Seahawks Insider

Malcolm Smith 1st full practice of Seahawks preseason is like his last game–when he became Super Bowl MVP

Post by Gregg Bell / The News Tribune on Aug. 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm with 18 Comments »
August 19, 2014 8:46 pm

That was some of Malcolm Smith talking following his first full work on the field with the Seahawks since February’s Super Bowl.

In this morning’s practice, Smith was almost as good as he was in last game.

This was far from being the Super Bowl’s most valuable player, of course. It was only a Tuesday morning before the third exhibition game. But what Smith did during the final, team scrimmaging exemplifies why Seattle’s defense just got a lot healthier in more ways than one with his return from ankle surgery in the spring.

He ran across the middle of the field from left to right, tightly trailing his assigned receiver. The pass from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was high and behind his target — high and behind Smith, too. The linebacker leaped and in one, brilliantly athletic motion pulled his left arm up and back to cuff the ball out of the air with his hand and wrist. Smith somehow kept his balance and then zoomed past the stunned offense, coaches, waterboys and everyone else to the end zone directly outside the locker room.

My colleague Dave Boling has been watching practices for oh, a day or two. Standing next to me on the sideline, about 10 yards from where Smith snagged the interception, Boling let out an loud “WOW!” as Smith ran away from us. He says it’s one of the top five plays he’s seen at any Seattle football practice in 30 years.

I mean, it was something, certainly not too shabby for a seventh-round draft choice in 2011. All his fellow linebackers ran down the field to jump on him in the end zone. All-Pro safety Earl Thomas ran the field behind them to join in the fun. The defensive players — starters and reserves alike — gleefully chanted “MVP! MVP!”

The only main differences from his interception return for a score off Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl was that Manning’s pass was tipped — and, oh yeah, it was the Super Bowl.

That, and there wasn’t a goal post today on that end of the practice field over which Smith could dunk the ball after his score.

Again, this was his first time in full participation with the Seahawks since the Super Bowl more 6 1/2 months ago.

“Just doing my job,” Smith said, just about shrugging. “I haven’t seen it yet (on film).

“It’s never as good as it feels.”

This one was.

Smith had the surgery just before the Seahawks’ minicamps in early May. Coach Pete Carroll has said it was to clean up “loose bodies” in Smith’s ankle.

Smith said the injury just sort of “caught me off guard” following the Super Bowl but that his ankle did not bother him at all last season when he had 50 tackles, most in his three years with the Seahawks. The team’s medical staff advised him in April to have the surgery, “and it took me longer than I expected to get back,” he said. “But it’s not easy to get out here playing football.

“I’ve been itching. Coming off a pretty good game (pretty good?) and we do some great stuff in the Super Bowl, it was just a lull for me. A lot of down time. A lot watching. A lot of learning, dealing with my own emotions and stuff every day. So it was good to get out here today and start moving around a little bit.”

As for the fame that accompanied being the unexpected Super Bowl MVP — the trip to Disney World, the new Chevrolet truck that he gave to his mother, Audrey, to customize it; “gun-metal with the black rims,” as he told TMZ about a week after the Super Bowl — Smith said that didn’t change him much.

“My life hasn’t changed. A lot of people care about you a little bit more,” he said. “Other than that, not much.”

So there wasn’t a Malcolm Smith Day back home in Northridge, Calif., home to his older brother Steve, a Super Bowl winner in 2008 with the New York Giants, A Beautiful and Frost/Nixon film producer Brian Grazer, NFL quarterback Matt Cassell, NBA players Jason and Jarron Collins, Major League Baseball pitchers Jeff and Jared Weaver — and, “ayyyyy,” Bob Brunner, the television producer who created “Fonzie” on Happy Days.

“No,” Smith said, smiling, “no Malcolm Smith Day. There are a lot more famous people where I’m from.”

As great as Smith looked in his return today, I would be surprised if he plays much if at all Friday in the third exhibition against Chicago.

–Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson sped past cornerback Phillip Adams and safety Steven Terrell, into the end zone to receive B.J. Daniels’ precise, 40-yard pass in stride — and then 20 yards past the end line onto an empty back field. It was why Seattle used its first pick in May’s draft, in the second round, on the blur who said he once ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash while at Colorado.

“That’s what I’m supposed to do, man. Make plays down field,” Richardson said.

The Seahawks are really high on what Richardson will be able to do — this season perhaps right away as a kickoff returner, and down the road as a big-play wide receiver. Speed, after all, thrills.

–The NFL has announced the formerly eight-man practice squad for the regular season is now 10, effective this season. The league also upped the maximum number of game-weeks spent on a practice squad for that season to count as one of a player’s maximum of three years of practice-squad eligibility, to six games. It used to be three.

There are other permutations to the new rule that, honestly, make my head hurt. But suffice to say that they are now 64 new jobs in the league during the regular season — two additional practice-squad slots for each of 32 teams — and that some Seahawks that weren’t practice-squad eligible before may be now. That may include wide receiver Phil Bates.

And to answer a question here on the blog this morning, yes, Daniels was eligible for the practice squad this season even before this rule change. That’s if he and any other Seahawks clears waivers after the final cut date to 53 men on Aug. 30 — and before the practice squads can be set starting on Aug. 31.

Here are the upcoming cut days:

Aug. 26, 1 p.m. Pacific time: All teams must reduce rosters to a maximum of 75 players on its active roster.

Aug. 30, 1 p.m,. Pacific time: All teams must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on its active roster for the regular season. This is two days after the Seahawks’ final exhibition game, at Oakland. Aug. 30 is also the day teams must designate any players on the physically-unable-to-perform list as either onto the regular-season PUP list, onto injured reserve, waived, having his contract terminated, traded or counted on the active list. The only Seahawk still on a PUP list is linebacker Bruce Irvin, whom coach Pete Carroll said yesterday could begin practicing in the next two weeks.

Aug. 31, 9 a.m. Pacific time: Deadline to claim players placed on league waivers the previous day. Teams can begin to sign now up to 10 free agents to their practice squads at this same hour that day.

Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. Dukeshire says:

    Back are the days when I refresh the page relentlessly until the practice report is posted.

    Really glad to hear Smith looked so good. And Adams seems to be a frequent subject of receivers getting behind him.

  2. ChrisHolmes says:

    If all our LB’s are healthy… this is a scary-deep unit.

  3. ChrisHolmes says:

    I hope Russell is practicing his deep ball, because it sounds like he’s going to have the weapons to take a lot of shots this year.

  4. FleaFlicker says:

    Speaking of players coming back from surgery this summer, I can never get enough of Kam knocking the snot out of Vernon Davis:

  5. RDPoulsbo says:

    I’ve noticed that about Adams as well, and in a Cover-3 shell, that’s really not a good thing. The good thing is the top 3 and probably 4 if you count Simon are set and that 5th guy is not likely to be him with Jefferson and Shead there.

  6. Ahh, Kam. Don’t know how many of you have seen this as it’s from last year, but the tweets from Abdullah (played S for AZ, IIRC) are a thing of beauty:

    “This young man hit this Tight End SO HARD, I swear I saw that TE’s soul leave Qwest Field right on that 35 yard line.”

    Season can’t get here soon enough.

  7. Ray_Maines says:

    Seriously! You don’t want to be standing on the tracks when that train comes rolling out of the tunnel.

  8. oldtallguy says:

    How does this work after the hawks make their roster cuts at 60 and then at 53. Do those players become total free agents and can sign with any team even its to that teams practice squad? Or if they sign with another team they have to be on the signing teams 53 man roster?

  9. Ray_Maines says:

    After a cut down the cut players can be picked up by another team eventually and wind up on the practice squad (assuming they are eligible of course). After a player is on the practice squad, they can be picked up by another team, but only on that teams 53 man roster.

  10. Ray_Maines says:

    That mis-mash paragraph didn’t come out as clear as would have liked, but I think you get the meaning.

  11. GeorgiaHawk says:


    Chuck is pretty good at explaining those kind of things.

    Love me some Smith.

    He has the knack gene. Seems to be in the right place at the right time.

  12. oldtallguy says:

    Say Lockette gets cut Wednesday, can say Dallas sign him immediately to their practice squad?

  13. chuck_easton says:


    Here’s how it works. Any player that is cut on the 26th when the team goes from 90 to 75 goes on waivers. A team can make a waiver claim, and that team must put the player on their remaining 75 man roster.

    If the player goes through waivers unclaimed they are a FA and can sign with anyone.

    The cut from 75 to 53 is slightly different. A team that claims a player off the waivers from this final cut MUST put the player on their 53. You can’t claim a player off of waivers to then stash them on your own PS. Think Justin Forsett when the Hawks thought they were going to slip him onto their PS but the Colts claimed him off waivers and had to put him on their active 53.

    Only after the players cut on final cuts have cleared waivers can teams start to assemble their now 10 man PS. A player that was cut and has cleared waivers is free to sign with any team’s PS not just the team that cut him.

    Once the 10 man PS is set a team still can sign a player off of another team’s PS but they have to immediately put the player on their active 53.

    Does that help?

    And for your Lockette scenario, no, Dallas can’t sign Lockette to their PS if he’s cut on Tuesday the 26th. PS squads can’t be assembled until August 31st after all players cut have cleared waivers.

  14. chuck_easton says:

    And one final piece to the explanation.

    Using Lockette as your example.

    Say Lockette is cut by Seattle on the 26th and a team like Dallas claims him off waivers. Dallas must then carry Lockette on their 75 man roster at least through their final pre-season game on the 28th.

    And now say Dallas decides in that very short 4 days that Lockette really wasn’t what they thought he’d be and they decide to cut him on the 30th when they make their final cuts from 75 to 53.

    Lockette would be on waivers for the second time in 4 days and again could be claimed by any team that wants to immediately put him on their 53 man roster.

    If Lockette cleared waivers the SECOND time he would be free to sign with any team’s PS as of the 31st.

  15. PLUHawkFan says:

    Thank you Chuck,

    Your explanations and understanding of the rules is extremely helpful.


  16. oldtallguy says:

    Thank you Chuck, much appreciated

  17. Ray_Maines says:

    Assuming he’s eligible for the PS at all….

  18. chuck_easton says:


    Yes, still trying to decipher the new tweeks to eligibility.

    In addition to adding two players they modified who could be eligible.

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