games as he's played over the past two seasons.

But let's not get carried away with indictments over possible injuries. At least not yet. It's just the first day and Womack underwent a pair of arthroscopic knee surgeries just last month.

But health has always been a question mark for Womack. He began 2005 as the starting right tackle, but hurt his triceps in the preseason and was replaced by Sean Locklear. Womack started last season at left guard, but suffered a knee injury in the second game and missed the next five games. Womack signed a one-year contract in the offseason to return to the Seahawks.

Some other things worth noting from the morning practice:

Ray Willis is getting repetitions at right guard, notable for a couple of reasons. Willis was drafted as a tackle in 2005 so that is a position switch, but the coaches were impressed with his work in offseason drills and they want to give him a shot to earn his way into the lineup.

Personnel along the offensive line is getting juggled quite a bit. Locklear is at right tackle, Chris Gray at right guard as they were much of last season. Willis is at right guard, Tom Ashworth at right tackle. Walter Jones and Rob Sims are the first string on the left side of the line. Locklear saw some time at left tackle while Jones caught a breather.

Leonard Weaver did not play last season after he was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Weaver made an impressive over-the-shoulder grab in a pass-catching drill for running backs on Sunday. That shouldn't be a surprise since he played tight end in college.

Three players took turns fielding punts in drills on Sunday: Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram and Seneca Wallace.

Morning practice notes

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:28 PM

A few notes from the morning workout:

DT Marcus Tubbs was the only player to sit out all of the morning practice. He is on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). Coach Mike Holmgren said that his presence on the PUP list was not a setback in his recovery from microfracture surgery on his knee.

"We're confident he'll play," Holmgren said.

He didn't provide a date on that, saying the prognosis changes daily. A player can go on the PUP list before training camp starts. He must be activated before the final cutdown date -- Sept. 1 this year -- or he then must miss at least the first six weeks of the season. After the sixth game, the team has three weeks to place him on the active roster, injured reserve or waive the player.

QB Matt Hasselbeck has no limitations in practice, Holmgren said, but he will work on improving his strength.

Safety Jordan Babineaux suffered an injury to his right leg during practice, but Holmgren said afterward the trainer indicated that Babineaux was OK. Babineaux, safety Michael Boulware, safety Mike Green and center Chris Spencer are four Seahawks coming back from surgery who will have a lighter workload in practice.

Holmgren discussed the depth at wide receiver after practice. He said that Deion Branch is solidified at one starting spot and D.J. Hackett has the inside track on the other starting position. Presumably, that leaves Bobby Engram as the No. 3 receiver in the slot.

As for work on the field, two rookies stood out. Linebacker Will Herring brought a round of cheers from his teammates when he broke up a pass intended for tight end Joe Newton, intercepting the pass and returning it for a touchdown. Cornerback Josh Wilson made a diving interception attempt. Too bad we didn't have instant replay on the sidelines to see if he scooped it up off the ground, but Wilson thought he caught it. We'll take him at his word.

We'll file another update this afternoon.

Mora discusses Michael Vick

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:04 PM

The Seahawks new assistant coach repeatedly talked about how happy and focused he is on his current situation as he was asked about the situation with his former team, the Atlanta Falcons and the indictment of quarterback Michael Vick, whom Mora coached the past three season. He answered questions for reporters before lunch today. Here's a transcript of a session that lasted almost 4 minutes:

JIM MORA: I think it's a real unfortunate situation, and I hope for the best for him. You obviously hope the charges aren't true, but like I said, my focus has been on what's going on here. I've had a busy offseason getting my family here, getting settled in the house. I just haven't had a lot of time to think about that.

Q: Are you glad you didn't have to deal with it, though?

JIM MORA: Well, I'm glad I'm here. I'm glad I'm a member of the Seahawks. We all have things we have to deal with, and I'm sure something will come up here with me, there's always things. But I'm just happy I'm here.

Q: Obviously, your mental focus is here. It's your job, it's your job, your profession. There's emotions involved on some of this stuff, too. On a personal level what kind of relationship did you have.

JIM MORA: We have a very good relationship. We had a very good relationship. He and I exchanged text messages on Wednesday. I just wanted him to know that I was thinking about him. And that's not to condone what he supposedly did at all. It's just on a human level, it's a guy I've known for three years and I wanted him to know that I was here. You know, as I was telling Dave, it's really tough for me to comment on what's going on with him because I don't know how I feel about it. I go back and forth. I think you can probably understand that because it was an emotional, has been an emotional six months or whatever I went through there. It's a tough call for me so I'm trying to keep my focus on my family and the Seattle Seahawks and hopefully things play out down there the way they're supposed to play out for everybody.

Q: How did you like what you saw out there today?

JIM MORA: I liked it. I thought it was a good start. Made some plays on the ball, and I think more than anything what I liked more than anything was the communication and the effort and the way we handled adjustments. It's a fun group to work with. I'm very fortunate to not only be here, but be working with the group I'm working with.

Q: Was it rough having a slick field to work with the first day?

JIM MORA: No. We're going to play on slick fields. It's gonna' rain here in Seattle every once in a while so we have to get used to it. And really, what you want to do is just teach your guys to just play through whatever circumstances there may be. And you don't make an excuse. You don't say it, 'Oh, it's raining. Watch it.' You just play through those circumstances and I thought our guys today in the secondary did a nice job with it.

Q: For how well you know Michael Vick, was it a surprise to even hear about this?

JIM MORA: Certainly. Just like Dan Reeves said, I never saw that side of him. What I saw was a real professional. A kid that cared about his teammates, cared about people in general, was a hard worker, was always there, was always on time. And once again, he's accused of these things. He hasn't been convicted so I didn't ever see anything that indicated that side of him.

Q: Some of his teammates seemed to say he kept to himself off the field.

JIM MORA: Well, he's a quiet person. He plays in a flamboyant manner, but he's not a flamboyant person. He doesn't dress flamboyant. He doesn't hit all the night spots. He's not out on the town all the time. He's kind of a quiet, reserved kid. But I just could tell you this that he always presented himself in a very professional manner when he was around the Atlanta Falcons.

Q: From a personal standpoint, is it a little bit of a relief you're not in Atlanta with all the distractions right now.

JIM MORA: No. I wouldn't say it's a relief. I would just say, and this is the God's honest truth ... I'm just excited as heck to be here and be a part of the Seahawks organization and be living back in the Seattle area. I've distanced myself from that as much as I can, and I'm just happy to be here.

T-Raining camp underway

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:48 AM

The termperature is already pushing toward 90 in Cheney this morning. Here at Kirkland, it's in the 60s with a steady rain falling.

"This is just a mist," assistant coach Jim Mora said as he left the locker room for the field for the first practice.

Shaun Alexander hung out beneath a tent for a little bit before jogging onto the field.

"100 percent chance of rain," Matt Hasselbeck said. "Rich Marriott is never wrong."

Yes, the King 5 weatherman got a shoutout from the Seahawks quarterback.

Walter Jones observed it was less-than-optimal training conditions.

"How am I supposed to lose weight in this weather," he joked.

Don't worry. Walter has been busy with his offseason car-pushing routine. Here's a story that was written by The Huntsville Times.

Marcus Tubbs isn't practicing, but you already knew that as he was on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Tubbs is watching practice wearing a jersey.

July 28, 2007

First practice just a few hours and counting

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:57 PM

Two-a-day practices are hardly anything to look forward to for most players, but I know plenty of people are anxious to hear what happens when the work gets underway on Sunday morning. Check back with us then. We'll post our first update after the morning practice and check back in for the evening. See you then.

A fine Saturday morning

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:38 AM

Good morning. Still a day away from training camp starting, but more and more football discussions are bubbling to the surface. The Oregonian came up with five key questions the Seahawks must answer this season.

The Oregonian also ran a feature on Derek Devine, a quarterback who is on the Seahawks training camp roster. That story was published earlier this week, and you can find it here.

I'll check back in later this afternoon.

July 27, 2007

Introducing: Josh Wilson, CB

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 5:22 PM

KIRKLAND -- "The Last King of Scotland" was among the movies Josh Wilson watched on his flight to Seattle last week.

The rookie cornerback would happily play any number of roles - from right tackle to cheerleader -- if it would help the team win.

"Whatever pieces they think I can help," Wilson said.

That's tremendous enthusiasm though it's hard to imagine a situation getting so desperate the Seahawks put a 5-foot-9 cornerback at tackle.

As for Wilson's actual role, that will be one of the things to watch when training camp begins. Does he have a spot on special teams returning kicks? Will he be part of the team's nickel or dime packages in the secondary? There's a lot of questions at how the defensive backfield will be configured after the acquisition of free-agent safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell. That will have a trickle-down effect in terms of other groupings.

Wilson's role in all that will be answered down the road. On Friday, the questions were more straightforward like whether Wilson was anxious to get his contract signed before practices start. (Not sure how Wilson was supposed to answer that question any way other than the most obvious. I mean, here's a guy preparing to begin a job that will pay him a six-figure salary. What's he going to say? "Nah. I wasn't worried when I showed up. I figured they could wait on me." So who was the dimwit who asked it on Friday? Oh wait, it was me.)

Wilson's answer turned out better than the question.

"I want to play football," Wilson said. "That's what I do. I don't negotiate contracts, I don't like to go to combine track meets. I want to play football ... I told my agent that's what I wanted to do and whatever needed to be done to get that to happen, that's what I wanted to be done."

This time of year, dollars-and-cents deliberations get lots of coverage in the NFL whether it's first-round draft picks holding out for more money or veterans seeking new deals. What can get lost in all that is for this year's rookies, that contract is a landmark moment and something many of them spent years working toward.

"This signature, a lot of things changed with this one," Wilson said. "You sign autographs all day, and you just get the feeling of the reward that the other person gets it. This time, I get the reward feeling. I get to play football."

At least he will on Sunday.

Marcus Tubbs, Physically Unable to Perform list

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:11 PM

The Seahawks just announced that defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs was placed on the team's physically unable to perform list. Here's the news story from José Miguel Romero.

Tubbs is recovering from knee surgery he underwent during last season. It was a microfracture procedure, which is more common in basketball than other sports. Mark Lowe, Mariners reliever, is also coming back from a microfracture procedure.

President Tim Ruskell discussed Tubbs' recovery after the end of the 2006 season, and said then it would be a challenge if he could be ready in time for training camp. Looks like he's not quite ready. Now, that doesn't mean he won't be ready by the time the regular season starts, and his status is one of the first questions to be asked when training camp begins on Sunday.

Tubbs was a first-round choice in 2004. As a rookie, he struggled with conditioning and injuries, but in 2005 he and Chuck Darby embedded themselves in the middle of what became one of the league's better run defenses. The Seahawks allowed five rushing touchdowns, second-fewest in the league. Of course, that stat is a little misleading because the Seahawks played from ahead so much of their 13-win season.

Tubbs played only five games last season, and his absence was hardly the only reason the Seahawks went from the No. 5 run defense in 2005 when they allowed an average of 94.4 yards per game to the No. 22 run defense in 2006, allowing 126.8. But the Seahawks certainly missed his lane-clogging presence at tackle.

Seattle looked to deepen its defensive line in the draft, using two of its first three choices up front. The Seahawks chose DT Brandon Mebane of California in the third round and DE Baraka Atkins of Miami in the fourth.


Additional comment: Tubbs' presence on the physically-unable-to-perform list doesn't mean he won't be ready for the regular season. It just means he's not ready yet. If he's not activated by Sept. 1 he would have to miss at least the first six games. After the sixth game, the team would have a three-week window to activate the player.

Tubbs' recovery from the surgery is still being characterized positively by the team. Also, keep in mind the Seahawks had eight players on the PUP list when training camp began last season. Tubbs is the only one so far this season.

Tough days for former Dawgs

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:55 PM

The Seahawks announced this afternoon they released linebacker Marquis Cooper, a former Washington Husky.

Cooper was signed in the middle of the 2006 season and played in one regular-season game and one postseason game. He was waived so the team could sign Kurt Smith, a kicker undrafted out of Virginia. Here's the college bio for Smith.

Cooper is the second former Husky in two days to be waived. Kenny James was let go on Thursday for roster room as the Seahawks signed their remaining rookie draft picks.

Cornerback Josh Wilson is being introduced this afternoon, and I'll check back after that.

Jerramy Stevens update

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:32 AM

Jerramy Stevens didn't leave Seattle by driving off into the sunset. It was after midnight when he was pulled over early one March morning in Arizona and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The Seahawks signed Marcus Pollard within 24 hours to play tight end and that was the last of Stevens and the Seahawks.

Well, maybe not. Stevens' case continues to wind its way through the Arizona courts. He pleaded not guilty and the case is currently headed toward trial. A hearing on evidence is scheduled for Aug. 14 in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the trial scheduled to begin on Sept. 5. That's four days before the Buccaneers play at the Seahawks in the regular-season opener for both teams.

Stevens hasn't been suspended for his second drunk-driving arrest since entering the league. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving in Kirkland in 2003. He could face disciplinary action from the league, and if convicted of extreme DUI in Arizona he would face a mandatory 30-day jail sentence, no more than 20 of which could be suspended. That means 10 days in the clink.

An officer found what he believed was marijuana in Stevens' back pocket at the time of his arrest, but he is not facing any drug charges.

For those curious, Stevens' blood-alcohol content was measured at .204 in Arizona, which is more than twice the legal limit. The test occurred about two and a half hours after he was pulled over.

Stevens told the officer he had four to five margaritas. Here's BAC calculator from a criminal defense attorney:

http://www.duiwashington.com/dui_washington/wa_bac_calculator.html

Additional post: Cleanandmostlysober makes a good point about the reliability of the calculators. Here's one more from the University of Oklahoma Police Department:

http://www.ou.edu/oupd/bac.htm

Also, here's a disclaimer that explains how the calculator may not be reliable: "There is no blood alcohol calculator that is 100% accurate because of the number of factors that come into play regarding the consumption and reduction (burnoff) rates of different people. Factors include the sex (male/female) of the drinker, differing metabolism rates, various health issues and the combination of medications that might be taken, drinking frequency, amount of food in the stomach and small intestine and when it was eaten, elapsed time, and others. The best that can be done is a rough estimation of the BAC level based on known inputs."

July 26, 2007

Rookies signed and sealed

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:59 AM

The Seahawks didn't have a first-round draft pick so they figured to have their rookie class signed to contracts before most other teams, and that's just what happened. Seattle announced the signing of Josh Wilson, the cornerback it selected in the second round of the draft.

Jose Miguel Romero wrote the news story on seattletimes.com soon.

Defensive end Baraka Atkins signed his contract, too, but Jose reported the sides agreed to terms earlier this week.

Wilson plays cornerback, a position where Kelly Jennings and Marcus Trufant are expected to start, but Wilson played well enough in the minicamps after the draft the team felt comfortable releasing Kelly Herndon.

Franchise tag has a kicker in Seattle this season

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:47 AM

The Seahawks face plenty of questions heading into this season.

How will the offensive line come together? What will the depth chart at wide receiver look like? Is the defensive line stouter than a year ago?

One thing they don't have to worry about: their franchise player (if a kicker really can be such a thing). That's too easy of a joke and not at all accurate because anyone who watched the Seahawks last season knows how much Josh Brown meant to the team. Not only did he make last-minute field goals, he made long last-minute field goals. The kind that make some kickers break into cold sweats. Instead, Brown was cool as ice.

Well, Brown was named the Seahawks franchise player and he's signed and sealed. Has been since May.

No drama with the franchise tag like 2005 when Shaun Alexander waited until the final week before training camp before agreeing to a deal. No hand-wringing like last season when training camp began under the shadow of the Seahawks' decision not to franchise tag Steve Hutchinson, leaving him room to finagle his way to Minnesota. And no waiting like the years before when Walter Jones was the franchise player and annually held out of training camp.

Meanwhile, Chicago just came to terms with its franchise player, linebacker Lance Briggs agreed to a 1-year, $7.2 million deal. Hmmmm. That was the same guy who just a few months back was quoted at FOXsports.com saying, "I've played my last snap for them. I'll never play another down for Chicago again." Guess $7.2 million is a lot to walk away from.

Well, that and Briggs did get the caveat that he won't named the Bears' franchise player next season provided he plays more than three-quarters of the team's defensive snaps. That means he should get to hit the open market, which is where the players hit the really big bucks, especially with the recent spike in the salary cap that has resulted in a corresponding jump in salary scale. Players who have never sniffed a Pro Bowl pulling down contracts with eight digits of guaranteed money in free agency.

Eager for something to talk about

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 2:10 AM

The dog days of the sports summer are about to end.

Wait. Bad choice of words considering the federal indictment handed to Michael Vick (aka "Ookie") this month.

The gruesome details of his case compete for time this week with the story about the NBA ref in cahoots with the mob and the ongoing competition over whether the Tour de France or Barry Bonds will inspire more hand wringing over steroids.

We interrupt the Sports Apocalypse with this: Seahawks training camp starts. Soon. Like Sunday. Rookies and veterans alike already started filtering into the Seahawks facility in Kirkland. Physical examinations are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. The first full practice is Sunday morning, 8:45.

They're not going to be at Cheney, closing the peephole fans used to have into the Seahawks' preparations. This year's practices are closed to the public. But we'll be there for you, keeping pace with the two-a-day practice schedule with blog entries, news stories and more emphasis on Seahawks coverage than ever before on seattletimes.com.

I should introduce myself here except I'm not sure how to do it.

Do I post my resume? Danny O'Neil has a history degree and 10 years working in sports journalism. This is my sixth season covering professional sports in Seattle and my third following the Seahawks in the NFL. I've covered a Super Bowl, written a previous blog, worked at ESPN.com and am excited to carve out this corner of seattletimes.com for Seahawks coverage that is as thoughtful as it is thorough.

Or since this is the Internet, should I make it like a MySpace profile? (Male, 32. Likes: UFC and crossword puzzles. Dislikes: Soccer. Especially anything concerning Beckham. Currently listening to: "Bayani" by the Blue Scholars.)

Or should I make a personal ad? ("I like grilling meat, answering e-mails over breakfast and own two malodorous dogs that can't get bathed often enough.")

Or maybe just continue with the big and bold proclamations of our increased coverage on the Internet, but there's a saying editors like to use that applies to this instance: Show, don't tell. So I thank you for stopping by and encourage you to come back each day so you can see the depth of coverage we'll provide.

Football practice may not have the romantic sound of pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, but the NFL and its emphasis of parity give every city in the league a slice of hope this time of year. Well, everyone except Detroit. Wait. Strike that. Even an easy joke like that isn't accurate because there's a chance the Lions' offense could really roar this season.

See, this time of year an NFL fan can talk himself -- or herself -- into almost anything. And after the week that was, it will be nice to talk about something that's happening on the field of play.

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