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Percy Harvin is one of the league's best kickoff returners, but does it unnecessarily expose him to injury? (AP)

By Brady Henderson

John Clayton, Jim Moore and Dave Wyman spent a portion of Tuesday's edition of "Cold Hard Facts" revisiting what has become their great debate – whether Percy Harvin should be the Seahawks' primary kickoff returner.

Here's the link to the audio. The Harvin conversation begins at the 7:15 mark.

As Moore and Wyman note, Harvin is unquestionably Seattle's best kickoff returner. But the debate boils down to whether it's too big a risk to expose an already injury-prone player to additional contact.

Clayton thinks it is.

"You need him more to spark the offense and give Russell Wilson more playmaking ability," he said. "You can occasionally spot him, but I am totally against the idea of him being the full-time returner because if he gets injured – and he tends to get injured because he runs so hard and plays so hard – you want him for the offense, not special teams."

Each opinion has merit, in my view.

Harvin came to Seattle having already established himself as one of the league's best kickoff returners, and what he did during his only two chances last season reinforced that. First was a 58-yard return in Week 11. Then, of course, was the 87-yard return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. It's hard to argue with a 72.5-yard average, and while that's obviously a small sample size, Harvin's career mark during the regular season is a healthy 28.2.

Seahawks 2013 Kickoff Return Stats
Player Att. Yds. Avg. Long TD Fum.
Jermaine Kearse 13 283 21.8 40 0 1
Robert Turbin 8 177 22.1 27 0 1
Doug Baldwin 6 187 31.2 69 0 0
Percy Harvin 2 145 72.5 87 1 0
Jeremy Lane 2 47 23.5 25 0 0
The other side of it is Harvin's injury history and how much more the Seahawks figure to count on his contributions as a receiver now that Golden Tate is no longer in the mix. When he came to Seattle, Harvin was a luxury of sorts for a receiving corps that was returning its leading targets from the previous two seasons in Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice as well as Tate, who would go on to claim that distinction in 2013.

That's no longer the case now that Tate has moved on and Rice is unsigned as he recovers from a torn ACL. Seattle's receiver corps, as it's currently constructed, isn't as deep as it was last season and therefore may not be as well positioned to adsorb the loss of Harvin if he becomes injured.

Something else to keep in mind, though, is how the Seahawks' defense might limit the team's kickoff-return opportunities. Seattle has allowed the fewest points in the league the last two seasons, which has meant fewer times where opponents have kicked off to the Seahawks following a score. Seattle returned 33 regular-season kickoffs in 2013 and 29 in 2012, totals that ranked 25th and 30th, respectively. Fewer opportunities to return kickoffs means fewer hits, so if Seattle's defense comes close playing at the same level in 2014, that could indirectly mitigate some of the injury risk.

The table on the right shows the Seahawks' kickoff-return totals last season, including the playoffs. It excludes Tate, who returned four kickoffs but no longer factors into the equation now that he's moved on. It also excludes four instances where a kickoff – presumably a squib or an onsides kick – was fielded by a blocker.

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"This is a very special day," coach Pete Carroll said as the Seahawks announced his new deal. (AP) | More photos

By Brady Henderson

RENTON – A few notes and quotes from the Seahawks' headquarters, where the team on Friday announced a contract extension for head coach Pete Carroll:

Three-year deal. General manager John Schneider said he wouldn't get into the specifics of Carroll's new contract but later let one of the details slip, congratulating Carroll and his wife on "their new three-year deal."

Carroll was entering the final year of the five-year deal he signed before the 2010 season. A new three-year deal – as opposed to a three-year extension on top of his old deal – would mean Carroll and Schneider are both under contract through 2016.

Carroll, joining 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" following the press conference, had this to say when asked why the two sides arrived on a three-year deal: "I don't know. They figured all that stuff out; I didn't care. Whatever they thought was the right thing was good for me. It doesn't matter to me. I'm going to coach the same way today that I would have anyway. I think it's a good, solid statement that we're here together and going to go for it."

How much longer? The relatively short length of the new deal raises an obvious question about whether Carroll is creeping toward the end of his coaching career. He's 62 – albeit the youngest 62-year-old you'll ever meet – and has interests outside of football, namely his community efforts in Seattle and Los Angeles. While he said he and his family have discussed retirement, it's not something he's considering anytime soon.

"We've talked about retirement," he said. "I had a chance to experience retirement when I got fired in New England and that was 10 months of it and I had had enough of it after about 10 days of it."

Carroll said that when the time does come, it will likely be because he loses the vigor that is takes to succeed in such a demanding profession and not because his mental sharpness wanes.

"Somebody taught me a long time ago that coaches don't get stupid, they don't all of the sudden lose it," he said. "They lose their willingness to fight the fight, and that's something I'm aware of, just those same battles that you have to wage on a regular basis to fight for getting things correct or doing the things you've got to do. I think you can lose energy to fight. I'm full of a bunch of that juice right now. I've got no problems, so I'm just going to keep going as long as we're having fun and doing good things and we're making good progress."

Carroll/Schneider relationship. It has been obvious for some time now that Carroll and Schneider are in complete lockstep, and Friday's press conference was just the latest reminder of how strong a working relationship they have. The two, as they often do, effusively complimented the job the other has done done to the point that Schneider jokingly referred to it as a "love fest."

One of the most important relationships within an organization is that of its head coach and general manager, and you don't have to look outside the NFC West to see an example of a pairing that doesn't appear to be on the same page. With Carroll and Schneider, though, there's never been so much as hint of discord.

Just how important has their ability to work together been to the success of the organization?

"I think it's everything," Carroll said.

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By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks have signed long snapper Jorgen Hus, a 24-year-old Canadian who you can see in the video above performing some long-snapping trick shots.

The team announced the move Thursday. It brings to four the number of players the Seahawks have added in free agency.

Hus was undrafted out of the University of Regina in Saskatchewan last year and spent the preseason with St. Louis but was released before the regular season. He's friends with Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, who also attended Regina and is from that city.

Clint Gresham has been Seattle's long snapper since 2010 and is under contract through next season.

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By Brady Henderson

For most Super Bowl MVPs, the award marks the latest and often greatest accomplishment in a career that has already had many. Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, though, is just hoping it helps him earn a starting job.

Smith was a part-time starter last season, and his role in 2014 isn't set in stone. As strange as that sounds, it's reality given how Seattle has only three starting spots for four linebackers who are all capable of starting.

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Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII, will have to compete for a starting role in 2014. (AP)
"That's the way we do things," Smith told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" on Wednesday. "I'm looking forward to the competition and the opportunity to be able to start. Just trying to pave the way a little bit. The Super Bowl was fun and hopefully I showed a little something, and just trying to build on it."

It wasn't as if Smith came out of nowhere when he was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII after returning an interception for a touchdown, recovering a fumble and recording 10 tackles.

He was the one who caught the pass that was deflected by Richard Sherman in the NFC title game, the other half of the decisive play that punched Seattle's ticket to the Super Bowl. In Week 17, Smith returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown to help Seattle beat St. Louis and claim both the NFC West title and the conference's No. 1 seed. He made eight starts during the regular season, all of them coming when Seattle's normal starting linebackers – Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright – were either suspended or injured.

If he's going to be a full-time starter in 2014, Smith will have to break through a linebacker logjam.

Here's what we know: Wagner's spot in the middle is almost certainly secure, not only because of how well he played after returning from a midseason ankle injury but because Smith has only played on the outside during his three NFL seasons. Wright also entered the league in 2011 and has been a starter ever since, first on the strong side before moving over to the weak side last season. And Irvin likely isn't moving back to defensive end. That was the word from defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who told 710 ESPN Seattle that Irvin is "really in the right spot" at outside linebacker.

"I want to start, obviously," Smith said.

Here's more from Smith's appearance on "Bob and Groz":

Life as an MVP. Winning the Super Bowl MVP has meant newfound attention and some nice perks for Smith. He won a new Chevrolet truck, which he's giving to his mother. He's made the media rounds, including appearances on "SportsCenter" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live". There was also the trip to Walt Disney World. He flew there on a private plane and was given his own parade. "A lot of little kids thought I was pretty cool for being next to Mickey Mouse," he said.

No more dunking. Smith will go down as the last player to legally dunk a ball over the crossbar now that the NFL has disallowed the celebration. That's how he punctuated his pick-six in the Super Bowl – sort of. Understandably gassed after his 69-yard return, it was more like a layup. He'll need a new celebration now that it's no longer legal. "I should have had a new one before I did that one," he joked.

In the community. Smith was among the members of the Seahawks and Sounders who visited victims of the Oso mudslide last week. "It was a sad experience," he said, "but at the same time it's one of the most important things I've done in my entire life, being able to kind of just give a distraction to those people and kind of talk to them about what they've been going through." Smith has also worked with Food Lifeline to help launch "The Great American Milk Drive", an effort to provide food banks with milk for those in need. More information can be found here.

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By Brady Henderson

When Washington football was in the throes of one of the worst stretches in the program's history, the lack of talent translated to plenty of losses and not many pro prospects.

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"I'm not a very big guy but I can throw the ball with the best of 'em," said former UW quarterback Keith Price, "and I thought I proved that today." (AP) | More photos
There were only five Huskies drafted from 2005-2009 – including just one who was taken in the first three rounds and none at all in the final two years of that stretch – which made for a lack of pre-draft buzz around Montlake.

Much has changed since then. Running back Bishop Sankey, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and quarterback Keith Price were the headliners Wednesday at Washington's pro day, which was the latest reminder of how far the program has come.

Here are some notes on what went down:

Price was on point. Price wasn't invited to the NFL scouting combine despite his record-setting career at UW, which made Wednesday's workout that much more important. He was happy with his performance, and understandably so given how exceedingly sharp he looked during his throwing session. His accuracy and arm strength stood out during his 50 throws, some of which he delivered after maneuvering around simulated pressure. He ended with a pair of heaves that traveled about 60 yards in the air, the first just off the fingertips of the receiver and the second a few feet overthrown. The final tally, for what it's worth: 46 of 50, including one perfectly-placed pass that was dropped. "He threw the ball great," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Threw it about 65 (yards). That's far enough."

Sankey shows his hands. Sankey vaulted to No. 1 on several analysts' rankings of the top running back prospects thanks to what was by all accounts a strong performance at the combine. For some, though, a questioned remained: his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. "I just wanted to come out here and take away any questions about my hands, and I feel like I did well," he said. "I didn't have any drops today, and I felt good and smooth running of my routes. So it went well." Sankey did not run a 40-yard dash Tuesday, taking part in position work only.

ASJ still on the mend. Seferian-Jenkins did not take part in any on-field drills Wednesday, still recovering from surgery on a stress fracture in his foot that was discovered at the combine. He said the diagnosis was a surprise because while he had a sore foot during his final season at UW – after which he was voted the nation's top tight end – it was never something that limited him. "I was walking around, playing with it," he said. "I didn't really think anything of it." Seferian-Jenkins said he expects to be medically cleared by April 25 or 26.

Seahawks well represented. A large contingent of Seahawks representatives were in attendance Wednesday, including the majority of their offensive coaching staff. In addition to Carroll and general manager John Schneider, on hand were Darrell Bevell (offensive coordinator), Carl Smith (quarterbacks), Dave Canales (assistant quarterbacks/quality control), Kippy Brown (wide receivers), Pat McPherson (tight ends), Sherman Smith (running backs) and Nate Carroll (assistant).

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By Brady Henderson

Every NFL team's worst nightmare is an injury to its starting quarterback, so you could imagine why general manager John Schneider might have been uneasy about Russell Wilson taking part in infield drills with the Texas Rangers last month, as harmless as it was.

But what about Wilson participating in a slam-dunk contest? That's a whole different ballgame, one that Schneider or anyone in his position would never want Wilson to try his hand at.

He won't. It was part of an April Fools' Day prank that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pulled off Tuesday with the help of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and 710 ESPN Seattle.

Carroll planted the seed Tuesday morning with a tweet noting that Bo Ryan, the head coach of Final Four-bound Wisconsin, had invited Wilson to practice with his alma mater's basketball team.

Schneider was an in-studio guest on "Brock and Danny" along with his wife to discuss their efforts to help families with autistic children. Alvarez called in and thanked Schneider for allowing Wilson to not only practice with Wisconsin but compete in a dunk contest. Schneider, perhaps wary given the date, figured it was an imposter who was in on a ruse until he realized it was, in fact, Alvarez.

"That was really Barry Alvarez you guys had on right there," Schneider said. "I thought you guys were completely playing a joke on me right there."

"So wait, you did not know that he was going to do the slam-dunk contest?" co-host Danny O'Neil asked.

"No – well, they want him to, but that's not happening," Schneider replied.

Carroll called in a few minutes later, and if the jig wasn't already up when he began talking about Wilson and the dunk contest, it was when he delivered the punch line: "You just got punked, man. Happy April Fools."

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By Brady Henderson

NFL teams don't stay the same from one season to the next. Especially not Super Bowl champions, who typically experience a significant amount of turnover as their players become more attractive and their rosters becomes more expensive.

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Schneider
So while the Seahawks have lost several key players, general manager John Schneider says the team's offseason is going according to plan.

"What I would say is that we're pleased with the way things are going," Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" on Tuesday. "The way they've gone is part of the model that we've created over the last, I would say, year and a half. So we expected some attrition along the way. It's always very hard to make those decisions and move forward, but we're very excited about the young players that we have on this team."

The number of players Seattle has either released or lost in free agency is up to 10. It includes starters like Golden Tate, Breno Giacomini, Chris Clemons and Red Bryant as well as backups who played significant roles like Walter Thurmond and Clinton McDonald.

Along with re-signing starting defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel as well as kicker Steven Hauschka, Seattle added a trio of players who combined for two starts in 2013. But while the new additions have been minimal both in terms of volume and name value, Schneider said he's excited about the players who could make an impact after spending most or all of 2013 on the sidelines. That list includes defensive lineman Greg Scruggs and cornerback Tharold Simon, who didn't play a down last season because of injuries.

"We're really excited about the young core of players that we have. We feel like two of our most explosive offensive players barely even played last year in Christine Michael and Percy (Harvin)," Schneider said. "So (we're) just excited about our plan and moving forward, and we're blessed enough to have young, talented team and we need to be able to plan accordingly in terms of being able to reward those players."

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By Brady Henderson

There wasn't much drama when the NFL released the complete order of the 2014 draft. At least there wasn't for the Seahawks, whose place in line has for the most part been set since they won the Super Bowl in February.

Seattle has seven draft picks, six of which are 32nd in their respective round. The Seahawks have an additional fifth-round pick, which they acquired from Oakland in the Matt Flynn trade. It's the sixth pick of the fifth round, where the Seahawks have made hay in recent years, unearthing future Pro Bowlers Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.

The Seahawks don't have a third-round selection, having included it in the package of picks they sent to Minnesota for Percy Harvin. And they don't have any compensatory selections, which are given to teams who experienced net losses in free agency the year before.

The complete list of Seahawks picks:

• Round 1, 32 overall
• Round 2, 64 overall
• Round 4, 132 overall
• Round 5, 146 overall (Matt Flynn trade)
• Round 5, 172 overall
• Round 6, 208 overall
• Round 7, 247 overall

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Brady Henderson

Brady Henderson became the editor of 710Sports.com in June of 2010 after covering high school sports for The Seattle Times. A Seattle native, he graduated from Western Washington University in 2008 with a degree in journalism.



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