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 22:
1990: The Seahawks trade up to the third spot in the first round of the NFL Draft and select defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy. He would be voted to eight Pro Bowls and named NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1992) during his career, and last year the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2006, had his No. 96 retired last season and was voted the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team.
1995: Joey Galloway is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Galloway would lead the Seahawks in receptions for three consecutive seasons (1996-98) and catch 37 touchdown passes before being traded to the Cowboys for a pair of first-round draft choices in 2000.
2008: Shaun Alexander, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, is released. After being named league MVP and leading the NFL in rushing with 1,880 yards in 2005, injuries limited Alexander to fewer than 1,000 rushing yards in 2006 and 2007.
2010: Russell Okung and Earl Thomas are selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Okung, a left tackle and the sixth pick overall, started 15 games in 2012 and was voted to the Pro Bowl. Thomas, a free safety and the 14th pick overall, was voted Al-Pro last season and has played in the Pro Bowl the past two seasons.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on April 15:
2000: Shaun Alexander and Chris McIntosh are selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Alexander, a running back from Alabama, would become the team’s all-time leading rusher and only player in franchise history to be named league MVP after leading the NFL in rushing and scoring a then-league record 28 touchdowns during the team’s Super Bowl run in 2005. But injuries limited McIntosh, a tackle from Wisconsin, to 13 starts in two seasons. Alexander also was voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on March 10:
2008: Julius Jones is signed in free agency to replace all-time leading rusher Shaun Alexander. Jones would lead the Seahawks in rushing in each of his first two seasons, but never surpassed 700 yards.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on March 6:
1975: John Thompson is named the team’s first general manager. Thompson had been executive director of the NFL Management Council.
1997: Bennie Blades, a Pro Bowl safety from the Lions, signs with the Seahawks – joining his younger brother, Brian, who would rank No. 2 on the team’s all-time reception list by the time he retired after the 1998 season. Bennie played in 10 games in ’97 before an injury forced him to retire.
1998: Brian Habib, a guard on the Broncos’ Super Bowl championship team, agrees to sign with the Seahawks in free agency. Habib, who played at the University of Washington, started all 32 games in two seasons with the Seahawks.
2006: Shaun Alexander is re-signed to a multiyear contract, after being voted league MVP and leading the NFL in rushing (1,880 yards) and touchdowns (28) in 2005.
Lights. Camera. Shaun Alexander and Walter Thurmond?
Two Seahawks – one past (Alexander) and one present (Thurmond) – are among 22 current and former NFL players who will take part in the second annual NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp from March 11-15 at Universal Studios in California.
Alexander is the Seahawks’ all-time leading rusher and only player in franchise history to be named league MVP (in 2005). Thurmond was a fourth-round draft choice in 2010 who has been limited to 21 games in three seasons because of injuries.
Participants in the four-day boot camp will have the opportunity to shoot and edit a short film. They also will be given an overview of the creative disciplines in the film industry including screenwriting, directing, producing and film financing.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 22:
1989: Tom Flores is named president and general manager to replace Mike McCormack. Flores became head coach in 1992, replacing Chuck Knox.
2002: Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Sinclair is released. Sinclair leaves after producing 73½ career sacks, including a league-leading 16½ in 1998, to rank second in franchise history to Jacob Green (116).
2005: Matt Hasselbeck is signed to a multi-year contract and Shaun Alexander is given the franchise tag. Both would be instrumental in the Seahawks’ run to the Super Bowl that season, as Alexander scored a then-league record 28 touchdowns and led the NFL in rushing while being voted league MVP and Hasselbeck passed for 3,459 yards and 24 touchdowns while compiling a career-best 98.2 passer rating.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 13:
2005: Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, the left side of the Seahawks’ offensive line, help the NFC rush for 155 yards and a 5.7-yard average in the Pro Bowl but the AFC wins 38-27. Shaun Alexander also is on NFC squad, but does not play in the game.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 12:
2000: Joey Galloway is traded to the Cowboys for first-round draft choices in 2000 and 2001, picks the Seahawks use to select Shaun Alexander and Koren Robinson.
2003: John Marshall is hired as linebackers coach on Mike Holmgren’s staff.
2006: Matt Hasselbeck completes 10 of 17 passes for 85 yards as the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 23-17 in a defense-dominated game that features 10 turnovers and seven sacks. Lofa Tatupu has a team-high six tackles, as well as two more on special teams, while Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Mack Strong and Robbie Tobeck help the NFC convert eight of 18 third-down situations and control the ball for 32 minutes.