News & Notes: Is Leroy Hill on the Outs?

News & Notes: Is Leroy Hill on the Outs?

The Seahawks could be taking the first steps toward cutting ties with linebacker Leroy Hill. The 27-year-old, sixth-year pro missed his second minicamp session since being arrested for an alleged domestic disturbance in April at his Issaquah home. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said nothing has changed in terms of Hill's status with the league.

"The situation hasn't changed at all," Carroll said. "As far as I know nothing has taken place yet, so we're going to continue to let him take care of his business until we know more."

Carroll went on to say that the team has told Hill to continue and stay away from the facility and handle his personal matters.

"We don't need the distraction right now, and he needs to focus on getting his business taken care of," Carroll said.

Hill's latest incident is his second brush with the law in just over a year, and occurred just 10 days after he received a sentence of 12 months probation for misdemeanor drug possession for a Jan. 24, 2009 incident in which he was found asleep at the wheel by police in suburban Atlanta with marijuana in his car.

The Seahawks could be willing to turn the page on Hill for a several reasons.

First, he likely will face at least a one-game suspension from the league, and also could deal with a possible parole violation for his latest offense.

The team has depth at linebacker, including third-year pro David Hawthorne. Hawthorne, who turns 25 on May 14, played well subbing for injured middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, starting 11 games and leading the team in tackles with 117, finishing second on the team in sacks with four and along with safety Deon Grant, leading the team in interceptions with three. Hawthorne also forced two fumbles. Hawthorne is currently filling Hill's position of weak-side, outside linebacker with the first unit.

Also, Hill's play has been less-than-stellar of late. He's struggled to stay healthy, missing nine games over the past, two seasons. And Hill only has two sacks over that period.

Finally, the Seahawks could rid themselves of Hill's unwieldy contract. He signed a six year, $38 million deal heading into the 2009 season. But Hill's deal provides Seattle with the ability to get from out of the accord after two seasons. And with the absence of the salary cap this year, Seattle could cut Hill without suffering the financial hit on the team's salary cap.

If Seattle decides to keep Hill at his current base salary of $6 million for 2010, he could lose $352,941 in salary for every game he misses to a suspension.

 

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--The Seahawks are thankful to have landed Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate with the No. 60 pick in the second round. With his ability to make players miss in the open field and also return kicks and punts, Tate brings an element of explosiveness to Seattle's offense.

"I know one thing, over the past two days he's been very impressive," Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said about Tate. "His work ethic has been unbelievable. He's very aggressive as far as attacking the ball when the ball's up in the air. He still has to learn the offense. He has a long way to go, and he has a big playbook to study. But we're excited to have him."

Tate finished his career with the Fighting Irish as the school's all-time receiving yards leader with 2,707. Tate put his playmaking ability on display on the opening day of minicamp, sneaking past cornerback Josh Wilson on a go route for a long gain, and going up high to bring down a ball between Marcus Trufant and Jordan Babineaux down the middle of the defense.

But toward the end of the three-day camp, Tate struggled at times to consistently create separation and come down with balls against some of Seattle's veteran defensive backs, receiving some good-natured ribbing from veteran players like Lawyer Milloy.

"Golden has to understand this is the NFL," Wilson said. "Some of that stuff you did in college ain't going to work out here. But he's going to be a good receiver. He's just got to keep working at."

--Defensive lineman Red Bryant, a fourth-round draft pick heading into his third season out of Texas A&M, got playing time at a new position for him -- defensive end. And according to head coach Pete Carroll, Bryant showed improvement over the three-day camp.

Bryant knocked down a pass from the defensive end position during a Sunday scrimmage, and split time between defensive end and defensive tackle. Carroll said defensive line coach Dan Quinn had the idea of playing Bryant outside.

"Obviously it gives us a big guy playing over there," Carroll said. "And with what we're trying to do in the run game, he made a good showing. ... His feet are quick, and he's still a big man."

Bryant said his father-in-law, legendary Seahawks defensive end Jacob Green, constantly reminds him that his redshirt years are over, and that he needs to step up.

"He tells me all the time, in Year 3 they kind of get an idea if you're going to be a player or not," Bryant said. And so he's brutally honest with me."

--Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had more kind words for receiver Mike Williams, the former USC product who is trying to make a comeback to the NFL. With T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch and Ben Obomanu out, Williams was running with the first unit this weekend.

"To see Mike come out here and be effective again in the second camp, that's a really good sign for him," Carroll said. "He's definitely in a place where he's really competitive. Physically, it's the best I've seen him since maybe his sophomore year of college. So he's very serious about it, so maybe he has a chance to give us some help."

Carroll also said the other Williams in camp, UW product Reggie Williams, has had his moments as well, and that both will continue to compete throughout the offseason and likely up until training camp starts at the end of July.

"Reggie's done better," Carroll said. "He's getting in better shape from where he was on the first camp. He's continued to progress also. It's going to be a long haul for those guys. Those guys are working their way back, and it's going to be an assessment that you make over a long period of time."

--The Seahawks again juggled their roster after a second weekend of off-season minicamps. Seattle claimed ex-Central Washington University standout quarterback Mike Reilly off of waivers from the St. Louis Rams, and added tryout players

Reilly was signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh after the 2009 draft and spent some time on the Steelers' practice squad and in Green Bay, where Seahawks general manager John Schneider got an up-close look at him, before ultimately winding up in St. Louis at the end of last season.

Seattle also signed offensive tackle Joe Toledo, cornerbacks Chris Richards and Marcus Udell and receivers Chris Duvalt and Victor James, all tryout players who participated in the team's three-day minicamp last week.

In part to make room for those players, Seattle released linebacker Reggie Carter and long snapper Patrick MacDonald

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He is an exciting player. He's ready to play. You can just see he has the range to cover the entire field, and as a corner that's what you love to see. I told him he's gets the hits, I get the picks." -- Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson on new teammate safety Earl Thomas.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

OT Joe Toledo, CB Chris Richards, CB Marcus Udell and receivers Chris Duvalt and Victor James -- all tryout players -- have signed contracts with the Seahawks.

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