RENTON – Is it indicative of the Seattle Seahawks’ disappointing season, or just a byproduct of that despair?
The most interesting news about the team Wednesday involved the fallout from a disagreement between three Seahawks wide receivers and a former player turned broadcast analyst during a radio show.
Such is life for a 5-10 team limping toward the offseason on a skid of being outscored, 106-24, the past three games. At this point, anything – even mild controversy – has to be more entertaining than on-the-field play.
A recap for those who weren’t listening: Wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch appeared of fellow wideout Nate Burleson’s weekly radio show on KJR-AM.
While Branch called out local media and fans, Houshmandzadeh took exception to the criticism of analyst and former NFL quarterback Hugh Millen, whose close friend is Seahawks coach Jim Mora.
“You’re either with us or against us, bottom line,” Branch said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Houshmandzadeh questioned Millen’s postgame evaluations of some players and pass plays, particularly concerning the coverage being played by the Green Bay Packers, while also taking a dig at Millen.
“This is coming from a guy that’s got 22 career touchdowns and 35 interceptions,” Houshmandzadeh said.
Millen called into the program to defend himself and his analysis.
What ensued was 50 minutes of verbal sparring over the radio that sparked plenty of debate, conversation and analysis by fans, media and Seahawks players and coaches alike.
So on Wednesday, the hangover from the strange but entertaining radio segment lingered around the Virginia Mason Athletic Complex.
“I didn’t hear a word that was said,” Mora said. “I’m sure it was good radio, though. I’m sure it boosted ratings. I don’t know if my man Hugh liked it a whole lot when they threw out his career stats. I’m sure it was good radio.”
Good radio to some, painful to others.
Millen attended Seahawks practice Wednesday and talked with Houshmandzadeh for about a half-hour after practice.
“We were just talking about certain plays in the game,” Houshmandzadeh said. “And I saw his point, and told him my point, period. I don’t dislike him because I don’t know him to dislike him. But he told me what he saw with his points and I told him why I did what I did.”
The conversation at the Seahawks training complex wasn’t confrontational or heated. It was just two men who like to talk a lot talking a lot about football.
But Houshmandzadeh wouldn’t make any apologies for what was said.
“My teammates came to me. They came to me so I defended them,” Houshmandzadeh said. “Period. That’s how I am. I don’t like bullies.”
While Houshmandzadeh held court to defend himself and what he said, Branch did not meet with the media. He was out of the locker room early to lift weights.
No matter, Houshmandzadeh said plenty for the both of them, which is common. Houshmandzadeh said he wasn’t surprised when Branch came to him upset about Millen’s comments.
“Guys just come to me, I guess cause they know I don’t mind talking,” Houshmandzadeh said.
And talk he did, on the radio Tuesday and with reporters Wednesday.
Houshmandzadeh also tried to clarify a comment he made on the radio that seemed to be an indirect slap at offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
“We’re just not moving the ball,” Houshmandzadeh said VMAC. “That’s what it boils down to. … I don’t know what it is. I do, but I’m not going to say what I feel about that situation. I don’t think it’s right.”
What the receiver said on the radio was: “When you bring guys together, No. 1, you have to trust the people that are making decisions. You’ve got to trust the people that are calling plays. You’ve got to trust everything that’s going on in order for things to work. If that trust is not there, you’re always going to second-guess things.”
Mora was asked if trust is building with the Seahawks.
“I would hope so,” he said. “I think it takes time to build that and success certainly helps. We’ve struggled to have consistency for a number of reasons. That’s an honest question.”
Knapp thinks there is trust.
“Most definitely,” he said. “A lot of it too is just growth with each other – what do certain guys do well. A lot of times it doesn’t occur until games, when you find out what plays are good with certain players.”
While Houshmandzadeh has been the most outspoken player about the Seahawks’ disappointing season, he knows his statements could lead to criticism.
“I can handle it,” he said. “You can say whatever you want to say about me. I can take it. If I disagree with it, I’m just going to let it be known that I disagree with it.”
Wide receiver Mike Hass went on the injured reserve list with a dislocated shoulder. To fill his roster spot, the Seahawks signed offensive lineman Trevor Canfield from the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad. Canfield was a seventh-round draft pick in 2009 from Cincinnati. … The Seahawks lost cornerback Trae Williams from their practice squad to when he was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. … Wide receiver Nate Burleson will not play on Sunday because of a high ankle sprain, while linebacker Aaron Curry (hip) is doubtful. Running back Julius Jones (rib and foot injury) and cornerback Josh Wilson (hip) both did not practice on Wednesday and are questionable for Sunday. Wide receiver Ben Obomanu practiced on Wednesday and should play on Sunday.
Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483