In Pete Carroll’s world, Seahawks practice days have themes. There’s “Tell the Truth Monday.” And “Competition Wednesday” plus “Turnover Thursday.”
This, then, was “Too Good Tuesday.”
Or, at a minimum, “Far Better Than Last Tuesday.”
Before practice — and the morning — was finished the team was already emboldened. Emboldened enough to refute as “bogus” Monday’s allegations linking star running back Marshawn Lynch to an assault early Sunday in Bellevue. The Seattle suburb’s police department is investigating the allegation.
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Minutes later Kam Chancellor, Seattle’s Pro Bowl safety from 2012, the hard-hitting enforcer of what is considered to be the NFL’s most aggressive and perhaps best secondary, did his first full, team scrimmaging since his hip surgery in April. Team owner Paul Allen was on the sidelines watching that.
“Yeah, back out there. And it felt good,” Chancellor said, smiling.
Asked if he now was back to normal, the fifth-year safety who signed a $29.3 million, five-year contract last year said, “It’s getting there. We’ve still got a little more time, but everything’s starting to look good. I feel good.”
Across the line of scrimmage, the offense welcomed starting left tackle Russell Okung into his first full-go team work since he had surgery this spring on his toe and left foot. Left guard James Carpenter (calf) and center Max Unger (groin injury since last Tuesday) were with Okung on the first-team offense for all of practice. Tuesday was the first time since the Super Bowl in February that Seattle’s starting offensive line was intact.
That includes right guard J.R. Sweezy and rookie second-round draft choice Justin Britt. Britt continues to stay ahead of recently acquired veteran Eric Winston as the starting right tackle.
So it’s back to full practice participation for the starting offensive line, the unit that in makeshift form got ransacked by rampaging Broncos early in last week’s exhibition debut. It looked Tuesday like the top five blockers may start Friday against San Diego; if not then, very likely next week in the third exhibition game at home against Chicago.
Even Tuesday’s lone, ominous event in Seahawks Land had a happy ending: Percy Harvin, the wide receiver who played in only one regular-season game of his 2013 Seattle debut season because of injury, got tangled with a defensive back going for a pass in the middle of the damp field. He limped off into the locker room with a trainer next to him, and for a moment one of the Seahawks’ fears for 2014 was flashing towards reality.
But 20 minutes later, Harvin jogged back onto the field. He then sprinted freely down the right sideline on the final play of practice. Carroll said Harvin merely got stepped on and “scraped up pretty good” on the back of his heel.
A few minutes after he said that, the coach was standing under an orange beverage bucket and accepting the social-media phenomenon that is the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Former Washington Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian, now the coach at USC where he was once Carroll’s offensive coordinator, issued the challenge to his mentor via Twitter Monday.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and tight end Zach Miller stood poised to do the dumping.
“Let me have it, boys,” Carroll said.
His players obliged.
“I extend my challenge. I want to keep it in close, to the NFC West’s coaches,” the drenched, chilled Carroll said, after taking a minute to shiver and exhale. “To Bruce Arians (of Arizona), Jeff Fisher (at St. Louis) and Jim Harbaugh (who doesn’t need any more challenges from Carroll to motivate him in San Francisco), I challenge you to go through the Ice Bucket Challenge yourself.”
Lynch again looked relatively effortless running the ball and going downfield to catch passes. These last two practices have been his most extensive work since he reported late to camp on July 31 following a contract holdout. Carroll said as he did Sunday, that Lynch looks “very good.”
The team thought the same thing of Lynch’s off-the-field situation.
The Seahawks statement on the assault allegation, in its entirety: “While we maintain the utmost respect for the investigative process, after speaking with Marshawn, we are comfortable these accusations are bogus.”
The term “bogus” was unusual for being unequivocal; professional teams usually temper or outright neuter their language and defer entirely to police investigations of players. This statement connotes the team has what it sees as irrefutable evidence that Lynch did not commit the alleged assault in a Bellevue apartment at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, as the Bellevue Police Department detailed in its statement Monday of the allegation.
The Seahawks are one of many NFL teams that have its training camps at their in-season headquarters and during camp, house their players in nearby team hotels. The Seahawks are still in the training-camp portion of their preseason through this week. That means all players, Lynch included, were required Saturday night into Sunday morning to be in their rooms of the team hotel by an appointed curfew/bed-check time each night.
And to stay there. NFL teams post security personnel to sit at the ends of the floors of their hotels after bed checks. So if anyone would leave or enter those floors during those overnight hours a team would — or at least should — know about it.
Only a team that feels certain a player was in its hotel during the time of an alleged crime would issue a statement such as the Seahawks’.
That’s likely why Carroll had nothing to say about the allegation against Lynch following practice, other than this: “I’m just going along with the statement that we made for right now.”
Asked what he’s told his team about the investigation, Carroll said abruptly: “It’s not a topic for us. We’re not talking about it.”
Besides, there was much else to get to on his “Too Good Tuesday.”