RENTON – After weeks of speculation, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll finally confirmed that his veteran defensive end, Chris Clemons, is rankled over the lack of a contract extension heading into the final year of his deal.
Carroll said he talked with Clemons last week and expected the 30-year-old to show up for the mandatory minicamp that began Tuesday.
However, Clemons was an unexcused no-show.
“In communication with Chris, I thought he was coming,” Carroll said. “So this was kind of a late development that he’s not. I’m a little bit surprised that he’s not here.”
According to the new collective bargaining agreement, Clemons can be docked as much as $10,000 for the first day of minicamp he misses, up to $20,000 for the second day and as much as $30,000 for the final day.
That’s $60,000 Clemons can be fined for missing all three days of camp. It’s up to the team whether he is fined.
Agent Donal Henderson had not returned repeated calls or messages left regarding his client.
Clemons, who turns 31 on Oct. 30, is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $4 million in base salary in 2012. He led Seattle in sacks the past two seasons, with 11 sacks each year.
However, the Seahawks drafted defensive end Bruce Irvin at No. 15 overall in April to serve as Clemons’ eventual replacement.
“We’ve had open communications with the agent and with Chris,” Carroll said. “And we feel like everything’s been on the up-and-up and very amicable and all that. So it continues to be one of our priorities and we’d love to get him back. But it doesn’t look like he’s going to show up for the rest of the camp.
“He’s got another year on his contract, so we’re talking about future potential stuff. That’s something we’ve had our eye on for some time with him. He’s done a very good job for us for the first couple years with us, and we’re real pleased with his play and his work habits.”
With Clemons out, Irvin continues to get the majority of the reps at defensive end with the first unit. Carroll doesn’t know if Clemons’ holdout will linger into training camp, but Irvin is benefitting from having the extra reps at camp.
Carroll believes the West Virginia product could be ready to step into the role as the team’s starting defensive end if need be.
“We grabbed him to do that,” Carroll said. “We didn’t grab him to be a specialty pass-rusher. We grabbed him to play, and it’s up to him to see how far he takes it in the competition of it. So if Clem was hurt, he’d go.”
Carroll had high praise for incumbent starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on the way he threw the ball during practice Tuesday, adding that he played with confidence.
Jackson mostly worked with the first unit. Matt Flynn’s turn to work with the first unit comes today, as Carroll continues to rotate those two and rookie Russell Wilson with the starters.
“He’s doing very well,” Carroll said about Jackson. “He looks really healthy and strong, and very confident in what we’re doing. And he’s making it hard on these guys.”
Jackson said he’s not concerned with how the reps have been divided up and just wants to take advantage of his opportunities when he gets them.
Jackson also said the situation he went through in Minnesota with Brett Favre helped prepare him in dealing with the quarterback competition here in Seattle.
“It’s helped me out a whole lot,” Jackson said. “It’s a different situation. But it helped me to be able to kind of let things play out the way they’re going to play out, because when it really comes down to it, those guys upstairs are going to make the decision. It’s kind of out of my hands regardless. The only thing I can control is how I play and how I perform.”
Sidney Rice said the sooner Carroll makes a decision and establishes who will be the starter, the better off the team will be.
“It doesn’t matter who is back there,” Rice said. “I’m confident in all three of the guys that we have – Russell, Tarvaris and Matt. So we’ll see how it goes. The coaches are going to make that decision, and hopefully it’s early in training camp. That would be fair to the rest of the team to know who our leader is going to be. So, we look forward to that.
“I feel like when you’ve got goals set like we have, you need to know who’s going to be controlling the offense. So we’ll see what happens.”
Carroll said receiver Golden Tate has a slight crack in his right hand but should be ready for training camp. Carroll said that if there were a game this week, Tate could play. … Carroll said receiver Mike Williams (ankle) and linebacker Barrett Ruud (groin, knee and shoulder) also are close to returning and that both should be full-go when training camp begins in late July. … Defensive back Roy Lewis continues to play some safety, giving former University of Washington player some versatility. Lewis also can play cornerback, but his main position is as a nickel back inside on the slot receiver. … Former Husky Jermaine Kearse wore a boot on his left foot and did not practice. Others who sat out were Walter Thurmond, Chris Maragos, Malcolm Smith, Tate, Williams and Ruud. Thurmond is walking, putting pressure on his broken leg and moving around without a scooter. Clemons was the only person on the 90-man roster who was not accounted for on the firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8437 blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams