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 25:
1991: Chuck Knox signs a two-year contract extension through 1993, but the ’91 season would be his ninth and final with the Seahawks as the extension includes a buyout clause. Knox would return to the Rams from 1992-94, after coaching the team from 1973-77.
1993: Rick Mirer is selected with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. Following a productive rookie season when he started all 16 games and passed for 2,833 yards, Mirer would start 35 games over the next three seasons before being traded to the Bears in 1997.
1997: The Washington State Legislature passes the stadium-funding plan – Referendum 48 – for what would become Seahawks Stadium and is now CenturyLink Field. It is the next step necessary for Paul Allen to complete his purchase of the franchise from Ken Behring.
2008: Mike Holmgren wins the Horrigan Award, which is presented annually to the NFL executive who helps the media do its job. Having not won the award had become a running joke with the team’s coach and reporters who covered the Seahawks.
2009: Aaron Curry is selected with the fourth pick overall in the NFL Draft. Hailed as the “safest pick” in that year’s draft class, Curry would start 30 games at linebacker before being traded to the Raiders during the 2012 season.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on April 17:
1999: Defensive end Lamar King is selected in the first round of the first draft headed by Mike Holmgren, who had been hired in January and handed the title of executive vice president of football operations/general manager and head coach. If only King’s career had been that long, as he started 37 games over five seasons – highlighted by a 48-tackle, six-sack season in 2000.
A familiar voice is returning to Seattle radio, as 950 KJR announced this afternoon that former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren will be joining the station.
News of Holmgren’s return came via its Twitter account: “We are excited to announce Mike Holmgren is joining our team as a regular contributor and NFL expert.”
Holmgren, now 64, became the Seahawks’ coach – as well as executive vice president of operations/general manager – in 1999. The team won the AFC West title that season, which was a preview of even better things to come.
After a couple of subpar seasons (6-10 in 2000 and 7-9 in 2002), the Holmgren-coached Seahawks advanced to the playoffs for five consecutive years (2003-07) and won the NFC West four times (2004-07) – highlighted by the franchise-best 13-3 regular-season record and run to the Super Bowl in 2005.
Holmgren stepped away from the game following a 4-12 season in 2008 – preferring the term “sabbatical” rather than “retired” – but returned in 2010 to become president of the Browns. He was relieved of those duties after Jimmy Haslam purchased the franchise last season.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on March 5:
1997: The team announces it is returning to Eastern Washington University for training camp. The Seahawks had summered in Cheney from 1976-85 before holding training camp at their Kirkland facility for 11 years.
2002: Trent Dilfer is re-signed, but only after coach Mike Holmgren commits to the veteran quarterback has his starter. That lasts only until midseason, when Dilfer ruptures an Achilles against the Cowboys in Dallas and Matt Hasselbeck steps back in as the starter.
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 some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 26:
1983: Chuck Knox is named head coach. Knox previously had coached the Rams (1973-77) and Bills (1978-82), guiding seven of his 10 teams to the playoffs and winning six division titles. He would lead the Seahawks to their initial playoff berth, and the AFC Championship game, in his first season. Knox wins 80 games in nine seasons with the Seahawks and is inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2005.
1999: Mike Reinfeldt is named senior vice president, following executive VP of football operations/general manager and head coach Mike Holmgren from Green Bay to Seattle.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 25:
2008: Mike Solari is named offensive line coach on Mike Holmgren’s staff, for Holmgren’s final season as coach. Solari stays with the Seahawks for only two seasons and now has the same job with the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 22:
1992: Bob Bratkowski is named quarterbacks coach on Tom Flores’ staff. Bratkowski had been the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami, a position he would later hold with the Seahawks on Dennis Erickson’s staff.
2006: The Seahawks not only play in their first NFC Championship Game, they host the game and win it 34-14 over the Panthers as Shaun Alexander rushes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, Matt Hasselbeck throws for two scores and the defense intercepts three passes. The decisive victory sends the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL. The game, and everything surrounding it, was named the top moment in the first 10 seasons at the team’s state-of-the-art stadium that opened in 2002.
2007: Bruce DeHaven is named special teams coach on Mike Holmgren’s staff.
2009: Tim Lewis, the brother of Seahawks’ director of pro personnel Will Lewis, is named defensive backs coach on Jim Mora’s staff.