Updated Mar 18, 2013 - 3:00 pm
Seattle Seahawks Blog
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 9:12pm
Ten observations from the Seahawks' first OTA practice on Monday that only a backup, middle child, left-handed quarterback can provide. Here goes ...
10. I appreciated coach Pete Carroll's impassioned comments about the number of image hits his organization has taken with five suspensions resulting from violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. I can't help but wonder if there is a correlation between amphetamines and the pace and energy with which some of the younger players practice.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he's about five pounds heavier having focused on improving his lower-body strength during the offseason. (AP)
8. Christine Michael has to stay on the field and avoid the ice packs on the hamstrings. This roster and offense will be so challenged to spread the ball around and distribute touches, and if Michael can't stay healthy in practice, his looks will be minimal and opportunities scarce.
7. On a day like today with the sun shining, the grass freshly clipped and the boats anchored nearby, I'm reminded there is no facility in the NFL like the palace that Paul Allen built. It goes a long way towards creating the other rare NFL work environment – fostering a culture where guys don't want to go home and play video games, but would rather stay at the office.
6. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin were not only sharp in their routes and execution, but it was obvious they are fighting for touches and their reputations. This isn't phase three for Baldwin and Tate; their offseason work and commitment with their quarterback has them in regular-season form.
5. Brady Quinn is no Kam Chancellor in terms of physique.
4. It is mind boggling how enormous the Legion of Boom is at field level, even in shorts and helmets. I remember Kelly Jennings, Fred Thomas, Marcus Trufant and the litany of diminutive corners the Seahawks ran out for years, and to see Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner close down angles and throwing lanes is a thing of beauty.
3. Find me a better offensive-line coach than Tom Cable. Try it.
2. There was a reason Indianapolis won 12 games a year for a decade. Peyton Manning set the tone, but Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison didn't miss minicamps or OTAs. When an organization's best and most talented players invest more than anyone else, results tend to follow.
1. Russell Wilson is really good. I chatted with Brady Quinn after practice, and let's just say he was blown away by the kid's arsenal and talent. On top of that, Wilson's makeup and demeanor are unwavering, and as Quinn alluded to, now it will be up to the rest of the team to keep up with him. Not bad for a second-year player.
I think I could keep going, but that is what the radio airwaves are for. You ready for football season to start? I am.
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 7:23pm
RENTON – Cliff Avril was a spectator as the Seahawks held their first organized team activity Monday, but he says the plantar fascia foot injury that kept him on the sideline is nothing to be concerned about.
While painful, Avril's injury didn't require surgery, and coach Pete Carroll said he expects the defensive end to be back to full speed in a matter of weeks.
That qualifies as a bit of good news for the Seahawks, who have seen their pass rush take a hit in recent weeks with Avril's foot injury, Greg Scruggs' ACL tear and Bruce Irvin's suspension. When the Seahawks signed Avril and Michael Bennett during the first week of free agency, their additions were seen as a luxury for a team that already had Irvin and at some point would get Chris Clemons back from a knee injury.
The outlook changed Friday when the NFL announced that Irvin will be suspended for the first four games of the season for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Irvin waived his right to appeal and acknowledged that he made a mistake by taking a substance that is prohibited without a medical-use exemption. He apologized publicly via a statement released by the team as well as a lengthy message posted on his Twitter account.
Irvin also apologized to his teammates during a team meeting. That impressed Avril, who saw plenty of teammates run afoul of the law and the NFL's policies during his five seasons with the Lions.
"Honestly, it was surprising for a young player like that to want to get in front of the team and apologize and what not. That was great, though, to see that maturity in him," Avril said. "I've only known him for a few weeks now, and to see a young player actually want to go out in front of 50, 60 guys and tell them what's going on and that he's going to miss the first four games of the season, much respect to him."
Irvin, eligible to participate in offseason activities despite his suspension, lined up at both Leo end and outside linebacker Monday. The Seahawks are considering using Irvin and Avril at outside linebacker in certain situations this season as a way of getting as many pass rushers on the field as possible, and Monday's OTA was an indication that they aren't scrapping that experiment because of Irvin's suspension.
Avril, 27, totaled 29 sacks over the last three seasons while mostly playing end in Detroit's 4-3 defense. While any new position requires a significant adjustment, starting in a two-point stance and dropping into coverage aren't completely foreign concepts for Avril, who began his career at Purdue as an outside linebacker. The Seahawks haven't offered many specifics about their plans for Avril and Irvin, but Avril said any action he sees in that role would include him lining up on the line of scrimmage.
"We talked about it during the process while I was signing. It's possible that there may be times where they need me to drop into coverage from time to time, and I do feel like I can do it. Whatever the team needs," he said. "But come passing downs, I truly believe I'll be one of the guys getting after the quarterbacks."
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 2:50pm
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.
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 1:25pm
RENTON – The Seahawks have signed second-round pick Christine Michael to a multi-year contract, the team announced before the start of Monday's organized team activity.
Michael, chosen with the 62nd overall selection, becomes the ninth of Seattle's 11 draft picks to sign with the team. Cornerback Tharold Simon and tackle Michael Bowie remain un-signed.
Michael was limited during Monday's OTA because of a tight hamstring, coach Pete Carroll said.
The team also signed tight end Darren Fells to a multi-year contract and released long snapper Adam Steiner to clear a spot on the 90-man roster. Fells, signed in March and released earlier this month, participated in the Seahawks' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Steiner was claimed off waivers last week.
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 9:46am
Seahawks backup quarterback Josh Portis was arrested earlier this month in Seattle on suspicion of DUI, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times reports.
According to Condotta, Portis was will be arraigned on May 28 for the May 5 arrest in which he allegedly registered blood-alcohol levels of .092 and .078 after he was pulled over for speeding on eastbound 1-90. The state's legal limit is .08.
Portis, 25, is one of three Seahawks quarterbacks vying for a backup role behind starter Russell Wilson.
Portis was signed as an undrafted free agent out of California University in Pennsylvania in 2011 and spent his rookie season as Seattle's third quarterback. He spent 12 weeks on the practice squad last year before he was released in November, and he signed a two-year deal last month.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 3:53pm
Earl Thomas had a three-letter reaction when he learned of his ranking on the NFL Network's list of the league's top-100 players.
"Lol," the Seahawks' All-Pro safety tweeted after checking in at No. 66 Thursday.
Thomas took it as a slight that he was ranked 66th for the second straight year despite being a first-team All-Pro selection and a Pro Bowl starter in 2012.
In the video below, Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil assess Thomas' 2012 season and discuss what he can do to take the next step in 2013.
You can listen to Friday's show here.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 1:50pm
By Danny O'Neil
Training camp is more than two months away, but the Seahawks suffered their first loss of the season.
Bruce Irvin will be suspended for the first four games of the season, the NFL announced Friday, for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
That's the cue to begin the hand-wringing, whether it's about depth at Seattle's pass-rushing defensive end or the fact that Irvin becomes the fifth Seahawk in three years to be suspended for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
"I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake," Irvin said in a statement released by the Seahawks. "I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption. I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions."
He was not suspended under the league's policy for substance abuse, which generally requires multiple violations. He was suspended under the policy for a performance-enhancing substance, which is triggered by a single violation.
Irvin's explanation points to Adderall, an amphetamine that can be prescribed for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A player will be suspended for testing positive for amphetamines unless he has applied for – and received – a medical-use exemption from the league.
That explanation does not minimize the impact of his suspension nor does it excuse Irvin's oversight that led to it, especially on a team that became a focal point for the discussion of Adderall when cornerback Richard Sherman had a four-game suspension overturned last season because the testing procedure was not followed.
There is no way to minimize the impact of the suspension either in terms of the loss of Irvin, a player Seattle chose as the first defensive end off the board in 2012, or the misjudgment that led to the suspension.
Irvin's suspension is a reality check after an offseason of unchecked optimism and acquisition, a reminder of just how fragile a formula for success can be.
Before the news of Irvin's suspension, the Seahawks had so much depth at defensive end that they were working Irvin at strongside linebacker to see how if it was possible to get him on the field at the same time as returning starter Chris Clemons or Cliff Avril, the defensive end Seattle signed in free agency.
Now, Avril is the only pass-rushing end Seattle can be certain will be available for the season-opener as Clemons is coming off knee surgery to repair a torn ligament suffered in January.
Not only that, but running back Marshawn Lynch has a court hearing in the Bay Area next week on a motion to dismiss a DUI charge he faces there. If that motion is denied, Lynch could face a trial this summer and were he to be convicted, he could face league discipline as well.
None of this news undermines Seattle's hopes for this season, but it serves as a reminder that 2013 isn't going to be a parade either. There is going to be adversity. There will be mistakes, and some of those mistakes – like Irvin's suspension – are going to be maddeningly self-inflicted.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 12:34pm
The NFL has suspended Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Irvin issued a statement through the team in which he apologized to his teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans and said he made a mistake by taking a substance that is prohibited without a medical exemption. The league does not divulge which substances trigger positive tests.
"I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return," Irvin's statement read, in part.
Irvin, Seattle's first-round pick in 2012, led all rookies in sacks last season with eight while playing mainly as a situational pass-rusher. His role was expected to expand this season with the Seahawks facing the possibility of having to begin the year without their best pass rusher, Chris Clemons, who's recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.
Ian Rapoport, a reporter for the NFL Network, tweeted Friday that the Seahawks knew Irvin's suspension was a possibility before the start of free agency, which would further explain why they added pass-rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.
Irvin becomes the fifth Seahawk since 2011 to be suspended for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Allen Barbre, John Moffitt, Winston Guy and Brandon Browner are the others. Richard Sherman had his suspension overturned on appeal.
He expressed remorse via Twitter Friday: "I messed up and I feel so bad and have been depressed for weeks now. I've had sleepless nights because I knew when this came out, I would let so many people down, including myself. I have worked so hard to rebuild my image and it takes another blow."
Related: Irvin's suspension is a reality check for the Seahawks.
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