Renton – The first day of training camp had Jim Mora in full crisis mode.
The Seahawks’ new head coach said goodbye to the team’s starting left guard from last season, as Mike Wahle failed his physical and the team released him Friday.
Rookie draft pick Aaron Curry, the No. 4 overall selection, still has not come to a financial agreement with the team and is missing precious practice time as Seattle begins preparation for the regular season.
And the team’s shutdown corner, Marcus Trufant, was put on the physically unable to perform list with a sore back.
However, even with the opening day stress, Mora remained calm. And after a ragged first day of practice, Mora said his team is ready to move forward.
“All in all it was a good day for us,” Mora said. “It was exciting to get going. It’s a great atmosphere here. It’s fun to see people on the water with their 12th man flags. And I think our team is excited about our season.”
Mora said negotiations are continuing between the team and Curry, but that the team would like him in camp working with the defense, and that the rookie linebacker is missing time gelling with the rest of the defensive unit.
“It hurts – those repetitions that you can’t make up,” Mora said. “But fortunately Aaron had a very, very productive offseason. Got a lot of good work in. He’s a smart young man. It’s important for him to be here as soon as possible. And like I said, I just have confidence that something will get done.”
Curry is in town, moving to the Seattle area this week with fiancée Jamila and his two dogs, Layla and Ali, but is waiting for an agreement before reporting to camp.
Three of the top seven first-round picks remain unsigned.
Seattle’s anchor at offensive tackle, 35-year-old Walter Jones, was one of the few bright spots on Friday, looking like his old self during individual drills. Mora said the team will slowly work Jones in, but the veteran lineman who had knee surgery in the offseason said he felt good being back on the field.
“It’s just a slow process,” Jones said. “But for the first day I felt good. I’ve been doing rehab ever since the surgery, so just to be out there with the guys, moving around to see how it felt, it felt great.”
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck acknowledged the team looked a bit off in the first day on the practice field, but he said he expects things to pick up as the week goes on.
“Day one was OK, but it wasn’t good enough,” he said. “Coach Mora let us know it definitely wasn’t good enough, and we’re aware of it.
“It’s understandable why everything wasn’t as smooth as it needed to be. Today was not up to the standard that we set; we didn’t hit it today. We’ll hit it again tomorrow, and we have two chances to improve.”
The Seahawks even had their first training camp fight Friday, as offensive tackle Ray Willis, known for his testy nature, got into it with defensive tackle Lawrence Jackson, which came as no surprise to Mora.
“You know, I don’t like fights at practice,” Mora said about the incident. “But I realize that they’re going to happen on occasion. I predicted to the team today that Ray Willis would certainly be in the first fight. I just didn’t know it would be the first day.”
Mora said Trufant tweaked his back throwing the ball around a few days ago, and the team was taking a conservative approach to the injury. Trufant also missed a couple of days of practice during offseason workouts with a sore hamstring.
His listing on the PUP list raised a few eyebrows, considering Hasselbeck’s bulging disk from last season was thought to be just back soreness in the first days of training camp last season.
“We want to be cautious with backs, given our history,” Mora said. “And so when Marcus is ready to go, then he’ll be back out there. But it doesn’t appear to be anything serious, other than just sore.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437