RENTON Pete Carroll mentioned it yet again this week: The number-one rule in his program is “protect the team.”
Jeremy Lane did the opposite of that Tuesday.
Yes, he was so upset he didn’t bother with the question mark.
Lane followed three minutes later Tuesday afternoon with another post on his Twitter account: “S*** ridiculous”
This is the anti-way to getting your playing time back after being out the last two games with a strained groin. That included last weekend’s win over the New York Giants, another shut-down day for the Seahawks defense without Lane.
It’s reminiscent of Alvin Bailey using Twitter to air grievances in 2015. A few months later, he was playing in Cleveland. A year later, he was out of the NFL, where he remains.
I’ve been writing since July that impressive, 22-year-old rookie Shaquill Griffin is the present and future at right cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Griffin’s performance while Lane’s been out the last two games--and even while Lane, 27, has played nickel and Griffin has been outside on passing downs this season--have reinforced that. Each time Carroll and defensive coordinator Kris Richard talk about Griffin, each raves about the third-round pick’s poise, knowledge, speed, size and so on.
Lane’s absence has also given Justin Coleman an opportunity at nickel back inside on passing downs. The trade pickup at the end of the preseason from New England has been something of a revelation in that role. Coleman had another pass breakout on third down against the Giants last weekend, he returned his first Seahawks interception for a touchdown last month against Indianapolis and he’s been an sure tackler in the open field immediately after catches.
Lane, meanwhile, has been on the wrong side with coaches since the first half of the first game. His unnecessary scuffle along the sideline during defensive tackle Nazair Jones’ interception of Aaron Rodgers at Green Bay resulted in Lane getting ejected for throwing a debatable punch, which was actually a forearm, at Packers receiver Davante Adams. Lane’s act and an equally needless hit on Rodgers by defensive end Cliff Avril negated Jones’ return for a touchdown that would have changed a game in which Seattle did not score a TD and lost 17-9.
Lane’s contract from the four-year, $23 million extension he signed before the 2016 season guarantees him $4 million this season. That may be why he’s still on the team, even after his Twitter rant. But the final two years of his deal--at $6 million in base salary and salary-cap charge of $7.25 million each in 2018 and ‘19--are not guaranteed. Seattle could save $4.75 million against next year’s cap by releasing Lane after this season.
Lane may keep his nickel job when he does return from his groin injury, perhaps only because the Seahawks are paying him $4 million no matter what this season.
But he did himself no favors for anything in Seattle beyond that.