A recap of Friday’s practice at Seahawks training camp:
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Nate Burleson. With apologies to tight end John Carlson, the nod goes to the wide receiver who missed just about all of last season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in the opener.
When Burleson did practice during the spring minicamps and OTA sessions, it was on a limited basis and with a cumbersome brace on his knee.
Friday, the brace was gone and Burleson showed encouraging signs of being back – all the way back. First, he got behind cornerback Josh Wilson to catch a deep pass from Matt Hasselbeck. Then, he hooked up with Hasselbeck to make a nice sideline grab against cornerback Ken Lucas. He also had a reaching catch of a Hasselbeck pass over the middle.
Asked about his first-day performance, Burleson, always the perfectionist, offered, “I dropped one, too. So it could have been better.”
Hasselbeck, however, begged to differ. “Nate has never looked bad to me,” he said. “He moves really, really well. He’s very explosive when you get the ball in his hands. Something electric is going to happen.
“Practice doesn’t look hard for him.”
That definitely was the case Friday.
“It was a real good feeling,” said the brace-less Burleson. “With that brace on, I really didn’t feel like myself. So to get full extension and actually run without any restriction felt good. And then with me and Matt connecting a few times, that a good feeling on the first day of camp.”
PLAY OF THE DAY
Now it’s Carlson’s turn. The second-year tight end made a one-handed catch as he was falling to the turf and, in one ridiculously graceful move, rolled over and came up displaying the ball.
But then Carlson spent the spring making impressive grabs – just one reason why when the coaches talk about using four receivers, they include last year’s second-round draft choice rather than an extra wide-out.
MATCHUP OF THE DAY
Right tackle Ray Willis vs. left defensive end Lawrence Jackson. These two tangled twice, and Willis came out on top each time – literally.
First, they collided on a running play and Jackson had to leave the field to have his left ankle taped. Later, in the one-on-one pass rush drill, Willis flung Jackson to the ground. Before the tussle could escalate, teammates separated the two.
“It’s just football,” Jackson said. “Nothing serious. Hopefully it’s not a regular thing, but things like that just happen in football.”
Coach Jim Mora said that he does not like practice-field fights, but then added of the tenacious Willis, “I predicted that Ray would be involved in the first fight. I just didn’t think it would be on the first day.”
The big news was guard Mike Wahle being released after he failed his physical. Wahle did not recover from having shoulder surgery in December as well as expected. The club also released center David Washington.
Two veteran linemen were signed to fill their roster spots – Cory Withrow, who played at Washington State and Spokane’s Mead High School before having NFL stints with the Rams, Chargers and Vikings; and Grey Ruegamer, who previously played for the Dolphins, Patriots, Packers and Giants. Both players had been in for tryouts earlier in the week.
Cornerback Marcus Trufant was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list because of a sore back. Mora described it as a precautionary move. Going on PUP at this time means Trufant can return to practice whenever he recovers.
Defensive end Barkara Atkins has excused for two days to attend the funeral of a close friend in Florida. Also missing was first-round draft choice Aaron Curry, who has yet to sign a contract.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It was OK, but not good enough.” – Hasselbeck, when asked how the first day had gone