Marshawn Lynch received plenty of cheers from the fans sitting on the grassy hill on Saturday as the Seattle Seahawks began training camp.
Whether those cheers get silenced at any point this season because of discipline from the NFL or the Seahawks after his arrest for driving under the influence remains a lingering question.
”This is something we really can’t talk about. Marshawn and I have been on the topic since the first day of it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ”We’ve had very good communication about it. There is a process going on that we can’t even really talk about it. But I’m pleased the way he has worked with us so we understand what is going on. This is a process that really has to take a life of its own and we have to follow that through.”
The Seahawks opened training camp with most of the focus on the three-way battle for the starting quarterback position between Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson, and whether Lynch might face discipline from either the team or the NFL for his July 14 arrest.
Carroll said he was disappointed in Lynch, who pleaded not guilty earlier this week to charges of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and driving while having a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher in Alameda County Superior Court.
”Always concerned and disappointed when anybody gets in any kind of trouble of any kind and didn’t know the facts, didn’t know anything about it,” Carroll said of his initial reaction. ”We talked our way through it, understand it and I was pleased the way we were able to interact so we could be on top of it. We’ll make it through.”
While Lynch’s status is likely to remain status quo for a while, the three-headed quarterback battle is the biggest question to be answered on the field.
Jackson took the snaps with the first unit on Saturday as Carroll had announced at the end of minicamp in June. But how the snaps are distributed the remainder of camp is being closely guarded by Carroll, other than each quarterback will get an equal share of snaps during the early stages.
”I have always competed and I am always trying to get better. This is obviously a different situation my previous four years I knew I wasn’t competing to be a starter,” said Flynn, who was Aaron Rodgers backup in Green Bay before joining Seattle in the offseason. ”You know it’s exciting; it’s an exciting time. This is what everybody in the NFL dreams of — to be a starter. So that’s what I’m going to compete to do.”
Just as important as the throws on the field will be how the quarterbacks perform during walkthrough and in meeting rooms. Carroll said it’s all being carefully choreographed.
”Everything counts in this process, the walkthroughs will be enormous and every aspect of this, the early work the late work,” Carroll said. ”We are really choreographing everything so we have to maximize it.”
One potential concern for the Seahawks was eliminated this week when defensive end Chris Clemons agreed to an extension after skipping June’s minicamp as part of a contract dispute. Clemons was scheduled to be a free agent after the season, but said it was a relief to get the extension finalized.
”It makes you feel better,” Clemons said. ”It doesn’t secure everything but it makes you feel better about how the team feels about you and going into this next season I don’t have to worry about free agency.”
Before camp began, Seattle placed wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, defensive back Walter Thurmond III and offensive lineman James Carpenter on the physically unable to perform list. All three can be activated at any time.
Originally Sidney Rice was going to be on that list, but was cleared on Saturday morning to participate in drills. He was still wearing a red jersey with Carroll wanting to protect Rice, who is coming off a pair of shoulder surgeries in the offseason.
”I had planned to come to camp and be really slow with re-entering him to make sure we use the next four to five weeks to continue to build him up and get him right,” Carroll said. ”He had both shoulders worked on, so he has another month to continue to work and get through as many weeks as we can without him getting nicked so we can get him strong for the season.”
Notes: Carroll said the decision to cut WR Mike Williams earlier this month was made after the team thought it was time to move on. ”Mike had topped out what he could do for us at this place. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to do something somewhere else,” Carroll said. … Kearse is fully healed from a foot injury and could be activated from the PUP list soon. Thurmond is further off and Carpenter’s timetable is still being determined after his serious knee injury last fall. … OL Allen Barbre was absent due to a family issue.