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Wednesday cyber surfing: A potpourri of past and present

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 16:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com checks in with George Koonce, who spent one of his nine seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks, and he has quite a tale to tell: “I had a wonderful wife, beautiful children, money in the bank and a Super Bowl ring back on that day in 2003 when my post-NFL transition took my Chevy Suburban around a 25-mph corner at three times the posted speed. Whatever happened that day was going to happen. I didn’t really care. By the grace of God, I survived what was, in retrospect, a suicide attempt. But paramedics weren’t going to cart me off. No chance. The football tough guy in me refused to get into that ambulance. My wife, Tunisia, drove me to the hospital and saved my life with words, not medicine. ‘George,’ she said, ‘I don’t understand what you are going through, but I sympathize. We cannot reinvent who you are, but we can redefine who you are.’ ”

Also from Sando, a look at the addition of Alex Barron: “Barron gives the Seahawks seven offensive linemen drafted by other teams. That includes choices from every round but the sixth (and two from the fifth).”

And still more from Sando, a look at the team’s “pressure point”: “Tarvaris Jackson earned the respect of his Seahawks teammates by playing through much of the 2011 with a torn pectoral muscle on his right side. Jackson never complained or made excuses. The injury made it tougher for Jackson to take hold of the starting job for the long term. The Seahawks’ inability to make key plays in critical moments left them with a 7-9 record and kept them in the market for help at the position.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at Tuesday’s addition of Barron: “Barron, a former first-round pick who played at Florida State, hoped that his NFC West tour would come to an end at that Seahawks minicamp, and for now anyway, it has. Barron and three other players who tried out last weekend have agreed to terms on contracts with Seattle. ‘I haven’t gone to Arizona and I don’t plan on going to Arizona,’ Barron said. ‘I’d be fine being home right here.’ A contract in May is hardly a guarantee of a job come September, but it is at least a step in the right direction for Barron, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the crowded situation on the offensive line now that Barron has agreed to contract terms: “At 6-foot-8 and 318 pounds, Barron is long and athletic – he held his own against speedy rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin over the weekend – but has had issues with penalties over his seven-year career. Barron has been flagged 17 times – 14 of them accepted – in his past 17 games started. Barron will compete with Frank Omiyale, Paul Fanaika, Allen Barbre and Mitchell for the backup offensive tackle job behind starters Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini. Last year’s first-round pick, James Carpenter, is still recovering from knee surgery. Seattle now has 15 offensive linemen on the team’s 90-man roster.”

Also at the News Tribune, Dave Boling offers his impressions from the weekend minicamp: “Of the other draft picks, running back Robert Turbin shows a nice burst, and linebackers Bobby Wagner and Korey Toomer are both impressive athletes who flow to the play. Defensive linemen Jaye Howard and Greg Scruggs both are big guys who are lean and have pass-rushing potential.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at Tuesday’s additions, but focuses on Donny Lisowski: “Lisowski graduated from O’Dea High School in 2008. He played quarterback and defensive back, wrestled and ran track. Lisowski’s speed impressed coach Pete Carroll, who singled him out Sunday after the last of the three practices at the minicamp. ‘He was all over the place out here,’ Carroll said.

Elliott Harrison at NFL.com looks at the QB competitions in the league, including the Seahawks: “Unless (Tarvaris) Jackson plays out of his freaking mind, the odds-on favorite appears to be (Matt Flynn) the former Green Bay Packers backup, who has thrown nine touchdowns and compiled a 123.0 passer rating in two career starts. The other possibility would be to keep them both with the expectation that this is a playoff team in need of two vets. It’s just going to cost GM John Schneider a healthy chunk of change. Don’t forget third-round pick Russell Wilson, who the Seahawks reportedly think can compete, too. The smart money says that’s a year away.”

Also at NFL.com, in his latest “Pick Six,” Adam Rank looks at the best defensive nicknames in league history. The Seahawks aren’t included, but it’s worth a read anyway: “It might be hypocritical to list the Fearsome Foursome after the nickname was used to describe other units (don’t act like you knew that). But the Fearsome Foursome is synonymous with the Los Angeles Rams of the 1960s, which featured Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy. Easily the best nickname ever applied to a defensive unit.”

Jason Smith at NFL.com has a photo essay on the best rookie seasons by team, and the Seahawks are included: “Try as I might, I can’t make the argument for Kenny Easley’s 1981 rookie season over Curt Warner’s in 1983. Easley was the defensive rookie of the year, but Warner amassed 1,449 rush yards and 13 touchdowns. He had a pretty good career, with four 1,000-yard seasons, but he goes down as the guy everyone mistakenly called for interviews trying to reach the other Kurt Warner.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we have not only the word that Barron has agreed, but a look at his participation in the offseason program: “ ‘I just wanted to get somewhere,’ Barron said. ‘I’m pretty confident in my play. I’ve made some mistakes in the past, also. But I’ve gotten to the point where after last season, and coming into the offseason as a free agent, all I want to do is come in and just show that I can play. Because it can’t be talked about, it always has to be shown.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at the winding road that led fifth-round draft choice Korey Toomer to the Seahawks: “Korey Toomer has followed a meandering path to the NFL. But now that he’s here, as the Seahawks’ fifth-round draft choice, the rookie linebacker from Idaho is not only making up for lost time, he’s doing it in a blur. At the rookie minicamp over the weekend, and again in the offseason program workouts this week, the one thing that has stood out about Toomer is that he does everything fast. ‘The dude can run, no question about it,’ veteran linebacker Leroy Hill said on Tuesday, shaking his head. Toomer, in fact, ran himself right into being draft by the Seahawks – even though the team already had selected pass-rushing end Bruce Irvin in the first round and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame website has the word on Cortez Kennedy dominating items as his Aug. 4 induction draws closer: “Included in the prized gift were Kennedy’s 1993 Pro Bowl jersey, a pair of well-worn shoulder pads and a pair of cleats from his NFL career that spanned from 1990-2000.”


Barron joins offseason program

Alex Barron is back in the NFL, thanks to the extended tryout the veteran tackle was given during the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp over the weekend.

The Seahawks liked what they saw from the former first-round draft choice of the Rams, and Barron liked what he saw of from a young Seahawks team that can use his experience as part of its young offensive line group. As a result, the 6-foot-7, 320-pound Barron agreed to contract terms and joined the team’s offseason program today.

“That was pretty good, because it’s a little different than just a one-day workout,” Barron said of participating in the three minicamp practices. “I got to move around, be in the huddle, do some drills, have some one-on-ones with some guys, show a little movement.

“It was great.”

At the weekend minicamp, Barron was working at left guard with the No. 1 line. Today, with the veterans on the field for a 45-minute workout, Barron was at that spot with the No. 2 line.

But he’s just happy to be with a team, and in a situation where he can again display his talents. After being the 19th selection overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, Barron started 74 games in five seasons with the Rams. Traded to Dallas in 2010, he made one start for the Cowboys. Barron signed with the Saints last year, but sat out the season after being placed on injured reserve in August with a knee problem and then released in October.

“I just wanted to get somewhere,” Barron said. “I’m pretty confident in my play. I’ve made some mistakes in the past, also. But I’ve gotten to the point where after last season, and coming into the offseason as a free agent, all I want to do is come in and just show that I can play.

“Because it can’t be talked about, it always has to be shown.”

That’s where the extended stay at the minicamp played to Barron’s strengths.

“He did a nice job,” coach Pete Carroll said Sunday. “He’s been around the block and you could tell that. He did enough good things that we could see that he could have a chance, so we’ll see where that fits. But he did a good job in this camp.”

Today, the No. 1 line included – from left tackle to right – Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini. McQuistan is in his seventh season in the league, but he started almost as many games last season (10) as he had in his first five seasons (12). Unger (32), Okung (22), Moffitt (nine) and Giacomini (eight) have combined to start 71 games – or four fewer than Barron has on his resume.

“This is real good, especially when you consider that I had to sit out all of last year on injured reserve,” Barron said. “But I’m over that now and moving forward. I’m here to help the team the best way I can.”


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Barron agrees, three others added

Veteran tackle Alex Barron, a former first-round draft choice of the Rams, has agreed to contract terms with the Seahawks.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Barron participated in the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend on a tryout basis. He started 74 games in five seasons with the Rams after being the 19th pick overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. After being traded to Dallas in 2010, he made one start for the Cowboys. Barron signed with the Saints last year, but sat out the season after being placed on injured reserve in August with a knee problem and then released in October.

“This is real good, especially when you consider that I had to sit out all of last year on injured reserve,” Barron said today after participating in the team’s offseason program workout. “But I’m over that now and moving forward. I’m here to help the team the best way I can.”

The club also reached agreements with two other tryout players from the weekend minicamp – cornerback Donny Lisowski, who went to Seattle’s O’Dea High School and then Montana; and Cooper Helfet, a 6-3, 239-pound tight end from Duke. Also added was Andrew Mitchell, a 6-5, 308-pound tackle who signed with the Bengals after the 2010 draft. He suffered a knee injury in a preseason game that August and spent the season on IR. Mitchell also missed last season.

To clear spots on the 90-man roster, linebacker Adrian Moten, offensive lineman Brent Osborne, cornerback London Durham and tackle Jon Opperud were released. Moten played in two games last season after being signed off the practice squad, while Osborne spent the season on the practice squad. Durham and Opperud were signed as free agents last month after the draft.

Coach Pete Carroll was impressed with the 5-11, 185-pound Lisowski during the weekend minicamp.

“He was all over the place out here,” Carroll said on Sunday. “I had no (idea about him), other than he ran extremely fast when he showed up for a workout day. And then he went out there and made a bunch of plays. So I was really fired up about him.”


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Sunday cyber surfing: Mother’s Day, and rookies go camping

Good morning, and Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks today, May 13:

Joe Frollo at USAFootball.com did a Mother’s Day piece that features Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung and his mom, Dorothy: “This weekend also is special for Dorothy as her daughter graduates from Texas A&M. Big brother has always been protective of his little sister – even if it means standing up to mom. ‘When Russell was 6 or 7, his sister was misbehaving, and I spanked her,’ Dorothy said. ‘She ran crying to her brother, who came up to me and told me not to do that. I’ve called him ‘Big Daddy’ ever since. I still do. He is a protective type and takes care of stuff around the house whenever something needs to be done.’ ”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune takes a look at the toughness the running game is developing under line coach Tom Cable: “Scheme? No, commitment and attitude. ‘Where we want to go is being a physical football team that throws the ball on you to score points but runs the ball to beat you,’ Cable said. ‘There are some teams in the league who are exceptional throwing the football. But to be a truly tough-minded football team, you have to run it. You can’t just talk about it, you have to do it.’ ”
Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams checks in with former Utah State teammates Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, who are teammates once again: “ ‘I’ve got a different number, he’s got a different number and it’s like, here we go again,’ Turbin said. ‘It’s just a different helmet on – a different team, a whole different scheme. The greatest thing about it is we know each other enough that we can kind of push each other a little bit to get better.’ ”
Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times looks at how Turbin has used the death of his brother as motivation: “I pointed to Turbin’s massive biceps that practically look as big as a couple of heads of lettuce and asked him where they came from. ‘My brother,’ the Seahawks’ fourth-round pick said. ‘He used to make me work out all of the time when I was little. Even when we’d be watching cartoons he’d make me do push-ups and sit-ups. We would wrestle all the time. He was always pushing me.’ On Feb. 6, Turbin was in Phoenix, preparing for the NFL combine when he got a call at 3 a.m. from his cousin. Lonnie had been shot and killed in Oakland. It would be Turbin’s job to call his father, Ronald, with the tragic news. ‘I would have brought him (Lonnie) with me here to Seattle, to camp,’ said Turbin, 22. ‘Maybe he could have worked around here. Pass out drinks or something. Just be around a positive environment.’ “

Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil looks at quarterback Russell Wilson, who continues to battle questions about his height: “Russell Wilson stood out early on. Wait. That’s a poor choice of words considering all the fuss over Wilson’s height — or more accurately his lack thereof — at 5 feet 11. It’s the size of his arm that was evident long before he became a four-year starter at quarterback, a baseball prospect in the Rockies organization or the Seahawks’ third-round draft pick. This was back when Wilson was in fifth, maybe sixth grade in Richmond, Va., serving as a ball boy for the high-school varsity team, and he left a referee waiting for the football in the middle of the field. ‘For once in his life, Russell must not have been paying attention,’ said Charlie McFall, the coach at the Collegiate School. Instead of running the ball out, Wilson threw it from the sidelines. ‘He just chucked that ball out to him,’ McFall said. ‘I was like, ‘Oooh, I’m going to hang around for this guy.’ “

Tim Booth at the Associated Press checks in with Alex Barron, a veteran who is standing out at the Seahawks’ minicamp: “Alex Barron got down into his three-point stance at left tackle, looked to his right and saw a seventh-round draft pick that has never played on the offensive line at any level of football. Barron’s presence at the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend is a long way from the days when he was a first-round draft pick out of Florida State and starter for the St. Louis Rams. ‘It’s just kind of how it is right now, where I’m at in my career,’ Barron said. ‘Just take the good with the good, the bad with the bad and continue to work hard. That’s all you can do.’ “

Liz Matthews of 710 ESPN also has the word on Wagner at mynorthwest.com: “Wagner spoke to the media Saturday and said that for now he is focusing specifically at the middle linebacker spot. ‘I think it helps learning one position because you’ve got to figure out what’s to the right of you, what’s to the left of you,’ Wagner said. ‘So if I do get to the right I’ll know what’s in the middle and what’s on the other side. I think it’s good playing Mike first.’ “

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the latest infusion of speed for the defense – first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin and second-rounder Bobby Wagner: “We all saw what the speed of Earl Thomas and Chris Clemons brought to the Seahawks’ defense two years ago. Boiled down to the simplest statistical terms, it was a team-high five interceptions (by Thomas, a rookie free safety) and a club-leading 11 sacks (by Clemons, who had been acquired in an offseason trade). Then there was the infusion of length last season provide by 6-foot-3 strong safety Kam Chancellor; cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, who are 6-4 and 6-3; and 6-4 strongside linebacker K.J. Wright. Each was in his first season as a starter, all delivered unique contributions to the NFL’s ninth-ranked defense – as this quartet ranked 2-7-8-5 on the team in tackles, led by Chancellor’s 94; combined for 14 of the Seahawks’ 22 interceptions, including Browner’s team-leading six; and also had 54 passes defensed. Now come Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner, this year’s first- and second-round draft choices who are turning the team’s three-day minicamp into a dare-to-dream exercise as you ponder just what their speed and length can add to the defense’s already impressive mix of flashing arms and legs. ‘First and foremost, it’s the speed. We really like their speed,’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Saturday, following the second of three two-hour practices in this rookie minicamp. ‘We’re excited about both those guys’ progress.’ ”

In Hawkville, we also take a look at the relationship between Wagner and Turbin: “Teammates. Again. Still. That’s Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, the duo from Utah State who shares not only a first name but now a professional team after the Seahawks selected them in the second and fourth rounds of the NFL Draft. And these two are getting some good looks at one another in the team’s three-day rookie minicamp, as Wagner is lining up at middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense and Turbin is getting a lot of touches with the No. 1 offense. ‘It’s great. I actually catch myself rooting for the offense sometimes, which I probably shouldn’t be,’ Wagner said today after another two-hour practice in ideal conditions at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘But it’s great to have a person that you know well and he knows you well. It definitely makes moving here and getting settled here much better.’ ”

There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video recap.


Friday in Hawkville: Rookie minicamp off to a fast start

A recap of the day’s activities at the Seahawks’ rookie camp for May 11:

FOCUS ON

Tempo. The first day of the team’s three-day rookie minicamp wasn’t just an initiation for the new players, it was an indoctrination into how things are done on a Pete Carroll-coached team – fast, precise and with a purpose.

Not surprisingly, the speed and tempo of the two-hour practice caught some of the players by surprise.

“They kind of warned us yesterday,” first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin said. “But I still didn’t know what to expect. It still kind of caught me off guard.

“I probably lost like about seven, eight pounds today.”

Also count Phil Bates among those who weren’t quite sure what to expect.

“It was up-tempo. It was fast. It was something that you’d never really done before,” said Bates, a rookie wide receiver from Ohio University who was signed as a free agent after the draft. “It’s something you’ve got to get used it, but at the same time it was fun.”

Fun, with a focus.

“We really pounded these guys with a bunch of stuff to get on the field for the first time,” Carroll said of the mental side of what today was all about. “It’s hard for you to imagine just how much you have to learn to get on the field and run plays, but the coaches did a really good job and the players have studied hard coming in and we were able to go out there and put together a nice practice.

“There were a lot of exciting things.”

VETERAN PRESENCE

The 55-player roster for this minicamp includes three who were on the Seahawks’ practice squad last season: running back Vai Taua, offensive lineman Brent Osborne and defensive end Pierre Allen.

TRYING (OUT) TIMES

The rookie-camp also includes 30 players who are in on a tryout basis:

WR Pat Carter, Louisville

QB Chris Hart, Webber International (Fla.)

QB Josh McGregor, Jacksonville

CB Dionte Dinkins, Fort Valley State

CB Donny Lisowksi, Montana

CB Josh Gatlin, North Dakota State

FB Bryson Kelly, Central Washington

FB James Stampley, LSU

S Craig Ray, Indianapolis

SS Austin Cassidy, Nebraska

FS Kareem Moore, Nicholls State

LB E.J. Savannah, Washington

LS Braedyn Eagle, Portland State

LB Mychal Sisson, Colorado State

TE Shawn Nelson, Southern Mississippi

TE Cooper Helfet, Duke

LB Najel Byrd, Arkansas State

C Jayson Palmgren, Missouri

LB Kyle Knox, Fresno State

LB Shane Horton, USC

DT Renard Williams, Eastern Washington

OG Julian Gray, North Carolina Central

OG Joel Figueroa, Miami

OT Andrew Mitchell, Oklahoma State

OT Alex Barron, Florida State

OT Chima Okoli, Penn State

OT Mark Huyge, Michigan

WR Cam Kenney, Oklahoma

WR Josh Smith, UCLA

DT Zach Masch, Hawaii

Barron, of course, is hardly a rookie. He was a first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. After starting 74 games in five seasons with the Rams, the 6-foot-7, 320-pound Barron played for the Cowboys in 2010. He began last season on the Saints’ injured reserve list, after damaging a knee during training camp, before being released in October.

“We want to see what he’s got,” Carroll said. “He was a highly regarded player a few years back and he’s been smacked around with injuries and situations and all of that, so we’re going to find out. He handled his own pretty well today and he acted a bit like a veteran. He knew what was going on and was a little bit more comfortable than some of the other guys. So we’ll see in the next couple days and see where that puts at the end of this minicamp.”

THE BATTLE OF FIRST-ROUND PICKS

Barron was the 19th pick in the first round of his draft, while Irvin was the 15th pick overall in this year’s draft. These two found themselves matched against each other often, with Irvin at the “Leo” end spot and Barron working at left tackle.

“Oh man, it’s just going to help me get better,” Irvin said. “He’s a great competitor. He’s a great player. He’s a big dude. So going against him is going to do nothing but make me better. I’m going to come in and I’m going to compete, and he’s going to compete. We’re just going to make each other better, everyday.”

JUST WATCHING

Safety Winston Guy, a sixth-round draft choice, will not participate in this minicamp because he is recovering after having a surgical procedure on his shoulder.

“It’s going to take few more weeks before we can see him physically, and it’s killing him,” Carroll said. “He probably could get through it, but we won’t let him until he’s well.”

The veterans had the day off from their offseason conditioning program that will resume on Monday, but Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas, leading receiver Doug Baldwin and fellow wide receiver Ricardo Lockette watched practice from the sideline.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It feels great. A lot of kids want to be in this situation. I’m fortunate to one of the few that made it. Getting a chance to live my dream, so that’s a great feeling and I’m looking forward to being a success.” – Irvin, on starting the next chapter of his life


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