RENTON — With several players from the Seattle Seahawks’ 2012 draft class emerging as starters or significant contributors in their rookie season, fourth-round selection Jaye Howard was one of the few disappointments.
The University of Florida product made the roster, but was active for only two games last season, playing a total of 22 defensive plays.
But Howard used his underwhelming performance in 2012 as motivation, staying in Seattle during the offseason to prepare for his second NFL season.
“I made up my mind after the playoff game against the Falcons that I wasn’t going anywhere,” Howard said. “I’ve got to play next year. I put that in my mind. And every day I worked out, I thought about not playing, and not being active. So I was like, ‘I’m going to be active this year.’ ”
The results have been good so far for Howard. He put on 15 pounds of muscle, up to 305 pounds for the 6-foot-3 Howard.
And he’s learning a new position. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has Howard backing up Red Bryant at strongside defensive end, along with competing for the starting defensive tackle job left open by the departure of Alan Branch in free agency.
“I’ve been watching Big Red’s film every day, and I’m trying to play like him,” Howard said. “He’s physical at the point of the attack, and I’m just trying to add that to my game. I’ve become more of a student of the game.”
“That’s a spot we felt that he could compete at,” Seattle defensive line coach Travis Jones said about Howard playing defensive end. “He’s got a really strong upper body and really strong hands. He understands how to strike and knock people back. He’s made some good progress. I’m really pleased with the way he’s started with the position.”
Howard also has been helped by Quinn returning to Seattle. Quinn coached Howard for a season while serving as the defensive coordinator at Florida, so he understands how to best use his skill set.
“The schemes that we run here now are the same schemes we ran at Florida,” Howard said. “I also played D-end at Florida when he was there, so it’s kind of helping the transition. He’s on me every day, pushing me to get the best out of me. And he’s a person who knows how to get the best out of me.”
Added Quinn: “He does have some good initial quickness. And so for a guy that has that for a 300-pounder, now he’s able to use that to beat an offensive lineman. So for us it’s keeping that size good, staying with that initial quickness and recognizing the brand of style of the type of player he can be.”
PUYALLUP GRAD RELEASED
The Seahawks announced Sunday the signing of running back Ray Holley, who will wear No. 30.
Puyallup High graduate Justin Veltung, a receiver out of the University of Idaho, was released to make room for Holley.
Holley, a Louisiana Tech product, initially signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in April with Baltimore, but was released by the Ravens on May 5.
At 5-8 and 194 pounds, Holley finished 2012 with 142 carries for 740 yards and seven touchdowns, including an 83-yard run. Holley averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Holley ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds at his pro day.
The six players on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list remain the same: Zach Miller (foot), Greg Scruggs (knee), Tharold Simon (foot), Robert Turbin (foot), Chris Clemons (knee) and Percy Harvin (hip). Harvin did not attend practice Sunday while he makes his way to New York for a second opinion on his injured hip. Linebacker Korey Toomer remains on the non-football injury list with a hip issue. Fullback Michael Robinson returned to practice after missing two days with a sore ankle. Linebacker Heath Farwell (back), defensive end Cliff Avril (foot), tackle Michael Bowie (unknown) and defensive tackle Jesse Williams (knee) did not practice. Undrafted rookie free agent defensive end Kenneth Boatright switched numbers from No. 93 to No. 47. New linebacker O’Brien Schofield will wear No. 93. The players will have Monday off then return for the team’s first fully padded practice Tuesday.blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks