Thursday in Hawkville: Brandon Browner excited to be back and heading to the playoffs

A recap of the events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 3:

Brandon Browner

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Brandon Browner. The Seahawks’ right cornerback returned from his four-game suspension on Monday, practiced with the team for the first time in a month on Wednesday and today he fielded questions from the media at his cubicle in the locker room before practice.

“It’s really exciting,” Browner said. “I’m glad to be back out here with my team. Enjoying that.”

Browner returned to his offseason home in Southern California during his suspension for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“I couldn’t find it in myself working out here,” he said. “I wasn’t coming up here (to VMAC). So it was weird to go to some park here.”

But Browner did watch the four games he missed – a 58-0 romp over the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; a 50-17 victory over the Bills in Toronto; a 42-13 win over the 49ers in Seattle; and last week’s 20-13 victory over the Rams, also at CenturyLink Field.

“It was fun,” he said with a smile, “because we were kicking everybody’s butt. I missed not playing with the guys, but it was awesome to watch.”

Browner has returned just in time to experience the NFL postseason for the first time, as the Seahawks are preparing for Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game against the Redskins at FedExField. He was on a Grey Cup-winning team with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL in 2008. But this is different because it’s the NFL.

“It’s very exciting,” Browner said. “That’s what you play for, to get to the playoffs and eventually, hopefully, the Super Bowl.”

And his thoughts on this latest first in his career that took a radical turn last year when he was signed to a future contract by the Seahawks in January, won the starting job during training camp and ended playing in the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement after leading the team with six interceptions and 23 passes defensed?

“You don’t know yet until the game comes,” Browner said of the playoffs. “But I think we have a good game plan going into this and it will be a good matchup. I’ve got confidence in my team and my ability.”

Is Browner ready after sitting out a month?

“Most definitely,” he said. “It starts in the head, and I’m mentally tough. I know I’ll be a little tired out there, but at the end of the day I’m fighting for a playoff victory. So I’ll be all right.”

To help with the physical preparation, Browner got some reps today with the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ offense, as well as working with the No. 1 defense.

“It always takes a little bit of time to get back into it – the one-on-one’s, the coverage concepts,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “But he’s taking extra reps to get back on that.

“The mental part of it is all there. But the physical part, he’s getting sharp again. He’s looked pretty good.”

ANOTHER DAY IN THE SUNSHINE

The players practiced outside for the second consecutive day. It will help prepare them for the game against the Redskins, because the temperature along Lake Washington was 46 degrees and the forecast for Sunday in Landover, Md., is calling for a high of 49 and a low 39.

OPPONENT WATCH

London Fletcher. We also featured the Redskins’ inside linebacker yesterday, but that was from the perspective of Washington coach Mike Shanahan. Today, we get Michael Robinson’s take on Fletcher, who is 37 and in his 15th NFL season.

These two ran into each other last season at CenturyLink Field, and Robinson puts Fletcher in the same class as the other great inside and middle linebackers he faced a season ago and this season – the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, 49ers’ Patrick Willis and Bears’ Brian Urlacher. And that is saying a lot.

“We spoke at the Pro Bowl last year. Good guy. Got a lot of love for him,” Robinson offered. “The old adage about London, if you don’t block him he’ll make every tackle. He’s one of those guys, he has a lot of big hogs up front and it’s hard to get on him. And he will make, literally, every single tackle if you don’t block him.

“So it’s a big, big challenge for us.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

CB Jeremy Lane (knee)

Full participation

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

An already encouraging injury report got even better today, when Lynch took part in all phases of practice after being limited on Wednesday – which has been his routine for much of the second half of the regular season. Lane was added to the list. He started the past three games for Browner.

For the Redskins:

Did not practice

CB Dominique Johnson (knee)

OG Kory Lichtensteiger (ankle)

Limited in practice

S DeJon Gomes (knee)

Full participation

LB Lorenzo Alexander (shoulder)

DE Stephen Bowen (biceps)

QB Kirk Cousins (illness)

LB London Fletcher (ankle)

WR Pierre Garcon (foot)

QB Robert Griffin III (knee)

CB DeAngelo Hall (elbow)

LB Ryan Kerrigan (ankle)

C Will Montgomery (knee)

WR Josh Morgan (hand, foot)

S Jordan Pugh (ankle)

P Saverio Rocca (right knee)

S Madieu Williams (elbow)

Fletcher and Cousins practiced today after sitting out on Wednesday.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks and Redskins don’t play that often, but there have been some memorable events during the series that the Redskins lead 11-4 during the regular season and the Seahawks lead 2-0 during the postseason. Here’s a look at some of the games that standout, and why:

1976: Redskins 31, Seahawks 7. First road loss in franchise history

1980: Seahawks 14, Redskins 0. Second road shutout in franchise history

1983: Redskins 27, Seahawks 17. Steve Largent catches eight passes for 130 yards and two TDs

1989: Redskins 29, Seahawks 0. Steve Largent’s final game

1992: Redskins 16, Seahawks 3. Loss No. 6 in a club-record eight-game losing streak

1994: Seahawks 28, Redskins 7. Chris Warren goes “home” and runs for 100 yards and two TDs

1995: Seahawks 27, Redskins 20. Chris Warren goes “home” again and runs for 136 yards

1998: Seahawks 24, Redskins 14. Steve Broussard returns a kickoff 90 yards for a TD

2002: Redskins 14, Seahawks 3. Bruce Smith beats Walter Jones for two sacks

2005: Redskins 20, Seahawks 17. Last loss before a club-record 11-game winning streak

2005: Seahawks 20, Redskins 10. Win in divisional playoff game sends Seahawks to NFC title game

2007: Seahawks 35, Redskins 14. Win in Wild Card game sends Seahawks to divisional round

2008: Redskins 20, Seahawks 17. Loss No. 4 in six-game losing streak

2011: Redskins 23, Seahawks 17. Only loss in a six-game stretch

UP NEXT

The team will fly to Baltimore on Friday after the players hold a midday practice. Saturday’s walk-through will be held in the D.C. area.

Remember: Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, so the game will start at 1:30 p.m. on the West Coast.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Great football teams don’t shy away from success. We’ve been waiting on these moments our whole entire lives. I know for me, as an example, I’ve been waiting for this my whole entire life. I think with our football team, we’re determined to be successful; we’re determined to be great. And that mindset of staying focused on the positive, staying focused on the great opportunities that you have, staying focused on the now – one opportunity at a time, one play at a time; that mentality of just competing with that, I think that’s where you’re successful more times than not.” – quarterback Russell Wilson when asked if he and his team were comfortable with the level of success they’ve achieved


On this date: Seahawks win first playoff game

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Dec. 24:

Football Pro NFL  Games 1983  Wild Card  Denver  vs  Seattle

1983: In the Seahawks’ first playoff game, on a Saturday afternoon at the Kingdome, Dave Krieg passes for three touchdowns – to Steve Largent, Pete Metzelaars and Paul Johns – in a 31-7 victory over the Broncos. Kenny Easley leads the defensive effort with 10 tackles and a sack.

1994: In what will be Tom Flores’ final game as coach, and on a day when the wind-chill at old Cleveland Stadium is 22 degrees, the Browns roll to a 35-9 victory. The Seahawks score their only touchdown with 1:22 remaining on Stan Gelbaugh’s 25-yard pass to James McKnight.

1995: The Seahawks close their first season under Dennis Erickson the same way they opened it, with a lopsided loss to the Chiefs – this time 26-3 in Kansas City. Steve Broussard’s 70-yard kickoff return sets up the Seahawks’ only score, a 34-yard field goal by Todd Peterson.

2005: On a Saturday afternoon in Seattle, Shaun Alexander runs for 139 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Hasselbeck passes for two more scores, including one to Alexander, in a 28-13 victory over the Colts that caps a club-record 11-game winning streak.

2006: The Seahawks take a 17-13 lead on a 9-yard TD run by Shaun Alexander and a 33-yard field goal by Josh Brown, but Vincent Jackson catches a pass from Philip Rivers in the end zone with 29 seconds to play to give the Chargers a 20-17 victory in Seattle. Alexander finishes with 140 yards and two TDs.

2011: The Seahawks’ three-game winning streak is snapped in a 19-17 loss to the 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Marshawn Lynch’s 4-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter – the first rushing TD allowed of the season allowed by the 49ers – gives the Seahawks a 17-16 lead. But David Akers’ fourth field goal of the game with 2:57 left gives the 49ers the win. Lynch rushes for 107 yards, making him the first back since 2009 to hit triple digits against the 49ers.


On this date: Mr. Lynch comes to Washington

A look at the memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Oct. 5:

1980: Sam McCullum catches two touchdown passes and Efren Herrera kicks four field goals in a 26-7 victory over the Oilers in the Astrodome, in what will be the Seahawks’ last win of the season.

1997: Steve Broussard breaks touchdown runs of 77 and 43 yards, and gains 138 yards on just six carries, as the Seahawks start a three-game winning streak with a 16-13 victory over the Titans at the Kingdome.

2003: Josh Brown kicks a club-record 58-yard field goal in Green Bay, but the Seahawks lose to the Packers 35-13.

2010: Running back Marshawn Lynch is acquired in a trade with the Bills. Lynch leads the team in rushing that season and turns in one of the most electrifying plays in franchise history when he scores on a 67-yard run in the wild-card playoff win over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints.


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On this date

A look at the memorable – and not-so-memorable – moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Dec. 24:

1983: In the Seahawks’ first playoff game, on a Saturday afternoon at the Kingdome, Dave Krieg passes for three touchdowns – to Steve Largent, Pete Metzelaars and Paul Johns – in a 31-7 victory over the Broncos. Kenny Easley leads the defensive effort with 10 tackles and a sack.

1994: In what will be Tom Flores’ final game as coach, and on a day when the wind-chill at old Cleveland Stadium is 22 degrees, the Browns roll to a 35-9 victory. The Seahawks score their only touchdown with 1:22 remaining on Stan Gelbaugh’s 25-yard pass to James McKnight.

1995: The Seahawks close their first season under Dennis Erickson the same way they opened it, with a lopsided loss to the Chiefs – this time 26-3 in Kansas City. Steve Broussard’s 70-yard kickoff return sets up the Seahawks’ only score, a 34-yard field goal by Todd Peterson.

2005: On a Saturday afternoon in Seattle, Shaun Alexander runs for 139 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Hasselbeck passes for two more scores, including one to Alexander, in a 28-13 victory over the Colts that caps a club-record 11-game winning streak.

2006: The Seahawks take a 17-13 lead on a 9-yard TD run by Shaun Alexander and a 33-yard field goal by Josh Brown, but Vincent Jackson catches a pass from Philip Rivers in the end zone with 29 seconds to play to give the Chargers a 20-17 victory in Seattle. Alexander finishes with 140 yards and two TDs.


On this date

A look at the memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Oct. 5:

1980: Sam McCullum catches two touchdown passes and Efren Herrera kicks four field goals in a 26-7 victory over the Oilers in the Astrodome, in what would be the Seahawks’ last win of the season.

1997: Steve Broussard breaks touchdown runs of 77 and 43 yards, and gains 138 yards on just six carries, as the Seahawks start a three-game winning streak with a 16-13 victory over the Titans at the Kingdome.

2003: Josh Brown kicks a club-record 58-yard field goal in Green Bay, but the Seahawks lose to the Packers 35-13.

2010: Running back Marshawn Lynch is acquired in a trade with the Bills. Lynch leads the team in rushing and turns in one of the most electrifying plays in franchise history when he scores on a 67-yard run in the wild-card playoff win over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints.


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Cyber surfing: Tuesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” – and was “out there” over the holiday weekend – on the Seahawks for May 31:

ESPN’s John Clayton, who hosts a Saturday morning show on 710 ESPN, interviewed Mark LeGree, the safety the Seahawks selected in the April NFL Draft. The rookie has had limited exposure to coach Pete Carroll because of the lockout. But he seems to already know the drill, offering, “Even if I don’t get a starting spot, I’m going to make the guy ahead of me work for his spot. On special teams? I love special teams. I know how big a part of the game it is; it can change a game in just one play. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be able to start. I’m a playmaker and I can go get that ball.”

Clayton also lists new offensive line coach Tom Cable at No. 9 in his Top 10 coaches being hit hardest by the lockout. Clayton’s reasoning for the ranking: “The former Raiders coach took over the Seahawks’ offensive line, which is trying to replace three starters. The Seahawks used their first two draft choices on offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt, and they’ve got to find another guard in free agency. Starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is unsigned and has to decide whether he wants to return to what will be the league’s youngest and – until the lockout is over – most un-coached offensive line.”

Jim Corbett of USA Today has five burning questions about the Seahawks as they wait to prepare for the coming season. No. 1, of course, is who will quarterback the team. Says Corbett: “Still, the longer the lockout goes, the better the chance that Hasselbeck could return.”

It’s difficult to not second that notion.

Carl Eller played the final season of his Hall of Fame career with the Seahawks in 1979. Prior to that, he was dominating defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. Now, Eller, in his role as president of the Retired Players Association, has become a spokesman for that faction in the labor dispute between owners and players. Eller wrote this piece for Sporting News Today, offering: “It is just as much in the interests of the retired players as it is the fans to create a resolution so that we have football played in 2011 – remember, we are now fans, too.

Chester Pitts, a free-agent-to-be offensive lineman for the Seahawks, has had a lot to say during the lockout. Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com catches up with Pitts to get his reaction to Kurt Warner’s recent comment about the players eventually “giving in.” Said Pitts: “There were a lot of players I spoke to who were stunned by what he said. I was disappointed. Disappointed is a good word, but disheartening is a better word.”

And for our give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, we offer this bullet-point overview by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. He puts the likelihood of games being lost at 70 percent.

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our look at the players voted to the 35th Anniversary team with a profile of kickoff returner Steve Broussard – as well as a look at current kickoff returner Leon Washington and his place in team history after only one season.


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For the love of Leon

Not long after the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team had been announced, the what-about-Leon sentiment started to surface.

That would be Leon Washington, and that would be because he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in his first season with the Seahawks after being obtained last year in a draft-day trade with the New York Jets.

One problem: Washington went off after the voting had been completed, and readers of Seahawks.com already had selected Steve Broussard as the kickoff returner. One Broussard-backing factor: One season does not a 35th Anniversary team selection make.

Broussard, who played with the Seahawks from 1995-98, still ranks first in club history in career kickoff returns (165) and yards (3,900), as well as single-season average (26.9 yards in ’98). He also had a TD return in his final season – a 90-yarder of the opening kickoff in a 24-14 win over the Washington Redskins at the Kingdome.

Washington averaged 25.6 yards on 57 kickoff returns last season, when he basically won the Week 3 game against the San Diego Chargers at Qwest Field with scoring returns of 101 and 99 yards and later had a 92-yarder in a loss to the 49ers in San Francisco.

Washington’s time obviously will come. In one season, he broke the game, season and career records for scoring returns – which had been one, across the board. His 253 return yards against the Chargers broke the single-game record that had been held by Maurice Morris (231), and his 63.3-yard average in that game obliterated the previous record of 42.8 yards by Charlie Rogers. Washington also produced 1,461 yards for the season – roughly half the career total of 2,843 by Morris, who ranks third behind Broussard (3,900) and Rogers (3,214); and third on the single-season list behind Josh Wilson (1,753) and Rogers (1,629).

It was all after the fact, however. Or the voting. So Broussard is the man, and his story is the 17th in a series profiling the players on the reader-selected team.

But here’s a look at how Washington’s one-season efforts stack up in franchise history, and how he’s on course to likely displace Broussard on the next anniversary team:

 

Most kickoff returns, season

Player (year) – No.

Josh Wilson (2008) – 69

Charlie Rogers (2000) – 66

Josh Scobey (2005) – 59

Leon Washington (2010) – 57

 

Most kickoff returns, game

Player (year) – No.

Bobby Joe Edmonds (1987) – 8

Leon Washington (2010) – 7

Note: Washington did it twice, joining 11 other players.

 

Most yards gained, season

Player (year) – Yds.

Josh Wilson (2008)- 1,753

Charlie Rogers (2000) – 1,629

Leon Washington (2010) – 1,461

 

Most yards gained, game

Player (year) – Yds.

Leon Washington (2010) – 253

Maurice Morris (2002) – 231

Leon Washington (2010) – 222

 

Longest kickoff return

Player (year) – Yds.

Leon Washington (2010) – 101

Leon Washington (2010) – 99

James Jefferson (1989) – 97

Maurice Morris (2002) – 97

 

Highest average, career

(minimum 50 returns)

Player (years) – Avg.

Josh Wilson (2007-08) – 25.8

Leon Washington (2010-present) – 25.6

Charlie Rogers (1999-2001) – 23.9

 

Highest average, season

Player (year) – Avg.

Steve Broussard (1998) – 26.9

Charlie Rogers (1999) – 25.8

Leon Washington (2010) – 25.6

 

Highest average, game

(minimum four returns)

Player (year) – Avg.

Leon Washington (2010) – 63.3

Charlie Rogers (2000) – 42.8

Chris Warren (1990) – 36.7


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