Mike Holmgren said he wanted to keep things light and the players to have fun. That mission is accomplished. It was a jovial, spirited practice that ended with a two-minute drill, the first defense against the second offense. The defense started out dominating, knocking down four straight passes, but on the fourth Holmgren called a pass interference call, much to the defense’s dismay, and it allowed the offense to go down the field and score. There was not tackling, so it’s not a true drill, but it was fun nonetheless.
Sounders star Freddy Ljungberg attended the practice as well, with a coterie of people in tow or fawning over him. He was wearing a sweet jacket with a fur-lined hood, which reminded me of a jacket that Kenny Anderson wore on the team bus one day — up to the point that he took it off because Gary Payton’s heckling was so relentless.
Ljungbert met with several players after practice and exchanged jerseys with Mat Hasselbeck, who has a very similar pate — at least the very top part of it.
The locker room was lively as well. I spoke a little with D.D. Lewis, who will be starting in place of Leroy Hill this week, and the obvious question is whether Lewis feels any pressure to perform well this week because if Hill does not come back next year then Lewis is essentially auditioning for a starting spot. He said he is not even thinking about that right now. He just wants to go out, play well, help his team win. He said it is not that big an adjustment to go from middle linebacker, where he was filling in for Lofa, to outside, though his responsibilities are different because he has more outside contain.
I also spoke with Walter about the possibility of making the Pro Bowl. He said he doesn’t know, it is up to the voters. He said people don’t make it on reputation. Anybody who is there playing deserves to be there playing. I asked him about Merriman the year he was busted for roids. He said he may have been suspended for four games but he still performed well when he did play. Walter said the first few years he made the Pro Bowl, he flew 20-25 people over — his brothers and sisters and in-laws and their spouses — for the festivities. He put them in coach, he said.
As far as Chris Spencer’s injury, he has a herniated disc and says he is not getting surgery on it. For the record, though, international practice squader Sam Gutekunst also had a herniated disc and we haven’t seen him around these parts in about 3 months.
Also, the last time we spoke with Kerney, which was the last time we saw him, he said it had not yet been determined if he would have surgery. He said he was not getting the response from treatment that he should and so surgery was an option.