When Sidney Rice retired from the NFL on July 23, some thought the Seattle Seahawks’ next-tallest receiver, Chris Matthews — who, at 6-foot-5, is an inch taller than Rice — would step in to fill the void.
But Matthews has been largely out of the picture while fellow wide receivers Phillip Bates, Ricardo Lockette, Bryan Walters and Kevin Smith solidify themselves into the mix.
That is until Tuesday’s practice, where Matthews finally showed what his size and athleticism can do for the Seahawks’ offense.
Matthews’ leaping catch over starting cornerback Byron Maxwell flashed his ability to grab contested balls in the air — a battle the team’s smaller wideouts might not always win. He also caught a touchdown in the red zone from quarterback Russell Wilson.
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“It was something I was brought here to do, definitely,” said Matthews, who was signed by Seattle as a free agent in February after two seasons with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. “I’m trying to pick up on the little nuances of the game with the receivers and how the (defensive backs) play. I’m slowly but surely trying to figure it out.”
When Rice left he took with him two valuable traits as a wide receiver: his exceptional catch radius and an ability to reel in high or low passes that a lot of other players couldn’t. Matthews understands that he won’t be the next ‘Sidney Rice’; instead, he hopes to establish his own identity using his particular skills.
“I’m trying to make a name for myself,” Matthews said. “Sidney Rice is a great player — it’s going to take a lot to fill his shoes. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to play my game and do the best that I can.”
As for the competition for a roster spot, Matthews doesn’t feel there is any.
“I don’t have any thoughts on (the competition) because we all don’t even see it as a competition,” He said. “We go into meetings all the time having a good time and studying and picking up on the plays and stuff like that. We’re all helping each other. There’s nobody else being like, ‘I’m about to beat you out, I don’t want to talk to you.’ It’s not like that at all.”
LYNCH TAKES REPS ON OFFENSE
Marshawn Lynch was more involved than usual at Tuesday’s practice. Lynch carried the ball during individual and team drills, showing excellent burst and explosiveness.
He also caught passes on swing routes.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll spoke Monday about Lynch’s conditioning level.
“He missed a lot of offseason with us,” Carroll said. “He had a really diligent routine that he went through and regimen that he went through. But it’s still football shape that he has to get in.”
FEDERAL WAY’S PULU RETURNS TO THE SEAHAWKS
On Monday, the Seahawks re-signed defensive tackle Andru Pulu, a Federal Way native who was waived after organized team activities minicamp.
Pulu was originally signed as an undrafted free agent after the May draft. He played football at the University of Washington before being dismissed following an assault charge. He then transferred to Eastern Washington.
“I watched this team growing up so it’s like a dream come true,” Pulu said. “I just want to contribute where I can. I’m just trying to get in where I can fit in.”