Camp Brings Complications for Seahawks

In his first training camp since officially taking over as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Jim Mora's management skills already are being tested.

The team's first-round pick, linebacker Aaron Curry, the No. 4 overall selection in the draft, has yet to agree on a contract and remains a holdout. Curry already has moved to Seattle with fiancee Jamila and his two dogs, Layla and Ali, but is waiting for an agreement before reporting to camp.

Mora said talks are continuing between the team and Curry. However, the Seahawks would like Curry in camp sooner rather than later working with the defense because of the impactful role the rookie linebacker is expected to play. "It hurts -- those repetitions that you can't make up," Mora said. "But fortunately Aaron had a very, very productive offseason. (He) got a lot of good work in. He's a smart young man. It's important for him to be here as soon as possible. And like I said, I just have confidence that something will get done."

The sticking point of the standoff between the two sides appears to be New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez's deal. The No. 5 pick received $28 million in guaranteed money, and Ruskell hinted that Curry's representatives are using that as a comparable, while the team views quarterback contracts in a different light.
Also, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, Kansas City's Tyson Jackson, has to sign with the Chiefs, but reportedly is close to signing a deal.

Along with the Curry contract situation, Mora will have to find a new left guard on offense, as last year's starter Mike Wahle failed his physical and was released by the team.

An 11-year veteran, Wahle started 138 games in the NFL, including 10 games for Seattle in 2008. However, Wahle, 32, underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder in December. It was the same shoulder Wahle had surgery on previously to repair a torn labrum while he was with the Carolina Panthers.
Currently, the team is looking at Rob Sims, Mansfield Wrotto and rookie Max Unger to fill the void left by Wahle's departure.

Mora also has one more thing to worry about -- his shutdown corner is not on the field. The Seahawks placed cornerback Marcus Trufant on the active/physically unable to perform list with a sore back. Mora said Trufant tweaked his back throwing the ball around a few days ago, and the team took a conservative approach to the injury. Trufant also missed a couple of days of practice during offseason workouts with a sore hamstring.

Trufant's listing on the PUP list raised a few eyebrows, considering quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's bulging disk from last season was thought to be just back soreness in the first days of training camp last season. "We want to be cautious with backs, given our history," Mora said. "And so when Marcus is ready to go, then he'll be back out there. But it doesn't appear to be anything serious, other than just sore."

Even with some of the issues he has to deal with, Mora still is upbeat about getting the season started.

"It was exciting to get going," he said. "It's a great atmosphere here. It's fun to see people on the water with their 12th man flags. And I think our team is excited about our season."

CAMP CALENDAR: The Seahawks close training camp on Aug. 18; they have no scrimmages scheduled at this point, however the team has opened up practices at its new facility in Renton, the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, for the first time since opening the facility last year. The open practices are sold out. The team also will hold two free practices open to the public at the University of Washington on Aug. 7 and Aug. 18.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--Only 10 months removed from a major reconstructive knee surgery, wide receiver Nate Burleson is already the talk of training camp for the Seattle Seahawks.
Burleson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the first game last year at Buffalo, ending his season before it really ever began. During the first couple of practices, Burleson has looked impressive. He's getting open at will, confidently going up to make leaping catches in the middle of the defense, and showing off the extra burst of speed that allowed him to get deep before the knee surgery.

"It feels good," Burleson said about his knee. "I don't want to get too excited too early. I'm somewhat surprised, but at the same time the month leading up to training camp I was really busting my butt in AZ (Arizona), working out twice a day in that hot weather.

"I knew I was prepared. But to come out here and actually see it myself and feel it myself, and then catch balls at the same time, it was a good feeling. Yesterday, I went to sleep with a smile on my face."

--Unable to practice during the offseason while still rehabbing from offseason knee injury, Cory Redding has been getting some time with the first unit at left defensive end. Redding said the plan for him right now is to play end during the early downs, and move to defensive tackle on passing situations. Patrick Kerney played left end for Seattle last season, but Redding is more stout and built to play against the run. Mora said the team plans to play Kerney at right end for now, with Lawrence Jackson backing up Redding at left end, and Darryl Tapp backing up Kerney at right end.

Redding said he's not concerned with where he'll line up or whether or not he'll start. "Right now, I'm just making sure I don't mess up," he said. "And playing the role that's given to me right now. They've got me working with the ones, so that's good to get out there and work with the guys and be with the starters. And then I work with the twos, so I'm working with both groups and making sure I don't make mistakes. And making sure I get good hustle and run to the ball, and let the coaches make the decision."

--Defensive end Baraka Atkins missed the first two days of practice to attend a funeral of a good friend in Florida.

--Linebacker D.D. Lewis continues to come back slowly from his offseason arthroscopic knee surgery. The veteran linebacker is important to Seattle because of his ability to play all three linebacker positions.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I predicted to the team today that Ray Willis would certainly be in the first fight, I just didn't know it would be the first day." -- Seahawks head coach Jim Mora commenting on offensive lineman Ray Willis getting into a scuffle with defensive end Lawrence Jackson on the first day of practice.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

With the team releasing offensive guard Mike Wahle after his failed physical, the Seahawks signed two offensive linemen in veteran Cory Withrow and Grey Ruegamer. Neither is expected to start in place of Wahle, but both will help add depth up front offensively. They also added CB Travis Fisher because Marcus Trufant is starting camp on the PUP list.

--OL Mike Wahle was released after he failed a team physical on the first day veterans reported to camp. Wahle likely will retire from the league.

--DE Brandon Miller was cut because of a non-football injury. Miller had shown promise during offseason workouts, but reportedly suffered an Achilles tendon tear in an off-the-field incident.

--C David Washington, a free agent center out of Oklahoma State, was cut to make room for the team to pick up a veteran offensive lineman.

--DE Derek Walker, a free-agent rookie from Illinois who Washington released in June, was picked up to fill Miller's spot.

--OL Cory Withrow, a free agent and Spokane, Wash., native was brought in to add depth up front, and takes Wahle's spot on the roster.

--C Grey Ruegamer, a free agent and 11-year veteran, was picked up to help add depth to the team's interior, offensive line. He replaces Washington on the roster.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Brian Russell vs. Jordan Babineaux for starting FS spot -- The two players are golfing buddies, but now find themselves battling for a starting spot. Babineaux was the team's nickel back and fill in at cornerback, but gets a chance to compete for a starting role against Russell, who struggled keeping receivers in front of him last season.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Hawks general manager Tim Ruskell already said the team will not keep two kickers again this season, so veteran Olindo Mare and second-year player Brandon Coutu are competing for the starting kicker job. Veteran cornerback Ken Lucas also is trying to fend off youngster Josh Wilson for the starting, right cornerback spot, although both are on the field now that Marcus Trufant is on the shelf.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB Justin Forsett -- The second-year runner out of Cal continues to improve each day, and likely will see the field on passing downs and as a returner in the kicking game. The elusive runner should make some explosive plays for Seattle.

ROOKIE REPORT: Wide receiver Deon Butler is looking to solidify his role as the team's fourth receiver, and is getting some looks in four-receiver sets. ... Mike Teel has continued to operate as the team's third quarterback. ... TE Cameron Morrah has looked lost sometimes in the team's offense, but still has shown glimpses of the speed and pass-catching ability that he displayed while at Cal.

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