After all the anticipation and then excitement over the signing of Edgerrin James, the release of T.J. Duckett to clear a roster spot became an afterthought.
But Duckett was a popular player with his teammates and a productive one in the limited role he filled during his only season with the team. Duckett scored eight of the Seahawks’ 10 rushing touchdowns and converted a league-high12 third-and-one situations (on 15 attempts) in 2008, when he was the goal-line and short-yardage back.
The coaches were expecting to expand his role this season, only to come to the conclusion that Duckett remained a role player.
“It was our opinion, as a staff, as an organization, that at this point, he was a little bit more of a role player for us, and we were looking for more of a complementary player,” coach Jim Mora said.
“I think it’s very selfish when a coach says, ‘It’s really hard for me to cut somebody.’ You know, sit on the other side and see what it’s like. But I think it’s your obligation as a head coach to sit and talk to everyone that you do release.”
Now that Duckett is gone, who inherits the role he filled last season?
There’s Julius Jones, the starter. There’s also Justin Forsett, the change-of-pace back who has been productive on screen passes this preseason. And James, of course. But don’t forget about the passing game, where Matt Hasselbeck has been efficient with short throws to tight end John Carlson and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
“We’ll get it done,” Mora said. “It’s not always about having a big hammer. It’s also about having a guy that can find the crease. You know, in Atlanta – and I hate to harp back on those days – Warrick Dunn, who was not of the biggest stature, was one of the best third-and-short runners I’ve ever been around because he knew how to find the crease.
“I think Edgerrin does that. He rarely takes a negative run. He always falls forward. So he’ll be a good addition for this football team.”