RENTON — Cornerback Antoine Winfield, 36 years young, cast reason aside in choosing a young Seattle team known for its swagger over the familiar surroundings of Minnesota in free agency.
But Winfield had a good reason for his decision — the belief that he could win a Super Bowl with the Seahawks.
“We have a young team,” Winfield said. “It kind of reminds me of a college atmosphere. Guys are loose, it’s very competitive and we’re working hard trying to get each other better, so when we go out on Sundays it makes it a lot easier.”
Entering his 15th season, Winfield understands he has to make the final roster first. He signed a one-year, $3 million deal in free agency — including $1 million in guaranteed money — with the expectation that he would serve as the team’s slot defender in passing situations.
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However, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider explained to Winfield that he would have competition – notably fourth-year pro Walter Thurmond, who finally looks healthy.
“We’re teammates,” Winfield said, when asked about the competition with Thurmond. “I love it. He’s a heck of a player. He goes out, he works hard. He’s been making plays. He’s had a great camp. And may the best man win.”
Thurmond has respect for Winfield as well.
“He has a lot of knowledge,” Thurmond said about Winfield. “He’s one of the gurus of the inside slot. He’s very physical, and he’s seen a lot of football. And I just watch him out there as he’s making the plays, and try to learn from that.”
Winfield had a sore knee last week, which kept him out of the Green Bay game, but he’s back at practice and expected to play in Seattle’s final exhibition game against Oakland on Thursday.
One player Winfield looked forward to playing with when he arrived in Seattle was Richard Sherman.
The two regularly talk coverage schemes at practice, with Winfield sharing his wealth of experience with the younger Sherman.
“He came in and fit right in,” Sherman said. “He likes to play man up, he likes to get in the face of the receivers and I think he does a great job in the slot.
“He has a great feel for route concepts and jumping routes and jumping underneath stuff, and he comes downhill and makes a lot of good tackles so I think he’s fitting well in what we like to do out there.”
And in turn, Winfield benefits from the energy Sherman exudes.
“Watching him from afar, you all know he was a guy who didn’t hold his words back,” Winfield said, smiling. “He pretty much spoke freely. But he’s a guy who’s very confident. He had a heck of a year last season. He made plays all over the field.
“But just getting to know him the last five months, he’s a great teammate. A guy who comes to work each day, and still is working on his craft. He wants to be the best.
“A lot of people just don’t take him serious because anything can come out of that mouth. But the guy works hard. You see it each day. He plays hard, and it shows up on Sundays.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants what Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra earned in the NBA — championship rings.
A native of Portland, Ore., Spoelstra spent Tuesday at the Seahawks’ team headquarters. He attended practice and spoke with the full team.
Wilson spent time with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen at the ESPYS, so he understands the hard work that went into the Heat winning back-to-back titles.
And for a team that finished seconds away from advancing to the NFC championship game, what should be taken from Spoelstra’s talk is clear according to Wilson — players have to be willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team.
“I think the biggest thing that correlates with us and the Miami Heat is the way we practice and the way we go about our business,” Wilson said. “We can’t compare ourselves to them yet, we haven’t done anything yet, and they’ve done a great job of winning the whole thing.
“That’s what we want to learn from them, how they got there through all of the things that are going on. With all of the positive things that have been said, all of the negative things that have been said, how do you continue to focus on the work ethic part of it, the sacrifice of it all. That’s what he was talking about today.”
As expected, the Seahawks made a couple roster moves to get down to 75 players by the league’s Tuesday afternoon deadline.
Seattle placed receiver Percy Harvin (hip), rookie cornerback Tharold Simon (foot) and defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (knee) on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. All three players began training camp on the active PUP list.
Under the new rules, a player on the PUP list has to sit out the first six games of the season.
After that, the team has a five-week window to get the player back on the practice field. Once the player begins practicing, the Seahawks have 21 days to add him to the active roster or miss the rest of the season. So the player could be added to Seattle’s roster as late as Week 15.
Defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) remains on the active PUP list, which means there’s still a chance he begins the season on the active roster.
Seattle also placed linebacker Korey Toomer (hip) on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org @eric_d_williamsblog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks