A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 11 during the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp:
Chris Harper. When it comes to a show of hands, the Seahawks’ fourth-round draft choice is showing great hands.
It was after Friday’s first practice that coach Pete Carroll offered, “Chris caught to ball beautifully. He really has great hands.”
Harper felt he played even better in the second practice.
“It went way better today than yesterday,” he said. “Yesterday, you just kind of didn’t know what to expect and just didn’t get into the flow and the pace because this is a lot different pace than what you’re used to in college.”
Better yet, receivers coach Kippy Brown agreed with the assessments made by Carroll and Harper.
“Chris has really strong hands and for a big guy he’s very athletic,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of him learning. We’ve thrown a lot at these guys in two days’ time. I’m sure their heads are swimming. My head was swimming when I first got here.
“But he’s studying hard and he’s getting it. As he gets more comfortable with it, he’ll play faster and that’s what we’re looking for.”
For Harper, it continues to be an exercise in working on his transition game. He was, after all, originally a quarterback at the University of Oregon before switching positions and schools (to Kansas State).
“I’ve still got a long ways to go,” he said. “I’ve only been playing wide receiver for almost three years now, so I can learn from everybody.”
If today’s practice was any indication, things are progressing nicely. The highlight of Harper’s day was his over-the-shoulder catch of a pass from Jerrod Johnson after he had gotten behind cornerback O’Hara Fluellen. But Harper also worked himself free to make other catches, and when he wasn’t open he used his 234-pound body to make himself open.
“The fact that he’s 230-something pounds is what we liked,” Carroll said.
Asked about his bulk, Harper offered, “It helps me a lot, because DBs aren’t used to seeing guys that are like 230 playing receiver. So it gives me an advantage, as far as at the point of attack when the ball is in the air. When they want to get into pushing matches, I’ll usually come out on top of those.”
TRYING TO CATCH ON
Justin Veltung. The receiver/returner from the University of Idaho and Puyallup High School is one of the three dozen players at this camp on a tryout basis. And Veltung is making the most of the opportunity.
He was one of the players the Seahawks had in for a pre-draft visit. Veltung showed enough that they invited him back for this camp.
“He’s a smart guy and he knows what to do,” Brown said. “He doesn’t make very many mistakes and so far he’s been real reliable catching the football. So we’ll see.”
Veltung began his second practice by making a nice falling catching of a pass that looked to be beyond his reach. But before it was over he also had worked his way around a defender to catch a pass on the sideline; caught another pass in traffic over the middle; and reached back while in full stride to grab yet another.
As Veltung was making that last catch, The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?” was blaring from the speakers along the sideline. Talk about right on cue.
CALLING PETER NGUYEN
Peter Nguyen, a 5-foot-7, 179-pound running back from Bellevue High School and the University of Montana, was added to the list of tryout players today.
Another back was needed because Darrell Scott, another tryout player, injured himself in the first drill on Friday.
THE SKINNY ON SCRUGGS
Second-year defensive lineman Greg Scruggs had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. A seventh-round draft choice last year, Scruggs was injured during a workout in the veterans’ offseason program.
“He stumbled coming out of a bag drill … tried to catch himself and hyperextended his knee,” Carroll said. “It was just a drill by himself and it’s unfortunate that he hit just exactly wrong.”
Scruggs had two sacks among his six tackles as a rookie, when he played in 11 games.
“He’ll come back quickly from this, but it’s still a long haul for him,” Carroll said.
GIANTS ADD SOME CURRY TO THE MIX
Aaron Curry has found a new NFL home. Another new NFL home.
The former Seahawks’ linebacker and fourth pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft has signed with the Giants, and ESPNNewYork.com has the details.
Curry started 12 games as a rookie and 16 in 2010 for the Seahawks. But he lost the starting job on the strong side to K.J. Wright in 2011 and was traded to the Raiders for a seventh-round draft choice in 2012 and a fifth-round pick in 2013 – which the Seahawks used to select guard J.R. Sweezy (last year) cornerback Tharold Simon (this year).
Curry played in 11 games for the Raiders in 2011 and two games last season before being waived in November.
“We think we have a good opportunity for him to see if he can re-invent himself a little bit and bring something to our linebacking corps,” Giants GM Jerry Reese said. “If he didn’t work out well for us, we wouldn’t be fooling around with this.
“He’s the fourth pick in the draft a few years ago. Obviously, we think he has some talent. We had him graded high back then. We will see what happens.”
MT. RUSHMORE UPDATE
This camp is all about the present, and hopefully future, for the rookies in attendance. But let’s take a moment to revisit the past.
Last week, we asked you to vote on who should be the fourth “head” on a Seahawks Mt. Rushmore, joining Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones. So far, Matt Hasselbeck is leading with 28 percent of the votes, followed by Shaun Alexander (20.9), Kenny Easley (20), Mike Holmgren (15.9), Jacob Green (8.7) and Chuck Knox (6.6).
It’s not too late to cast your vote.
The rookie minicamp will conclude Sunday with a morning practice. Monday, the veterans return to begin the final week in Phase 2 of their offseason program.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s pretty similar, minus the music. I don’t think coach (Nick) Saban would like that.” – defensive tackle Jesse Williams, when asked about the pace of these practices compared to those at Alabama
The folks at Pro Football Talk will launch a 32-part series next month that features a Mt. Rushmore for each of the NFL teams, and they’ll eventually be asking for reader input on the Seahawks.
Why wait for them to get around to the Seahawks?
The first three faces for the Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore are slam-dunk selections. As with most things Seahawks, the best place to start is with Steve Largent. He was not only the first career-long member of the team to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (in 1995), but when Largent retired after the 1989 season he held the NFL career records for receptions (819), receiving yards (13,089) and touchdown catches (100).
No other player in franchise history can come close to making such a claim. Then there is this trifecta of facts: He was the first player to have his uniform number (80) retired; the first inductee into the team’s Ring of Honor (1989); and each season since 1989 the Steve Largent Award has been presented to the person “who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and integrity of the Seahawks.”
The other obvious Rushmore-worthy players are defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who joined Largent in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and is the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history; and left tackle Walter Jones, who was voted to a franchise-record nine Pro Bowls, selected the best player in the NFL in 2006 by The Sporting News and should be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 2015.
But who should join this impressive trio as the fourth cornerstone in franchise history – and fourth face on the Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore? You make the call (from this list that was compiled with a little help from a friend):
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 28:
1981: Kenny Easley is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Before a kidney ailment ended his career after the 1987 season, the strong safety from UCLA had been selected NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984, voted to the Pro Bowl five times and named All-Pro three times. Easley was inducted into the franchise’s Ring of Honor in 2002 and also named to the 35th Anniversary team.
1987: Tony Woods is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Woods, a linebacker from Pittsburgh, would start 79 games in six seasons on some of the best defensive units in franchise history.
2000: John Schneider is named director of player personnel. That gig lasted only a season before he left to become vice president of player personnel with the Redskins, but Schneider returned in 2010 as the Seahawks’ general manager.
2011: James Carpenter is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The offensive lineman from Alabama has been limited to 16 starts in his first two seasons because of a knee injury that ended his rookie season and also forced him to be inactive for the first three games last season and end the season on the reserve/non-football illness list.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 16:
1997: After getting a come-check-this-out phone call from just-signed free agent and former Steelers teammate Chad Brown, Willie Williams also signs with the Seahawks and starts 75 games at cornerback over the next seven seasons. Williams would return three of his 17 interceptions for touchdowns, tying him for second in franchise history with Keith Simpson, Kenny Easley and Josh Wilson behind all-time leader Dave Brown (five).
2005: After being named the franchise player for three consecutive years, Walter Jones signs a multi-year contract that makes him a Seahawk for the remainder of his 13-season career.
2006: Linebackers coach John Marshall is elevated to defensive coordinator on Mike Holmgren’s staff as health issues force Ray Rhodes to take a position as a special projects/defense assistant.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 7:
1988: Kenny Easley and Fredd Young provide half the AFC’s four interceptions, as well as eight and seven tackles, in a 15-6 victory in the Pro Bowl. Steve Largent (one reception) and Jacob Green (two tackles) also were on the AFC squad.
1993: Cortez Kennedy and Eugene Robinson combine for nine tackles to help the AFC win the Pro Bowl 23-20 in overtime.
1999: Cortez Kennedy and the “strong side, left side” trio of Michael Sinclair, Chad Brown and Shawn Springs combine for five tackles and three passes defensed to help the AFC claim a 23-10 Pro Bowl victory in what is John Elway’s final game.
2003: Teryl Austin is named defensive backs coach on Mike Holmgren’s staff.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb 6:
1983: Kenny Easley has nine tackles as the Seahawks’ lone AFC Pro Bowl representative in a game won by the NFC 20-19 as Danny White throws a TD pass to John Jefferson with 35 seconds remaining. This is the third of what will be five Pro Bowl berths for Easley.
1994: Eugene Robinson intercepts a pass and Chris Warren leads the AFC with 64 rushing yards, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 17-3. Cortez Kennedy also represents the Seahawks in the game and contributes two tackles.
1998: Pete Rodriguez agrees to become special teams coach on Dennis Erickson’s staff.
2000: Walter Jones, Cortez Kennedy (three tackles) and Chad Brown (two tackles on special teams) represent the Seahawks and AFC in the Pro Bowl, but the NFC wins 51-31.
2008: It is announced that assistant head coach/defensive backs Jim Mora will become head coach after the season, which will be the last of Mike Holmgren’s 10 seasons as head coach.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 2:
1986: Steve Largent catches a game-high eight passes for 82 yards, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 28-24. Kenny Easley (two tackles) and Fredd Young (one tackle) also are on the AFC squad.
1992: John L. Williams (four carries for 8 yards, one reception) and Cortez Kennedy represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl, but the NFC wins 21-15.
1996: Owner Ken Behring announces he is relocating the franchise to Southern California, a move that is later blocked by the NFL.
1997: Cortez Kennedy has six tackles to help the AFC take a 26-23 overtime victory in the Pro Bowl. Michael Sinclair (one tackle) also is on the AFC squad.
1998: Jim Zorn, the club’s original quarterback who had been an offensive assistant on Dennis Erickson’s staff, leaves to become the QB coach with the Lions. Zorn would return to be the Seahawks’ QB coach from 2001-07.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 29:
1979: Steve Largent, the Seahawks’ first representative to the Pro Bowl, ties a then-record by catching five passes but the NFC wins the game 13-7 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
1984: Chuck Knox coaches the AFC Pro Bowl team after the Seahawks lose the AFC Championship Game to the Raiders, and has Kenny Easley and Curt Warner on the squad. But the NFC wins 45-3. Rams safety Nolan Cromwell, who would later coach the Seahawks wide receivers, returns an interception 44 yards for a touchdown.
1989: Dave Krieg is 3 of 14 for 21 yards and the AFC manages only a field goal in a 34-3 loss in the Pro Bowl. Rufus Porter also was on the AFC squad.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 27:
1985: Fredd Young blocks a punt to set up a touchdown, Norm Johnson kicks two field goals and Kenny Easley has a game-high 10 tackles as the AFC wins the Pro Bowl 22-14. The Seahawks’ largest Pro Bowl contingent in franchise history also includes Steve Largent, Dave Krieg, Joe Nash and Dave Brown.
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – The Seahawks have landed four players on the All-Pro team that is selected by the Associated Press, it was announced this morning.
There were two on offense – running back Marshawn Lynch and center Max Unger; and two on defense – cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas. This is the first time any of them have been selected All-Pro, but Lynch, Unger and Thomas were voted to the Pro Bowl last month.
Sherman received 39 of a possible 50 votes, while Thomas got 28, Lynch 24 and Unger 16.
The Seahawks are in Georgia for tomorrow’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta.
The four-player contingent matches the largest in franchise history. In 2005, the season the Seahawks made their Super Bowl run, running back and league MVP Shaun Alexander, left guard Steve Hutchinson, left tackle Walter Jones and fullback Mack Strong made the All-Pro team. The 1984 team had three players selected – kicker Norm Johnson, nose tackle Joe Nash and strong safety Kenny Easley, with wide receiver Steve Largent and cornerback Dave Brown getting second-team honors.
“That is taking individuals and saying they are the best in the NFL at that position and that’s what I wanted to be,” Sherman said. “The Pro Bowl is taking three from each side, it’s more of a popularity contest. The All-Pro, you’re the best at your position. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fifth-rounder or fourth-rounder or undrafted. If you play the best, you’re All-Pro.”
Unger took the opposite view, saying that the Pro Bowl means more because the squad is selected by other players and coaches in the league – as opposed to the media members who vote on the All-Pro team.
“To have other players say you’re the best at your position, that really means something,” Unger said, and then added with a smile, “But being named All-Pro is pretty cool, too.”
Unger, Thomas and Sherman are the first players in franchise history at their positions to be named first team All-Pro. Lynch joins Alexander as the only running back to be named first-team All-Pro, and Alexander also made the second team in 2004. Curt Warner was a second-team selection three times (1983, 1986 and 1987), while Chris Warren got second-team status twice (1994 and 1995).
Jones holds the franchise record with four first-team selections (2001, 2004-05 and 2007), and he was a second-team pick in 2008. Defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and Easley were named to the first team three times – 1992-94 for Kennedy, who also was a second-team selection 1996; 1983-85 for Easley. Largent made the second team four times (1978-79, 1984 and 1987).
You can find the entire All-Pro team here.