Local WRs aim to make cut

eric.williams@thenewstribune.comJuly 28, 2013 

RENTON — Wide receivers Justin Veltung and Greg Herd are working hard to make the roster of their hometown team, the Seattle Seahawks.

Veltung, a Puyallup High School graduate and University of Idaho product, joined the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent in May. He’s competing for a job as a slot receiver and kick returner.

Herd, a Steilacoom High grad and Eastern Washington University product, initially signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent in April. But after the Cowboys released him, Herd was signed by Seattle at the end of May.

Herd is playing split end and flanker in Seattle’s West Coast-based system.

“I’ve known Greg and watched him play, so we have a good relationship since we’re from here,” Veltung said. “We’re both out here trying to make the team. We talk to each other and try to help each other out when we can. And we’re both third string, so we’re on the field together a lot. So that’s pretty cool.”

Both have made a few highlight-reel catches during the first few days of training camp. They hope to stick around long enough to earn playing time in Seattle’s exhibition opener Aug. 8 at San Diego.

“It’s going pretty well,” Herd said. “The biggest part was getting the mental part of it down with the playbook. It’s getting a lot easier on the field, so I’m enjoying it.”

Herd, who lives in Tacoma, said he traveled to team headquarters before training camp to watch all of his videos from offseason work and see where he needed to improve.

Seattle’s top receiver from last season, Sidney Rice, also has been a steadying influence for Herd.

“He’s been a big mentor for me so far,” Herd said. “Not even me asking him stuff, but him telling me stuff that he sees. He’s paying attention to stuff that I’m doing, and he’s been a big help so far these first three days.”

“He’s got a great work ethic,” Rice said about Herd. “Running down the field, I try to coach up all the guys as much as possible. I want us to be the best receiving core that we can be, no matter who is out there. And I think Greg has a lot of talent. He listens well and doesn’t make the same mistake twice.”

Veltung said regular advice from veterans such as Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate has eased the transition.

“We’re all out here fighting for a job, but they’re still out here trying to make you the best player, even though you might take their job,” Veltung said. “It’s more like a big family out here trying to be the best team in the nation.”

HAWKS CLAIM SCHOFIELD

The Seahawks announced Saturday that they claimed outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield off waivers after his release from Arizona.

The Cardinals’ fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2010, Schofield had trouble staying healthy at Arizona, playing in 35 games in three seasons.

At 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds, the 26-year-old Schofield projects as a “Leo” defensive end or outside linebacker for the Seahawks, bolstering their pass-rush depth at that position.

In nine starts last season, Schofield had 34 tackles and four sacks.

Seattle cut offensive lineman Jake Bscherer to make room for Schofield on the 90-man roster.

Schofield is the cousin of former Seahawks receiver Bobby Engram.

INJURY UPDATE

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said tight end Zach Miller is close to returning from a foot issue that has him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to begin camp.

With Miller out, Sean McGrath, Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet are taking advantage of the extra reps at tight end.

Carroll said Miller returning for the regular-season opener is not a concern at this point.

Fullback Michael Robinson has not practiced the past two days because of ankle soreness, Carroll said. With Robinson out, Derrick Coleman and Spencer Ware have split time at fullback.

Linebacker Heath Farwell has not practiced the past two days because of back spasms. Rice has sat out of team drills the past two days as more of a maintenance issue.

Rookie defensive end Jesse Williams tweaked his knee Friday, according to Carroll, and did not practice Saturday. But Carroll said Williams’ injury is not serious.

Linebacker Korey Toomer jammed his hip working out on his own, which is the reason he’s on the non-football injury list, Carroll said.

Carroll also talked about rookie fifth-round pick Tharold Simon, who’s on the PUP list because of a foot issue that carried over from his time at LSU.

“It’s one where he’s played with it before, and we’re just trying to get him past the point where it will reoccur,” Carroll said. “So we’re being very careful, and he’s working out hard. He’s not on the ground running yet. We’re doing all of the equipment upstairs to keep him non-weight bearing. But we just have to be patient with it.”

Along with Miller and Simon, defensive end Chris Clemons (knee), defensive tackle Greg Scruggs (knee), running back Robert Turbin (foot) and receiver Percy Harvin (hip) remain on the PUP list.

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams

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