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Tuesday round-up: Who is Seattle’s best player?

Free safety Earl Thomas stops by the set of NFL Network to discuss how he and the club are gearing up for 2013

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Tuesday, June 18, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Danny O’Neil of 710 Sports.com called free safety Earl Thomas Seattle’s best player in his most recent column, which sparked a spirited roundtable-discussion between O’Neil, Brock Huard and ESPN’s John Clayton and Mike Sando on “Brock and Danny” – the audio of which can be found below:


Sando has a look around the rest of the NFC West.

ESPN.com’s Jeffri Chadiha says quarterback Russell Wilson faces new pressure in his second season, as he comes to find out what life is like as a “burgeoning superstar.”

Our Clare Farnsworth breaks down ProFootballTalk.com’s exercise in selecting the four heads to represent the club on a Seahawks-themed Mt. Rushmore. Wide receiver Steve Largent, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, left tackle Walter Jones, and running back Shaun Alexander are highlighted on their list.

Wide receiver Charly Martin is full-go at the NFL Broadcasting Boot Camp at NFL Films headquarters in Mt. Laurel, N.J.

And fourth-year Sea Gal Laura, a fellow graduate of Washington State University (Go Cougs), takes some time to introduce us to the 2013 Sea Gals squad.


Monday round-up: Profiling John Nordstrom; Richard Sherman audio; Seahawks Mt. Rushmore

Seahawks insider Tony Ventrella talks with two of the newest members of the Seahawks, Luke Willson from Canada and Jesse Williams from Australia.

Good morning, and I hope everyone had a good Father’s Day weekend. Here’s what’s “out there” for today, Monday, June 17, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has a position-by-position breakdown of where the Seahawks stand heading into training camp, offering his own comfort level (on a scale of one to 10) on how comfortable fans should feel with each group.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune profiles former Seahawks owner John Nordstrom, which provides some very interesting background on the start of the franchise.

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com has a look at three things we learned and three things we’re still trying to figure out now that the Seahawks have wrapped up Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp workouts. O’Neil also says free safety Earl Thomas might be “the best player” on the team.

Brent Stecker of 710Sports.com recaps cornerback Richard Sherman’s weekend appearance on The John Clayton Show. You can listen to the podcast of Sherman with Clayton here:


Curtis Crabtree, writing for the Associated Press, details how third-round draft pick Jordan Hill and fifth-round draft pick Jesse Williams are fitting in along Seattle’s defensive line.

NFC West blogger Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a closer look at what might happen if the Seahawks need to make a switch to their backup quarterback – Tarvaris Jackson or Brady Quinn. Sando also has his NFC West-chat transcript from Friday here.

You, the readers of Seahawks.com, voted former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck as the fourth head on a Seahawks-themed Mount Rushmore, as he joined consensus mountain-locks Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones. It was an exercise precluding one over at ProFootballTalk.com, where former running back Shaun Alexander recently beat out Hasselbeck, Mike Holmgren and the 12th Man as the mountain’s fourth face in their “Faces of the Franchise” feature.


Taking the fourth: It’s Matt Hasselbeck

Matt Hasselbeck

Remember when we asked for your input on who should join Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones on a Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore? Yeah, we’d almost forgotten, too.

But the readers of Seahawks.com have spoken – or voted – and the winner is …

Matt Hasselbeck. The only quarterback to lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl, as well as the franchise’s career leader in completions and passing yards, garnered 28.6 percent of the votes. Hasselbeck also won 69 games, one less than Dave Krieg.

Also getting more than 20 percent of the votes were strong safety Kenny Easley (20.9), the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984; and running back Shaun Alexander (20.5), the franchise’s all-time leader rusher and the only Seahawk to be voted league MVP (in 2005).

Rounding out the votes were coaches Mike Holmgren (15 percent) and Chuck Knox (6.4) and all-time sack leader Jacob Green (8.5).


Saturday in Hawkville: Chris Harper catching the ball ‘beautifully’

Chris Harper

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 11 during the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp:

FOCUS ON

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.

UP NEXT

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


Who should be the fourth head on Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore?

Cortez Kennedy, Steve Largent

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.”

Walter JonesThe 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):


On this date: A retirement, a trade and two impactful draft picks

Jacob Green

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 29:

1980: The Seahawks trade up to the 10th spot in the first round of the draft to select Jacob Green. The defensive end from Texas A&M stepped into the starting lineup as a rookie and stayed there through the 1991 season – putting up franchise records in sacks (116) and forced fumbles (28) and starting 176 games, which ranks third on the team’s all-time list behind Steve Largent (197) and Walter Jones (180). Green was voted to the Pro Bowl twice, induced into the team’s Ring of Honor in 1995 and selected to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team.

1986: John L. Williams is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, but only after coach Chuck Knox makes a trip to Florida to check out the versatile fullback. Over the next eight seasons, Williams would lead the team in receiving three times, rushing once and be voted to the Pro Bowl twice. He still ranks third in receptions (471), fourth in rushing yards (4,579) and 10th in total touchdowns (33) on the team’s all-time lists.

Walter Jones2007: Darrell Jackson, the team’s leading receiver in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006, is traded to the 49ers. He still ranks fourth in receptions (441), third in receiving yards (6,445) and second in touchdown catches (47) on the team’s all-time lists.

2010: Walter Jones retires after a 14-season career that saw him voted to a club-record nine Pro Bowls and also six All-Pro berths. A first-round draft choice in 1997, Jones ranks second in games started (180), was named to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team and already has had his No. 71 retired. In 2006, he was named the best player in the NFL by The Sporting News.


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What’s the best single day in Seahawks draft history?

Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson

In past years, we’ve asked you to weigh-in on the best selections by round in the NFL Draft for the Seahawks, and also to vote on the best draft choice in franchise history.

But which was the single best day in the draft for the Seahawks?

The idea for this poll was planted during a hallway conversation at Virginia Mason Athletic Center with one of the team’s scouts, as we discussed what the team was able to accomplish on the second day of the 2012 draft.

That’s when Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson were selected in the second and third rounds. If you’re not familiar with their contributions to the team going 11-5 during the regular season and winning the franchise’s first road playoff game since 1983, well, you probably have no business voting in this poll.

But as a not-so-subtle reminder: Wagner led the Seahawks’ No. 4-ranked defense in tackles and finished second in balloting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; while Wilson tied the NFL rookie record by throwing 26 touchdown passes and finished third in voting for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

But was that the best single-day draft performance in club history? Here are three others to consider:

1990: The Seahawks began the day by trading up to the No. 3 spot in the first round with the Patriots to select defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who became the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer. But before that first day was over, the Seahawks also had added linebacker Terry Wooden and strong safety Robert Blackmon (second round) and eventual Pro Bowl running back Chris Warren (fourth round).

2010: In the first draft under GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, in the first draft where it was expanded to three days and the first round only was conducted on the first day, the Seahawks selected Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick overall and then added All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas with the 14th pick.

1997: The Seahawks also had two first-round picks this year, and used them to selected Pro Bowl cornerback Shawn Springs (third pick overall) and All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones (sixth pick). While Springs was a solid starter for seven seasons, Jones was voted to more Pro Bowls (nine) than any player in franchise history and already has had his No. 71 retired. The 1-2 punch of Springs and Jones also trumps the other two years when the team had two picks in the first round – 2000 (Shaun Alexander and Chris McIntosh) and 2001 (Koren Robinson and Steve Hutchinson).

But which one day was the best day? You make the call …

Cortez Kennedy, Terry Wooden, Chris WarrenEarl Thomas, Russell OkungWalter Jones, Shawn SpringsBobby Wagner, Russell Wilson


Another big honor for Big Walt

Walter Jones

Before Walter Jones became the best offensive lineman in Seahawks’ history, the former left tackle was one of their first-round draft choices in 1997. Before that, he was an under-the-radar, off-the-charts blocker for one season at Florida State University.

Before that, Jones attended Holmes Community College in Goodman, Miss. Tonight, he will be inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame. While at Holmes CC, Jones played tackle and tight end, allowing only one sack in two seasons. In 1994, he was named Mississippi Junior College Player of the Year by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Jones tweeted the following this morning: “Getting ready for night will be inducted into the holmescc Sports Hall of Fame.”

In 13 seasons with the Seahawks, Jones was voted to a franchise-record nine Pro Bowls and also named All-Pro seven times. Not surprisingly, he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade teams for the 2000s and voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team. Jones had his No. 71 retired in 2010 and is expected to be the next player added to the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor.

Jones’ tweet was accompanied by this photo from his Instagram account:

Walter Jones


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On this date: First round of draft delivers Walter Jones and Shawn Springs

Walter Jones, Shawn Springs

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 19:

1997: After selecting cornerback Shawn Springs with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Seahawks traded into the sixth spot to take tackle Walter Jones. The incomparable Jones would be voted to a club-record nine Pro Bowls and have his No. 71 retired after he called it a Hall of Fame career following the 2009 season. Springs also was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1998 and started 88 games in seven seasons with the team.

2002: Brock Huard is traded to the Colts for a fifth-round draft choice the Seahawks would use to select defensive tackle Rocky Bernard. Huard, who also played at the University of Washington and Puyallup High School, had been the Seahawks’ third-round draft in 1999 and would return to the team for the 2004 season.


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Steve Hutchinson announces his retirement

Steve Hutchinson

After 12 seasons, seven Pro Bowls, seven All-Pro selections and countless dominating blocks, Steve Hutchinson is calling it a career.

Hutchinson, who entered the NFL in 2001 as a first-round draft choice by the Seahawks, announced his retirement this morning on his Twitter account.

“Retiring today after a great run in the NFL,” he tweeted. “Want to thank the Seahawks, Vikings, Titans and their fans for the opportunity.”

And Hutchinson, 35, made the most of those opportunities. He was an overpowering blocker as the left guard during his five-season stay with the Seahawks, which concluded with a run to the Super Bowl in 2005. He teamed with left tackle Walter Jones to form the best side of any line in the league, as Hutchinson was voted to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Not surprisingly, Hutchinson also was voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team, as selected by readers of Seahawks.com.

“The strong, silent type,” Lofa Tatupu, the middle linebacker on the 35th Anniversary team, said of Hutchinson. “I don’t really know how to describe him – a man of few words, I guess. But his actions definitely spoke volumes; the way he played and the way he handled himself as a professional.”

After the 2005 season, Hutchinson signed an offer sheet with the Vikings that the Seahawks declined to match after giving him the transition tag rather than the franchise tag when he reached free agency.

The 6-foot-5, 313-pound Hutchinson was voted to four more Pro Bowls in his first four seasons with the Vikings, and also was named All-Pro in each of those seasons. He was released by the Vikings following the 2011 season and signed with the Titans, after also being recruited by the Seahawks.

Hutchinson spent only five seasons with the Seahawks, but remains the best guard in franchise history and one of the most memorable characters.

As Tatupu put it, “As a leader, he really helped command that O-line with all those vets. Hutch had that stare. You didn’t know how to be around him: Is he going to say hi? Or is he going to punch me?

“That’s what you loved about him. He was just a straight-forward man’s man. And, he’s a good dude.”


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