He’s still just 25. He’s only entering his fourth NFL season.
But, man is Jermaine Kearse all grown up now as a Seahawk.
The native of Lakewood, former Lakes High School star and University of Washington wide receiver through the winter of 2011 got married this summer to Marisa Ventura.
“Nope. Not any different so far,” he said following Friday’s training camp practice of married life compared to dating life. “It’s going well.”
He and his bride are going to take their honeymoon following this season, since they got married with little time for that before this camp.
Kearse has also become a teacher — to two fellow former Huskies wide receivers. Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith are openly talking about how they regard Kearse as a role model, literally. Each is trying to do what Kearse did in 2012: make the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent.
Williams is also trying to come back from a broken leg and displaced bone in his foot two years ago that re-routed his UW career. He has been a third-string receiver getting few opportunities to make catches over the first seven practices of camp.
Smith is trying to overcome the knee reconstruction he had following an injury during a UW practice in San Antonio days before the December 2011 Alamo Bowl. He missed his second consecutive practice with a groin injury but said Friday he felt “fine” and should be back soon, perhaps next week. Smith can’t afford to miss much more time if he wants chances in the exhibition games that begin next Friday against Denver.
“I understand what position they are in,” Kearse said.
His advice to his footstep followers?
“Just control the things you can control,” Kearse said. “Each opportunity, each moment try to put it on film or tape. Maximize the opportunity.
“It’d be cool for them,” Kearse said of the potential for two more Huskies on the Seahawks.
“I mean, I don’t see any Washington State guys out here.”
It’s been a strong year for Kearse. He became the Seahawks’ No. 2 wide receiver last October when they traded Percy Harvin. Kearse made his miraculous catches in last season’s playoffs — first to beat Green Bay in January’s NFC title game, then off his chest and leg to put Seattle near New England’s goal line on its final drive of the Super Bowl. Then in May he signed a $2,356,000 tender offer as a restricted free agent.
LIGHT BEFORE HEAVY
The Seahawks had their lightest and briefest practice of camp so far: seventy-two minutes in no pads and no helmets. Most players wore team caps. Some wore team bucket hats.
That was because Saturday they will have their most extensive scrimmaging of camp.
Tyler Lockett continued to impress. The rookie for whom Seattle traded four picks to Washington so it could move up in the third round of May’s draft to select him had two smooth touchdown catches. The first was a twisting, leaping catch of a Russell Wilson pass as he fell into the end zone. Wilson jogged 40 yards to celebrate that with a leaping hip bump with Lockett.
The second was on a slippery crossing route. Tarvaris Jackson’s throw hit the Kansas State record-setter in stride and he zipped the final 20 yards untouched across the goal line. Jackson pumped his right arm at that play.
Lockett has been getting time as the “zebra” slot receiver with the first-team offense, with Doug Baldwin on the opposite side at flanker. It’s becoming clearer Lockett’s not just going to be Seattle’s new kickoff and punt returner this season.
“For me, I don’t worry about fighting for a spot, I just continue to do what I did at Kansas State, which is play my game,” Lockett said. “The fastest way I can be comfortable the better I’m going to play, so I try to find that comfort zone.
“For me there’s no limitations on what I can’t do. I just go out there and play my game, and they’re the ones that set the limitations on me. I’m not giving anybody and limitations to set on me. … But I refuse to get shut down one time.”
Earl Thomas did some light position drills in the second of three practices the All-Pro free safety must remain limited in after coming off the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, per NFL rules. With a players’ day off Sunday, Thomas could practice fully on Monday. … Assuming Friday was a setup for Saturday’s scrimmage, expect 2014 practice-squad guard Drew Nowak to be the first-team center again. Coach Pete Carroll said this week if Seattle had to play a game now, Lemuel Jeanpierre would be the starter replacing traded Max Unger. Yet Carroll and line coach Tom Cable are getting a long look at Nowak. … CB Mohammed Seisay draped his 6-foot-2, 206-pound body all over 6-5 Chris Matthews to break up a short out-route pass. It’s that quality of coverage that led the Seahawks to trade a late-round pick in the 2016 draft to Detroit this week for Seisay. The second-year man from Nebraska looks the part of a Seahawks cornerback: physical and long. … Douglas McNeil, a standout at wide receiver early in camp, spent his second consecutive practice working as a cornerback. The 6-3, 200-pound McNeil, a 2014 free agent from Bowie State, ran step for step with Williams down the right sideline on a long pass play that went to the opposite side because of McNeil’s coverage. ... The team claimed undrafted rookie safety Robert Smith off waivers from Indianapolis and released S Ty Zimmerman.