RENTON – Wide receiver Ben Obomanu has been here before.
Each season he has been with the Seattle Seahawks, the team’s seventh-round selection in the 2006 draft has had to claw his way on to the final roster.
So why should this year be any different?
“You don’t want to be in the same situation every year,” Obomanu said. “You would hope at some point you can come in and solidify yourself as a person that the team can count on and depend on. But it’s the same situation that I’ve always been in. And I think what helps me a lot is my knowledge that going into the preseason game you just take every opportunity you can.”
Seattle’s current 75-man roster has to be trimmed down to 53 players by Saturday.
Obomanu, 26, finds himself firmly on the bubble again heading into tonight’s final preseason game in Oakland. He has just 15 catches in five years in the league. His versatility has been a blessing and a curse in some respects. Obomanu finished second on the team with 12 tackles on special teams last season, and also returned 11 kickoffs for 293 yards, including a long of 45 yards.
He understands that playing on that important third phase of the game likely will be the determining factor in winning a job with Seattle. Obomanu said he feels pretty good about his performance in training camp and in the first three exhibition games. But after five years in the league, Obomanu also doesn’t want to become labeled as just a special teams guy.
“I feel pretty confident about it,” Obomanu said about making the team. “But at the same time one thing I want to do is also make sure I don’t get that label as just a special teams guy. I think sometimes because of my situation and how draft picks come in and guys get paid big salaries, I automatically get put into that special teams category.
“But one of my goals in this league is to be more than just a special teams player. But for the time being you’ve got to do what you can and work the situation that you’re in.”
Another player fighting for a roster spot is linebacker Tyjuan Hagler, who joined Seattle’s roster three weeks ago. The first week Hagler came in he played a little out of position at middle backer. But now he’s moved to his more comfortable position of outside linebacker with both David Hawthorne (hip) and Leroy Hill (knee) injured and not playing this week.
And Hagler has produced. He’s fourth on the team in tackles with 11 in exhibition play, and also has an interception to his credit.
“I think I’m getting better each and every week, but I don’t think I’m where I want to be in terms of where I left off last year,” Hagler said. “So I need to continue to work. I came in kind of late, so I’m kind of behind. So I have to catch up and just go out there and do my best, really. And then we’ll see what the coaches decide.”
Hagler, 28, has some experience to lean on. At 6-foot, 240 pounds, Hagler’s a six-year veteran who has started 17 games in his career, including the first seven for the Indianapolis Colts before suffering a torn biceps that ended his 2009 season.
The Colts did not bring Hagler back, and he had to wait for the Seahawks to come calling in August. But Hagler said he can’t concern himself with contemplating whether or not he’ll make the final cut.
“I feel like I’m a rookie all over again,” Hagler said. “But I’ve got to go out there with a free mind. ... So I’ll leave everything in God’s hands. I’ve just got to do my best.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 Eric.email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks/
SEATTLE (1-2) AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. at McAfee Coliseum, Oakland. TV: Ch. 5. Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
The series: The Seahawks close out their exhibition schedule against Oakland for the fifth straight year. Seattle is 6-2 all-time against the Raiders in exhibition play. That record includes the Seahawks’ 31-21 win at Qwest Field last year. The Raiders own a 27-23 advantage in regular-season play.
What to watch: The first unit will play very little, if at all, as head coach Pete Carroll looks to give players on the bubble ample opportunity to make the team. ... Injured players expected not to play include OT Russell Okung (ankle), OT Chester Pitts (knee), OT Ray Willis (knee), LB David Hawthorne (hip), LB Leroy Hill (knee), CB Josh Pinkard (knee), DE Nick Reed (knee), DE Kentwan Balmer (knee), TE Chris Baker (hamstring), Aaron Curry (elbow) and TE Anthony McCoy (ankle). ... Third string quarterback J.P. Losman will get his second chance to play after sitting out the previous two exhibition games.
Eric D. Williams, staff writer