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.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 11:36am
By Brady Henderson
Michael Robinson has been an adept lead blocker, a special teams captain and a vocal presence for the Seahawks, but his future in Seattle became less certain when the team drafted an alternative in Spencer Ware.
That was among the subjects discussed when Mike Sando of ESPN.com and Eric Williams of The News Tribune joined "Brock and Danny" on Monday to wrap up the Seahawks' rookie minicamp.
Robinson has done it all as Seattle's Swiss Army Knife since the team signed him at the end of the 2010 training camp. But he's 30 years old, has a salary that is scheduled to count $2.5 million against the 2013 cap and plays a position that requires him to run headlong into opposing linebackers, naturally raising questions about longevity.
NFL teams are constantly looking for younger and cheaper alternatives, and that's what Ware represents. As a sixth-round pick, Ware's salary is slotted at roughly $400,000 for his rookie season, significantly less than Robinson's. He was primarily a halfback at LSU, but the Seahawks' plan is to convert him to fullback and occasionally take advantage of his ability to carry the ball.
Coach Pete Carroll conceded that it will be tough to keep two fullbacks on the roster, especially if Ware doesn't demonstrate an ability to play special teams.
|Height/Weight:||5-10, 229 lbs.|
|Drafted:||Round 6, 194 overall|
|Notable:||Played OF on LSU's baseball team for part of the 2011 season.|
O'Neil noted that Seattle has an open role in the backfield after releasing Leon Washington, who saw some time as the third-down back last season. While Christine Michael showed good hands during Seattle's rookie minicamp, Carroll has said the second-round pick needs to improve his pass-blocking, an deficiency that could preclude him from a third-down role. That would leave Ware and Robert Turbin as the most viable options.
The Seahawks are also experimenting with defensive ends Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril at outside linebacker, and Sando wondered whether the flexibility in their front seven would allow them to keep one fewer player at either of those positions. That would create an extra roster spot, potentially allowing Seattle to keep two fullbacks who have different body types and perhaps could be used in different ways.
If not, it would create a difficult decision assuming Ware shows he's worth keeping around.
"Would you be willing as a coaching staff to move on from a guy who really is important to the team?" Sando said of Robinson. "I think he's a good player and a good leader, has a good rapport with (Marshawn) Lynch. It's just a really interesting pick that way. I'm not sure if he's (Ware) exclusive to Robinson, but it kind of feels like he is."
Williams doesn't disagree with that either-or premise, but he doesn't see Robinson being the odd-man-out.
"What he does with his ability to read the opening of the holes as a fullback, his ability to play special teams and his ability as one of the vocal leaders on this team, I don't think that can really be replaced by a sixth-round draft pick who hasn't played fullback since his freshman year," Williams said." So I think we really have to kind of pump our brakes on Spencer Ware being able to replace Michael Robinson at this point."
Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 2:05pm
Tom Cable will have five new offensive linemen at his disposal after the Seahawks added three in the draft and a pair of rookie free agents.
"He's doing really well," Cable, Seattle's offensive line coach, told "Bob and Groz" on Friday before the start of the team's three-day rookie minicamp.
Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2011, was a starter at right tackle as a rookie before he suffered a season-ending ACL tear after the team's ninth game. He returned to the field in Week 4 of last season and started seven games at guard before reinjuring the knee in Week 13.
Carpenter remained in Seattle to continue his rehab and prepare for the upcoming season. Cable said he recently had a "cleanup" procedure on that knee and that it now "feels the best it's felt this whole time."
Cable also said Carpentrer is significantly stronger.
"He's had a monumental offseason in the weight room," Cable said. "For a big guy and coming out of Alabama you would think he was there in terms of strength numbers; he really wasn't, but he is now. So it's a real credit to him and [strength and conditioning coach Chris] Carlisle and those guys in the weight room."
Carpenter is among the four players competing for one of two starting spots at guard, the others being Paul McQuistan, John Moffitt and J.R. Sweezy.
Friday, May 10, 2013 @ 10:43am
Seahawks general manager John Schneider has likened the NFL Draft to Christmas, which makes this weekend's rookie minicamp the first chance he'll get to see all his new toys in action.
Seattle's 11 draft picks and nine undrafted free agents will practice at the team's Renton headquarters Friday through Sunday. The group will also include 38 players on a tryout basis, Schneider said, as well as quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who was signed last month.
Schneider joined "Brock and Danny" before Friday's practice and shared a few notes about the weekend:
"His movement skills at the combine were good. His movement skills at his individual workout were excellent," Schneider said. "It will be really interesting to see – his background, obviously Harding and the level of competition is one of the reasons he was drafted where he was drafted. So I'm very interested to see him."
Schneider also mentioned Luke Willson, the tight end Seattle drafted in the fifth round. Willson was a backup at Rice who caught nine passes in 11 games last season, but Schneider likened him to Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson from the year before as a player Seattle was determined to draft.
"Luke was actually a guy that was in that same mold," Schneider said. "We really, really would have been disappointed if we wouldn't have been able to acquire him, that down-the-field threat."
Fells back in the fold. Darren Fells is among the tryouts at Seattle's minicamp. Fells, the former professional basketball player who's trying to make it in the NFL as a tight end, was waived by Seattle on Wednesday. Schneider said that move was about creating a spot on the roster, which is currently at the 90-man limit.
"He's still gonna get a chance to compete this weekend and see how he does. This will be his second time through the install, so hopefully that helps him," Schneider said. "He's got great hands, he's a big target. You just want to see how he develops this weekend."
The 6-foot-7 Fells last played football in high school.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 8:56pm
Seahawks guard James Carpenter is one of 14 players to enter the NFL as a first-round pick after playing for coach Nick Saban at Alabama.
Perhaps those injury issues are coincidental, but John Clayton made the connection to Alabama during Monday's edition of "Cold Hard Facts" when the conversation shifted to Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2011 whose first two NFL seasons have been cut short by knee injuries.
"Do you notice that a lot of the guys coming out of 'Bama are injured or suffering injuries or carryover injuries or (are) all banged up? They go through so much training when they're there," Clayton said. "... This is one of the reasons why Alabama is so successful and Nick Saban's got himself a mini-dynasty going on in college football, is because they work so hard."
Clayton cited a pair of Alabama players from this year's draft as further evidence: cornerback Dee Milliner and running back Eddie Lacy. Milliner, selected ninth overall by the Jets, reportedly underwent five surgeries while in college. Lacy has a toe injury that is believed to be part of the reason he fell to the Packers at the bottom of the second round.
"A lot of these guys coming out of 'Bama, they literally are out there practicing and lifting just about almost every day," Clayton said, "so you kind of wonder, is that just now what you get when you get an Alabama player – that he's not injury-prone but there is a little bit more of a chance that he is going to have more injuries than most?"
Which brings us back to Carpenter, who missed a total of 16 games while finishing each of his first two seasons on injured reserve. Carpenter remained in Seattle over the offseason to rehab and prepare for the upcoming season. He'll be competing with three others – Paul McQuistan, John Moffitt and J.R. Sweezy – for one of two starting spots at guard.
Dave Grosby and Danny O'Neil pick up the conversation there, previewing what is one of the Seahawks' only expected position battles.
You can listen to Wednesday's show here.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 @ 11:56am
As a rule, unrestricted free agents are harder for NFL teams to retain than restricted free agents.
The question with Browner was whether or not he gets credit for an accrued season in 2005, when he spent the year on injured reserve with the Broncos. Without that season, 2013 would be Browner's third in the NFL, one short of qualifying for unrestricted free agency under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement. But Sando – citing team, league and NFL Players Association sources – reports that Browner gets credit for that 2005 season, meaning he'll have four accrued NFL seasons after 2013 and can therefore become a UFA.
It's an important distinction to make, mainly because Browner's status as a UFA will complicate the Seahawks' efforts to retain him should they wait until next offseason. Any team signing another team's RFA has to relinquish a draft pick and is only guaranteed one year of service from that player, which is part of the reason why RFAs rarely change teams. There are no such guidelines with UFAs, making it easier for those free agents to sign elsewhere.
This could all be a moot point if the Seahawks decide to sign Browner to an extension before the end of next year. If they don't, they could be at a crossroads with Browner and their other starting cornerback, Richard Sherman, who will be eligible for an extension having completed his third NFL season.
Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 11:00am
Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin checks in at No. 90 in the NFL Network's list of "The Top 100 Players of 2013."
The NFL Network revealed Nos. 81-90 Thursday night. Harvin ranked one spot ahead of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and one behind Dolphins pass rusher Cameron Wake. He joins center Max Unger (No. 95) as Seahawks to make the list so far.
Recency matters. Players' voting determines the rankings, and recency seems to outweigh reputation in their minds. That would help explain why Harvin's peers ranked him the 90th best player despite his reputation as one of the league's top playmakers. Harvin was limited to nine games in 2012, missing the final seven with an ankle injury after playing at an MVP level for the first half of the season.
Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu, considered one of the preeminent safeties of his generation, fell 72 spots from last year's rankings after missing most of the season with an injury. Wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones, unranked last year, were Nos. 93 and 88, respectively, after helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl.
Harvin, by the way, didn't take the bait when asked by the NFL Network whether he thought he should be ranked ahead of Jones.
'Percy's ridiculous'. The video montage includes a brief exchange between Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and special teams coordinator Brian Schneider, who were marveling at Harvin's abilities before a Week 9 game against Minnesota last season. "Percy's ridiculous, man," Schneider says to Carroll, who responds, "That was scary watching that last night," presumably referring to film of Harvin.
The Seahawks would have had interest in Harvin even if they hadn't played Minnesota last season, of course, but perhaps studying him for a week and seeing him up close tipped the scales to some degree.
Who else? It's safe to assume we'll see more Seahawks on this list. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson and Russell Okung are the likeliest candidates, in my mind. I'm most interested to see where Lynch and Sherman fall on the list.
Lynch was ranked No. 94 last year. He's coming off a season in which he ran for a career-high 1,590 yards, made the Pro Bowl and was named a first-team All-Pro. Players vote on the rankings, remember, and a lot of them seem to speak about Lynch in reverent tones because of the respect they have for his relentless style of play. I wouldn't be surprised to see him ranked in the top 40 this year.
Sherman was unranked last year, having only been a starter for a handful of games when the voting took place. Some consider him the NFL's top cornerback a year later, but I wonder whether his outspoken nature will factor into the voting. Sherman has a penchant for trash talking and self-promotion, two things his peers might hold against him even though that has nothing to do with his ability to play cornerback.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 @ 1:55pm
It happens every draft. A highly rated prospect waits longer than anticipated before hearing his name called, sliding down the draft board for any number of reasons.
Jesse Williams was that player this year. Some projections had the massive defensive tackle from Alabama being selected late in the first round, but it wasn't until Day 3 when the Seahawks traded up in the fifth round to take him with the 137th overall pick.
Concerns about the health of Williams' knee is the most logical explanation for why a player considered to be one of the top prospects wasn't taken until the draft's third day, a slide that cost him a significant amount of money.
The Seahawks traded up to take Jesse Williams after the defensive tackle from Alabama fell to the fifth round. (AP)
"I wasn't really disappointed where I fell," he told "Brock and Danny" on Monday. "I'd rather wait and go to a good team than end up in a place where I couldn't really help out as much. It worked out for me in the end and hopefully it worked out for Seattle as well."
Williams played all along the defensive line during his two seasons at Alabama, but he was drafted by Seattle to fill a specific role. The Seahawks see him as a big-bodied run stuffer who can play the 3-technique tackle spot on early downs, a role filled the past two seasons by Alan Branch. Seattle expects Williams to compete with free-agent addition Tony McDaniel at that spot.
"This is a really cool football player," coach Pete Carroll told "Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy" Monday. "He's very, very strong, he's naturally stout and he's got a great toughness about him."
Williams seems to have it all.
Production? Check. He was a junior-college transfer who started on the Alabama teams that won consecutive national championships. He was a second-team All-SEC selection after a senior season in which he made 37 tackles while manning the middle of the nation's best defense.
Size and athleticism? Check and check. Williams was clocked at his pro day workout at 4.90 seconds in the 40-yard dash, an impressive time for a guy listed at 6-feet-3 and 325 pounds.
Oh, and he's strong. Williams can bench-press 600 pounds, which is considered a lot of weight even in a sport full of massive men with jaw-dropping strength.
It was fairly obvious, then, why he fell so far down in the draft.
"It came down to people worrying about my knee," he said.
Williams had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after the season to clean up what he described as a "nagging injury that kind of progressed as the season went on." The timing of the operation prevented him from doing everything but bench-press at the scouting combine in late-February. He did it all at Alabama's pro day earlier this month, including that head-turning 40.
"I though that would be enough to sort of clear the air about my knee," he said. "Obviously, it didn't."
Carroll said the Seahawks were concerned about the injury but came to the conclusion that Williams "was going to be plenty good enough with the time to recover." So when the Lions were on the clock with pick No. 137, Seattle gave up a fifth- and sixth-round pick to move up 28 spots and take Williams.
"To get him all the way in the fifth round when we had him up a little higher than that, we were really thrilled about nailing him," Carroll said. "So he's going to get a great chance to play a lot."