For the first time since he’s been the head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, Jim Mora got a look at what for the most part the players who will likely make-up his roster heading into the 2009 season.
"Unless for some reason we add someone else later on, this is our group that we’ll choose from," Mora said. "And it’s good to see them out here working together."
The latest addition was linebacker Leroy Hill, who arrived in town just in time to sign his $38 million, six-year deal with the team and make the first practice of minicamp on Friday.
Hill said he wasn’t angry when the team rescinding the franchise tag last week, saying he had ample opportunity to sign the $8.3 million, one-year tender offer.
"They couldn’t carry the tag obviously with the fourth pick," Hill said. "So it was just a business decision so I wasn’t really mad."
However, once Seattle made him a free agent, Hill said Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell basically made a priority to sign him. Further, Hill said he wanted to come back and finish his career here.
"They sort of smothered my agent, so I didn’t have time to talk to another team," Hill said. "And that’s what they said they were going to do, and we got it done.
"I told them this is where I wanted to be. This is where I started my career, and I wouldn’t mind ending my career here. It’s a beautiful place, great fans and everything."
Listen to a snippet of the conversation with Leroy here.
The Seahawks practiced a little less than two hours on today. Mora said he held one practice on Friday instead of the traditional, two-a-days Mike Holmgren usually ran during the post-draft, minicamp because he wanted to get the players back in the classroom for some extra learning.
Speaking of learning, that’s what rookie linebacker Aaron Curry has been doing since he found out Seattle had drafted him. Curry picked up his playbook on Monday on his first trip to Seattle and said he has spent 15-plus hours studying since receiving it.
"When I first got it, it was like reading Chinese," Curry said. "They gave it to me Monday and I was just looking at it and seeing if I was familiar with anything. But I’m catching on. I really caught on once they turned on the film and they showed us what we were doing and what was going on."
Curry’s speed stood out on the field, as he worked with the first unit alongside Hill and Lofa Tatupu. He seemed to be confused at times, but that’s expected for someone playing with the first unit in their first practice as a rookie.
"He looked fast, I can say that much," Tatupu said. "I think he almost ran me over on the pursuit drill. But everybody looks good in shorts. When we all came in, we looked good in shorts, too. Once you put the pads on, that’s when you can tell who the players are. But right now he looks the part, though."
Cornerback Ken Lucas said he feels fortunate to have another opportunity to return to Seattle but felt a little rusty out on the field today. Lucas worked at right cornerback with the first unit.
"Trying to learn the playbook on top of not being in shape to come out here and practice to your full potential is kind of frustrating, because you want to be your best right now," Lucas said. "But like Coach (Tim) Lewis says, if you’re at your best right now, then something’s wrong. So, that’s a good thing. Hopefully as the minicamps go on I’ll continue to get better."
The Seahawks had 77 guys out to practice on Friday. Players sitting out include DE Brandon Miller (wrist), WR Michael Bumpus, CB Kelly Jennings (shoulder), LB D.D. Lewis (knee), OT Walter Jones (knee), OG Mike Wahle (shoulder), FB Justin Griffith (knee), WR Deion Branch (knee) and DL Cory Redding.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson, still recovering from ACL surgery on his left knee, participated in seven-on-seven and team drills and made it through the first practice OK.
Second round draft pick offensive lineman Max Unger worked at left guard with the second group, but found himself resisting the urge not to call the huddle like he usually did as center for the University of Oregon.
Free agent pick-up running back Devin Moore looked as fast as advertised getting through the hole during team drills.
And two local products found their way on the field. Free agent Tony Fein, a Port Orchard native who played at Ole Miss, saw time at strongside, outside linebacker. And Bellarmine Prep product Ben Hannula was a tryout add on who played receiver. Hannula, who played receiver and cornerback at the University of San Diego, said the New York Giants showed interest in drafting him in the seventh round, but ultimately decided to pass, and he wound up getting an offer to tryout with the Seahawks.