Leroy Hill in trouble on eve of minicamp
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; Staff writer
Just three months into their tenure as head coach and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll and John Schneider face some adversity.
And the cause of their consternation is linebacker Leroy Hill, who for the second time in a little over a year is in legal trouble. Hill was arrested over the weekend for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.
According to the Issaquah Police Department, police were called to Hill’s home on Saturday at 11:54 p.m. after receiving a report of a domestic dispute. Officers determined there had been a dispute between Hill and his girlfriend, who lives with him at the residence.
According to the report, Hill’s girlfriend had obvious marks and injuries indicating an assault had taken place. She alleged that Hill caused the injuries, and officers took Hill into custody without incident, booking him into jail on a fourth degree assault charge.
Hill posted bail and was out of jail on Monday.
This is Hill’s second brush with the law, just 10 days after he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and received 12 months probation in Douglas County Superior Court in suburban Atlanta. The charge stemmed from a Jan. 24, 2009 incident that occurred early on a Saturday morning where police found the Seahawks linebacker passed out behind the wheel at a major intersection in suburban Atlanta. Officers found less than one ounce of marijuana in Hill’s vehicle.
Hill already faced the possibility of suspension from the league for his actions a year ago. However, now that he has violated the terms of probation, he could face further legal action in Georgia.
Hill, 27, signed a six-year, $38 million deal with Seattle soon after the team removed a franchise tag after last year’s draft. However, with this being a capless year, Seattle could cut ties with Hill without suffering too much damage to the team’s payroll.
Schneider said through a prepared statement that the team is waiting for more information before taking action.
“While we are still in the process of gathering information, we are aware of the situation involving Leroy Hill and take these issues very seriously,” Schneider said. “We will wait to receive all the facts before commenting further.”
Carroll readies for veteran camp
In his first on-field action as Seahawks coach, Carroll gets his first opportunity to practice what he preaches this afternoon, as his team takes the field for a voluntary, veteran minicamp at the team’s Renton headquarters. New head coaches in the NFL get two extra minicamps to help install their news systems and get familiar with the players.
“This program is about competition,” Carroll said during his introductory press conference in January. “We’ll see, in all aspects of the work that we do, that we will be in a relentless pursuit of the competitive edge in everything we’re doing, from the front office to the administration to all of the personnel aspects, to all the work with our players, to the offseason work. We’re going to compete like crazy, like maybe you’ve never seen.”
Carroll’s focus during his first months on the job has been to create a competitive environment where all starting positions are up for grabs. That was evident in the team’s move to trade for San Diego restricted free agent quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, signing him to a two-year, $8 million deal with the expectation that he will push veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for the starting quarterback job.
How Whitehurst performs while taking his first practice snaps for Seattle will be one of the many storylines to watch for this week.
Another is the future of cornerstone offensive tackle Walter Jones. The 36-year-old Jones had hinted that he would be walking away from the game a few months ago, but no official word has come from the team.
The Seahawks already made a decision on another high-priced veteran, recently releasing 31-year-old safety Deon Grant, who signed with the New York Giants. Other veterans who could suffer the same fate include 33-year-old defensive end Patrick Kerney, who’s due to make $5.16 million in base salary in 2010, and 30-year-old receiver Deion Branch, set to make $5.47 this season.
With Grant gone, Seattle has only two safeties on the active roster. The Seahawks also have holes to fill along the defensive and offensive lines, wide receiver and running back, so this week will provide a good opportunity for Carroll and Schneider to evaluate Seattle’s needs before the draft on April 22.
The Seahawks also are giving underachieving receivers Reggie Williams and Mike Williams opportunities to revive their careers via tryouts this week. Mike Williams played for Carroll at USC, but had trouble controlling his weight and has been out of the league for two years. Reggie Williams, a former University of Washington and Lakes High product, sat out the 2009 season after two drug charges during the offseason a year ago.
Another story line worth following is Seattle’s continued pursuit of Denver wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The 26-year-old visited Seattle over a month ago, and no other team has showed a clear interest in his services. The Seahawks have until Thursday to sign Marshall to an offer sheet, which would require Seattle to give up the team’s No. 6 overall pick as compensation to the Broncos. The Broncos maintain that they will accept nothing less than a first-round pick.
However, with no other team showing interest, the more likely scenario will be for Seattle to let the deadline pass and wait until closer to the draft to negotiate a deal with the Broncos. Seattle can point to talented receivers like Anquan Boldin, who was traded to Baltimore along with a fifth-round draft choice for third- and fourth-round picks; and Santonio Holmes, who was traded to the New York Jets from Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick, as reasons for not giving up a first rounder and being patient.
The Seahawks gave up a first round choice to New England in 2007 for Branch and never received the production they expected.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437