RENTON – In his first practice as a professional football player, linebacker Aaron Curry didn’t have to meander too far to get a word of encouragement or a nudge in the right direction.
Curry only had to glance to his right or left, where veteran linebackers Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu stood at the ready to offer a few words of sage advice.
But Curry certainly didn’t look out of place on Friday, the first day of the Seattle Seahawks voluntary minicamp, which included veterans, rookie draft picks and free agents.
“He handled it well for his first day,” said coach Jim Mora. “This is always tough on all the rookies, and probably magnified for him because we asked him to move right into a starting role.
“So he’s in there with 10 other guys who have played in the National Football League and have been in this system at least for a number of weeks. I’m sure his head was swimming. I’m sure that he didn’t know exactly what he was doing all the time. But I thought he had a good attitude. He played with good effort. And we’ll get the corrections made that need to get made.”
Tatupu was wowed by the 6-foot-2, 254-pound rookie’s physical skills, but was just as impressed with Curry’s ability to quickly pick up Seattle’s new defensive scheme.
“He’s one of those guys where reps get it for him,” Tatupu said. “Once he does it, he’s got it. It’s pretty amazing.”
Hill, who’s just as new to the team’s new defensive scheme as the Wake Forest rookie, said he kept it simple.
“Just be a professional,”Hill said when asked what advice he offered Curry. “From college to the NFL it’s just a tad bit different, so I can tell him the basics. But the playbook and all of that, I can’t help him just yet. I’m on my own.”
Hill arrived in Seattle just in time to sign a reported six-year, $38 million deal that included $15.5 million guaranteed money. Then he reported to practice.
The 26-year-old linebacker said he was not angry the Seahawks rescinded the franchise tag last week, including the $8.3 million, one-year offer sheet that came with it, noting he had two months to sign the tender.
“They couldn’t carry the tag obviously with the fourth pick,” Hill said. “So it was just a business decision; I wasn’t really mad.”
However, once Seattle made him a free agent, Hill said Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell made it a priority to sign him.
“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.”
Mora said he was pleased to have Hill back on the practice field, and his three talented linebackers finally all together.
“He just picked up right where he left off and fit right back in,” Mora said. “And for not having been here I thought he picked everything up pretty well. There’s certainly some things conditioning-wise he’s got to catch up on, but he’s willing to work at it. And it’s just good to see him out here again.”
It was also a homecoming of sorts for cornerback Ken Lucas, who returned to the Seahawks for the first time since signing a lucrative contract offer with the Carolina Panthers in free agency four years ago.
A salary cap casualty because of his $5 million salary, Lucas was cut by the Panthers. The Seahawks signed him to a one-year, $2.3 million deal to be the team’s starting right cornerback opposite Marcus Trufant.
Lucas said he’s pleased to be back in Seattle and would like to finish his career here, but needs to work himself back into better shape.
“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 in September, participated in seven-on-seven and team drills for the first time and made it through the first practice OK. ... 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 outside linebacker. And Bellarmine Prep product Ben Hannula received an invitation to try out. Hannula played receiver and cornerback at the University of San Diego and graduated in December. ... Former Seahawks quarterback Warren Moon will be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Moon, now part of Seattle’s broadcast team, played six seasons for the Edmonton Eskimos, leading them to five consecutive Grey Cup championships from 1978 to 1982.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437