The Seattle Seahawks introduced new quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to the local media this afternoon. Whitehurst sat front and center, flanked by head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
Carroll made it clear early on that Matt Hasselbeck remains the starter in Seattle. However, Whitehurst will be expected to push for the starting job.
“Let the games begin,” Carroll said. “Matt’s obviously our guy that we’ve been excited about for a good while, and we’re pumped to have him. Charlie’s going to fit into this competition and take it as far as he can. And we have big expectations for him for the long haul.”
Schneider said the first time he saw Whitehurst was as college quarterback at Clemson in 2005, where Whitehurst threw well in bad weather for a workout in front of NFL scouts. Schneider said Whithurst’s performance stuck with him, and he considered him a player with a lot of potential.
“I just was extremely impressed and had a hard time getting him out of my mind,” Schneider said.
Schneider went on to say as the Seahawks scouting and coaching staff evaluated tape on Whitehurst, they viewed him as a young quarterback who had been coached well under Norv Turner at San Diego who they believe is ready to blossom and compete.
“As we see him fitting in he’s athletic,” Carroll said. “He’s got the mobility that we love. He’s got a big arm. He’s hungry to play. He’s been waiting for his turn. And that attitude he brings, as well as the athleticism and his throwing ability makes him a guy that we’re really pumped up about.”
Whitehurst said the decision between Seattle and Arizona was made plain when he took his trip here.
“The decision was easy for me,” Whitehurst said. “When I came and visited here. To get around coach (Carroll) and the people in this building, I think something special is going on here, and I really want to be a part of it.”
* Schneider said bringing Whitehurst on board does not mean Seattle will not select a quarterback in the first round.
* Schheider also said the deal does not hamper the team’s ability to make other moves in free agency, so Seattle going out and getting Denver restricted free agent receiver Brandon Marshall remains a distinct possibility.
* Carroll was asked how the difference in scheme affected the Seahwks’ evaluation. San Diego runs more of a vertical passing game, while Seattle’s offense will require Whitehurst to move around more, with more plays based off of play-action.
Carroll said the team took that into consideration, but liked the fact that they were able to see Whitehurst showcase his arm in the vertical passing game, throwing deep balls and deep comebacks.
* Whitehurst said Hasselbeck was the first person he contacted when it became apparent that he would be headed to Seattle, and the two have talked since.
* Whitehurst and Schneider were born at the same hospital, St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Wis. Whitehurst’s father, David Whitehurst, played for the Packers from 1976 to 1983, while Schneider is a Wisconsin native.