Renton – After two weeks of playing mostly on special teams, plus a handful of plays on defense, veteran safety Lawyer Milloy could see a significant increase in playing time on the defensive side of the ball.
Part of that may be out of necessity. With Josh Wilson suffering a high-ankle sprain against San Francisco and likely out for a month, the Seahawks are down to three healthy cornerbacks. That means starting safety Jordan Babineaux could be needed to fill in at corner in passing situations, with Milloy subbing for Babineaux at safety.
It’s not the way Milloy would like to get on the field, but he understands that’s the nature of the game.
“I don’t sit around waiting for injuries to happen,” the 35-year-old veteran said. “I’m better than that. When I’m on the field, no matter if it’s practice or in the game, it’s second nature. That’s what I do. And that’s what good teams do. When injuries happen, the next guy steps in and does his best. And my situation is no different.”
In the twilight of his football playing career, the 14-year player has won a Super Bowl ring with New England and started for most of his time in the NFL. But during the offseason, Milloy sat around waiting for the right offer after the Atlanta Falcons did not offer him a deal when his contract expired at the end of the 2008 season.
He almost signed with Detroit just before the regular season started but instead accepted a one-year deal with Seattle after the team released projected starting free safety Brian Russell, who was beaten out by Babineaux for the starting job.
Milloy understood when he accepted the Seahawks’ offer that he would have to play special teams. He had not played special teams since the early stages of his career in New England. Milloy has developed a new-found respect for special-teams players, and said he had a few jitters lining up on the kickoff unit for the first time in a Seattle uniform.
“I went out there and played fundamental football – go knock somebody down and that’s it,” he said. “And then you just go get ready for your number to get called for defense.”
The Tacoma native said he was willing to do special teams in order to stay home and play near his hometown for the first time in his career.
“The No. 1 reason why I wanted to play here is to have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family,” Milloy said. “I like that also, but I think my friends and family want to see me on the field.
“And I just tell them like I’m telling you – I’m being patient just like everybody else. It might not ever happen. But I’m still playing football. I’m still doing the thing I love to do, and how many people can say that? And I am at home. And I’ll do whatever it takes, whether it’s special teams or whatever to help this team win and accomplish the ultimate team goal.”
Seahawks coach Jim Mora, who also coached Milloy while he was in Atlanta, is looking for ways to get the veteran defensive back involved.
“We’re trying to find ways to get Lawyer on the field,” Mora said. “Lawyer’s a good football player. We like him. He’s really coming along. We’re trying to find ways, just like we do with all our players.
“One of the things you’d like to do is get everyone involved, have a package for everyone. So we’re trying to find things for Lawyer to do.”
If Milloy’s number is called on Sunday, don’t expect him to be nervous.
“I don’t get anxious,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 14 years, dude. I was anxious walking into this locker room for the first time, but once you put on the pads and whatever – it’s football.”
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (rib) did not practice for a second straight day. Justin Griffith (knee) and Lofa Tatupu (hamstring) also did not practice. Leroy Hill (groin), Sean Locklear (ankle) and Josh Wilson (ankle) are out. Ken Lucas (groin) and Brandon Mebane (calf) were limited participants in practice. And Deion Branch (hamstring), Travis Fisher (hamstring), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (back), Walter Jones (knee) and Chris Spencer (quad) fully participated in practice.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437