Tharold Simon looked taller than 6-foot-3 while leaping and lunging to the far sideline. As he snared another interception, the cornerback’s latest eye-catching play this summer, his Seahawks defensive teammates went bonkers.
None more than Richard Sherman. Of course.
The Hawk That Roars had been watching the play during practice on Tuesday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center from beyond the opposite sideline. He was out with fellow starters while Simon and the second-teamers got some reps. Upon his protégé’s interception, the helmet-less Sherman raced across the field.
Simon leaped to meet the sprinting, airborne Sherman for a celebratory chest bump before returning to the huddle.
The sequence told as much about Simon as it did Sherman — specifically, the reason the All-Pro cornerback is such a huge part of the Super Bowl-champion team Simon is trying to join.
Don’t just take our word for it; it’s what Simon says.
“Sherman is always like that,” said Seattle’s fifth-round draft choice last year out of LSU, who missed all of 2013 following foot surgery. “And it’s not just with me. He’s like that with everybody. A safety, a corner. If it’s a linebacker, Sherman’s running off to somebody who makes a play. That’s just the kind of person he is.
“That’s telling me that’s a great guy, a great person who is happy when other guys make plays,” Simon said. “He’s not just all about himself, as some people think. I mean, every time I see someone make a play Sherman is out there chest-bumping, jumping at that. He’s happy.
“It’s a blast being out there.”
Simon hopes that blast continues Thursday night in the Seahawks’ first preseason game, a Super Bowl rematch against the Broncos in Denver. The offseason departures of cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond as free agents have opportunity knocking — no, pounding — for Simon to be a primary backup behind Sherman and Byron Maxwell this season.
Now that’s he’s past the two foot injuries that left him on injured reserve last fall and winter, Simon is showing off the attributes that made coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider draft him: tree-branch arms measuring 32¾ inches in length; size at north of 200 pounds; 4.47 speed at his LSU pro day last year; and a smoothness to his breaks on the ball.
That’s what the Seahawks need at what is the toughest position to play in the NFL, along with quarterback. And that was before the league’s emphasis on how defensive backs contact receivers this season.
“Tharold is a very disciplined, fantastic corner,” Sherman, who is also 6-3, said. “Tharold has done a great job being consistent day in and day out with his technique.
“He is obviously a lengthy corner. You know how John and Pete like them.”
OKUNG, CHANCELLOR UPDATE
The most noteworthy sights of the training camp’s 10th practice: Left tackle Russell Okung (toe) and safety Kam Chancellor (hip) practicing more and watching less following offseason surgeries.
On Monday, they didn’t do a ton — mostly individual-position and group work, and nothing in team scrimmaging. But getting almost 10 percent of its starting 22 returning from surgery and doing more on the field than just watching teammates is a positive for Seattle for its regular-season opener Sept. 4 against Green Bay.