The most scrutinized rule-breaker in the NFL so far this season has had an interesting past 48 hours.
After safety Kam Chancellor knocked the football from the grip of Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson just before the goal line Monday at the end of the Seattle Seahawks 13-10 victory, it bounced directly toward linebacker K.J. Wright in the end zone.
Instead of waiting for the loose ball to take one final hop through the back of the end zone for a touchback, Wright gave it a little nudge to help it along.
He thought it was a good play — but, in reality, it wasn’t. Hours after the game, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino determined that the officiating crew should have enforced rule 12-4-1 – an illegal batting of the football out of the end zone.
If that play was correctly judged, the Lions would have retained possession inside the Seahawks’ 1-yard line with less than two minutes left in the game.
Afterwards, Wright spoke candidly about his intent to knock the ball out of bounds. Minutes later, he was informed it should have been a penalty.
“They say the truth sets you free, and that is the only thing I know how to do,” said Wright on Wednesday from the locker room at the Seahawks’ training facility. “That is what I did — made a play, or didn’t make a play. I did the right thing, but come to find out, it was the wrong thing.
“For the future, I know now what to do.”
It has certainly provided a teaching point for coach Pete Carroll and his staff this week.
But not before the history of the rule was researched. Carroll said Wednesday they went back 12 years, only to discover that the penalty had never been called in an NFL game.
He said in his 40-plus seasons coaching football, he has never seen that happen.
“We have to have an awareness of when the ball is in the end zone,” he said.
“We will address it more. We will be on it.”
As far as the extra attention he has received, Wright said he was sent photos of the play on Twitter — with him dressed as Batman.
“Because I batted the ball,” he said. “It was pretty funny, actually.”
Wright said nobody in his family gave him a hard time about the late-game sequence.
“There wasn’t a worst part to this at all,” Wright said. “We got the win, so I was cool.”
Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks’ rookie receiver who already has a punt return and kickoff return for a touchdown this season, saw a steady diet of squib and pooched kicks Monday against the Lions.
He had two kick returns of 19 and 11 yards. The other kickoff came to fullback Will Tukuafu to start the second half. He returned it 16 yards to the 36 yard line, which led to a Seahawks’ field goal.
“Honestly there’s nothing wrong with it,” Lockett said. “Even when they decided to pooch it over there to Will, we ended up getting around the 40-yard line. Whatever teams decide to do, it works out for me. I am not going to be mad they didn’t kick it to me, as long as we get good field position.”
Running back Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. Carroll said it is a “day-to-day thing” that will take them to the end of the week. The coach noted Lynch made significant progress last week by doing some running. … Backup tailback Fred Jackson (high ankle sprain) will also be a late-week call, but Carroll said the veteran surprised them by spryly “bouncing” around the facility. … Barring any setback, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (groin) will be available to play at Cincinnati. … Slot cornerback Marcus Burley (hand) will have surgery Thursday to repair his broken right thumb, but Carroll said there is a chance for a quick recovery. He would not rule out the defensive back for Sunday. … Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (shortness of breath), who left in the first half of the game Monday, should be OK for the Bengals. “I just had to catch my breath,” Lockette said. “It was a safety precaution. We are getting it handled.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442