A recap of the day’s activities:
Comeback player of the year. The subject came up during coach Pete Carroll’s midweek news conference today, because the Seahawks have two candidates who are coming at it from very different directions.
Leon Washington had surgery to insert a steel rod in his severely broken right leg last October, but is averaging 27 yards on kickoff returns – with a league-leading three touchdowns; and 15.7 yards on punt returns. Mike Williams sat out the past two seasons, but is the Seahawks’ leading receiver with 60 catches.
“I love both stories, but for different reasons,” Carroll said.
So coach, who’s your pick?
“Well, they’re totally different,” Carroll said. “One is a guy overcoming bad years, and one is a guy overcoming a bad injury. I don’t look at them the same, but they have both done that. They’ve overcome the odds and resurfaced when maybe a lot of people may have counted them out.
“I think in that, it’s a statement for both guys about how tough they are, how determined they are to push it to the limits and show who they are.”
So that would be a split decision.
How about Williams? “I think that award is about guys who we really have come back, guys who were established players in this league and had a little bit of adversity and bounced back,” he said after practice, as the team began preparing for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers in Tampa.
“So Leon represents that. (Patriots wide receiver) Wes Welker represents that. … Leon, in my opinion, is even better than I remember him in New York. Just for me, I don’t think I really came back from anything; that you can really put your finger on something that I came back from. You could give me ‘Comeback Couch Player of the Year.’ ”
Washington also splits his vote, between a couple of Mikes – his teammate and Eagles QB Michael Vick.
“My injury was physically devastating,” Washington said. “But just think about Mike (Vick) and the mental things he had to go through the past couple years and to be able to come back on the football field at that position, and mentally be strong and go out there and do what he has done.”
As for the other Mike, Washington offered, “Same thing. That’s a tremendous comeback. To be out two years in the National Football League and to be able to come back and play at a high level, that says a lot of about him.
“So I root for both of those Mikes.”
LET’S GO (PRO) BOWLING
The Seahawks players and coaches cast their Pro Bowl votes after practice. Rookie free safety Earl Thomas and Washington were the top vote-getters in fan balloting, but each was fifth at his respective positions.
Defensive end Chris Clemons also deserves some recognition. He has a career-high 10 sacks among his 44 tackles, which leads the team’s defensive linemen. Clemons’ play has jumped out at Buccaneers’ coach Raheem Morris as he has reviewed video not only this week but all season.
“We’ve had a lot of chances to really look at their defense because of all their common opponents,” Morris said. “I got a chance to really fall in love with that No. 91, Chris Clemons, and how he’s been rushing the passer and what he’s been able to do as a hybrid athlete for you guys.”
PRACTICE SQUAD ROULETTE
The club has signed a pair of rookie linebackers to its practice squad: Michael Johnson (6-foot, 254 pounds) and Vuna Tuihalamaka (6-0, 230).
Johnson, who went to North Alabama, was signed off the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad. Tuihalamaka, who went to Arizona, was with the Indianapolis Colts during training camp but had been released on the roster cut to 53 players in September.
They fill the spots that opened when defensive end Derek Walker was placed on injured reserve and cornerback Marcus Brown was signed to the 53-man roster.
ON THE FIELD
Another December day without rain, another outdoor practice for the Seahawks. The players worked for 80 minutes on the shores of Lake Washington.
Among the highlights were wide receiver Ben Obomanu going down to grab a pass from Matt Hasselbeck and defensive back Jordan Babineaux busting a few moves while Rick James’ “Super Freak” was blaring from the speakers used to simulate a game-day atmosphere.
The official report, as released by the team:
Did not practice
DL Junior Siavii (neck)
CB Marcus Trufant (back)
C Chris Spencer (shoulder)
DE Chris Clemons (ankle)
LB Will Herring (hamstring)
MLB Lofa Tatupu (knee)
Siavii is the most serious of the group. “He’s not well right now,” Carroll said. “He’s still coming back. So he won’t do anything at all this week.”
With Spencer out, Chris White worked at center with the No. 1 line. On defense, Raheem Brock filled in Clemons, Kentwan Balmer for Siavii, Matt McCoy for Tatupu and Walter Thurmond for Trufant.
For the Bucs:
Did not practice
WR Sammie Stroughter (hamstring)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
Limited in practice
OT James Lee (ankle)
CB Myron Lewis (hip)
LB Dekoda Watson (ankle)
STAT DU JOUR
Because the Seahawks played the four NFC South teams this season and the Bucs played the four NFC West teams, they have faced a half dozen common opponents, as Morris mentioned – the Panthers, Saints and Falcons, as well as the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers.
The Bucs are 5-3 against those shared opponents, while the Seahawks are 4-4.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Football this time of year, Christmas is kind of a work day. If you worry about the holidays, you’re not worried about the game. The holiday will be a lot better if you win.” – Williams