RENTON – A few notes after the Seahawks held their first organized team activity (OTA) on a sunny Monday afternoon at the team's headquarters:
All eyes on Irvin. Coach Pete Carroll began his post-practice press conference by speaking at length about the challenge and importance of keeping young players on the straight and narrow. This comes on the heels of the NFL suspending defensive end Bruce Irvin for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances and news that backup quarterback Josh Portis was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Bruce Irvin is eligible to participate in the Seahawks' offseason activities despite his suspension. (Rod Mar, Seattle Seahawks)
Irvin and Portis were both practicing Monday. Irvin lined up during team drills at both Leo end and outside linebacker. He's eligible to participate in all offseason workouts and preseason games, but will miss the first four games of the regular season while serving his suspension.
The NFL announced the suspension Friday. In a statement released by the team, Irvin apologized for taking a substance that is prohibited by the NFL without a medical-use exemption. He isn't appealing the suspension.
"For Bruce, we're going to try to help him along as best we possibly can," Carroll said. "He's made an enormous commitment to try and do the right thing and to try to be right and he made a mistake and he admitted to it, he owned up to it to his teammates and he owned up to it to the staff and he owned up to it to everybody."
Irvin became the fifth Seahawk since 2011 to be suspended for a violation of the league's PED policy. That doesn't include cornerback Richard Sherman, whose suspension was overturned on appeal. Carroll said the Seahawks go "well past" league protocol for educating players on what is and isn't allowed, but said they'll have to continue to evaluate their practices in light of the continued issues.
"We have to figure it out and try to help through education and through all of the ways that we can," he said. "We will always compete to find more creative ways to make the message clear."
Avril sidelined. Carroll said the Seahawks are fortunate to have added defensive end Cliff Avril in free agency given Irvin's suspension and the uncertainty about Chris Clemons' availability to begin the season. Avril was in attendance but didn't practice Monday because of a plantar fascia foot injury that Carroll said he sustained about a month ago. The injury didn't require surgery, and Carroll said he expects Avril to be back to full speed soon.
"The plantar fascia thing is a real uncomfortable thing that you just have to wait it out," Carroll said. "It's something that you can come back from, it's not a problem, but you just have to wait it out. He's real anxious to go and he's doing very well in his rehab. He runs some this week for the first time. It just takes another couple weeks, at least."
Lynch absent. Aside from Clemons and fellow injured defensive end Greg Scruggs, running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player on Seattle's 90-man roster who was absent Monday. Attendance at OTAs is voluntary, something Carroll noted without giving further explanation as to why Lynch wasn't in attendance. Carroll said Lynch is not injured and that that he's working out in the Bay Area.
"He's in very good shape. He came in 10 days ago and was in really good shape," Carroll said. "He's working on a really intense program in his area and he's benefiting from it. We'd love to see everybody here."
Robert Turbin took snaps with the first-team offense in Lynch's absence. Second-round pick Christine Michael was limited because of a tight hamstring.
Other injuries. Tight end Anthony McCoy injured his right ankle during 11-on-11 drills and had to be carted off the field. Rookie cornerback Tharold Simon did not practice because of a foot injury.