Seahawks free agents finally get to work
Sidney Rice thought the Seattle Seahawks had unwittingly become
the subject of a practical joke as he stood on the sideline and
watched them practice without him for yet another day.
”We thought we was getting pranked for a minute with everyone
just sitting out there with their pads on waiting on a phone
call,” the wide receiver said.
It was one last strange moment from the collective bargaining
process that took a little longer than expected to get
”It wasn’t that odd considering what’s happened the past six
months,” tight end Zach Miller said. ”It wasn’t that surprising
to have to wait a few more minutes to go. I think everyone was
excited to finally, officially, (know that) everything is over and
done with and the next 10 years we’ll have football
The Seahawks open the preseason with a trip to San Diego next
Thursday. Seattle will have just four more days of practice as a
full team, with a scheduled players day off on Sunday, before they
take the field for the first time. Ultimately, the free agent
signings had to wait an extra half hour before getting to work out
with their teammates.
Seattle had 16 players dressed in shoulder pads watching as
their teammates went through individual drills at the beginning of
their scheduled afternoon practice. Ten minutes into it, the entire
team stopped what they were doing to go over to the fans located on
the edge of the practice field. The team spent the next several
minutes signing autographs and talking to fans to stall until the
players got the final word that they could work out.
The players finally came together soon after and were given the
green light to practice.
”We had to sit around for an extra 25 minutes waiting on the
word for us to be able to go,” Rice said. ”But it felt good to be
able to get out there with my new teammates and get to work.”
Seattle has been one of the most active teams in this mad dash
of an NFL offseason. The team added quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
and big name free agents Rice, Robert Gallery and Zach Miller to an
offense the Seahawks desperately wanted to overhaul.
The new pieces were about to work together for the first time on
Thursday, and the lack of familiarity was obvious. In one
three-play sequence, Jackson fumbled two snaps from center Max
Unger and a handoff to running back Leon Washington. The practice
was littered with fumbles and false starts as the team struggled to
digest the playbook of new offensive coordinator Darrell
”Usually you have 15 days before your first preseason game, so
to go in a week really compresses everything,” Miller said.
”You’re going to have to study a lot. You’re going to have to get
as many reps as you can because it’s coming quick.”
Carroll designated Jackson the team’s starting quarterback on
Saturday without him taking a single snap in practice for his new
team. Charlie Whitehurst has been working with the first-team
offense for the first week of training camp, knowing he was just a
place holder until Jackson was able to begin practicing.
Now Jackson is on an accelerated timetable to get comfortable
with the rest of his new teammates in time for the fast-approaching
”Trying to learn the guys, and they’re trying to get used to
me,” Jackson said. ”Snap count, getting used to the centers and
stuff like that. Getting used to the receivers and how they like
the ball thrown and stuff like that. That’s why that one week was
so big for us not to be able to practice because we could have that
stuff worked out by now and be more familiar with each other.”