Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and players talked about linebacker Lofa Tatupu no longer being with the team after this afternoon’s practice.
Carroll again referred to the team asking the veteran linebacker for a pay cut, and his response by asking for his release as a “mutual understanding.”
“I’ve known Lofa since he was a young kid when Mosi brought him to SC years and years ago, and I’ve loved him ever since,” Carroll said. “He’s a great kid, a great guy and an unbelievable competitor. And we came to an understanding that this is a good thing, and so on we go. And we keep moving. And so we wish him the very best, and we’ll see where it goes. And we’ll probably wind up knocking heads together soon.”
Carroll said David Hawthorne will take over for Tatupu at middle linebacker, and Leroy Hill will get an opportunity to earn his job back at outside linebacker with Hawthorne moving inside.
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“David Hawthorne’s ready,” Carroll said. “He’s been ready. And when Lofa got hurt a couple years ago, he took over for quite some time, and when he’s had his opportunities when Lofa couldn’t practice or something like that. So he’s ready for this opportunity.
Carroll said after he found out that Tatupu was not coming back, he went to Hawthorne to let him know that this was his chance to step up.
Hawthorne said he was surprised by the move, and appreciative of the mentoring that Tatupu provided him as an undrafted free agent out of TCU.
“We all got to say our goodbyes today and just tell him what he meant to us,” Hawthorne said. “He meant a lot, for me especially because I came in undrafted and he kind of took me under his wing and taught me a lot. So today was a hard day for the linebackers, but we wish him the best.”
Hill said he talked with Tatupu on Saturday as he mulled over his decision. Hill was in a similar situation last year, with the Seahawks asking him to restructure his six-year, $38 million deal he sign two years ago, signing a one-year, $2 million deal last season.
“We talked for a little while last night, or actually earlier in the day,” Hill said. “We actually talked sort of all yesterday off and on. I’ve been through it and it’s tough. It’s a tough decision to make, and he made his decision, and like I said, you just move on.”
Carroll said he’s anxious to get a closer look at how Hill plays once he can take the field on Thursday.
“We’re real interested to see how Leroy Hill does,” Carroll said. “I never really got a chance to see Leroy play in person. He got banged up so quick, so we never really got to look at him. But I’ve looked at a lot of film, and coaches that have coached him in the past and guys that have played with him know that he’s a real good football player.”
Here’s a couple tidbits from practice:
* The Seahawks went shoulder pads, helmets and shorts for the first time in training camp on Sunday, and we saw a couple big hits, including Kam Chancellor unloading on Russell Okung on a run blitz, and undrafted free agent safety Jeron Johnson laying the wood to receiver Chris Carter on a stop route over the middle.
Chancellor has looked pretty good so far taking over for Lawyer Milloy at safety.
* Leon Washington looked good running the ball today, which didn’t go unnoticed by Carroll.
“It’s not even the same guy,” Washington said. “Last year at this time he was limping around, and we were cringing as he was running with the football. He is in full flow, full speed, and he really is excited about it.”
* WR Ricardo Lockette caught a nice deep ball from quarterback Josh Portis, with cornerback Marcus Brown draped on him.
* Last year’s seventh-round draft pick Jameson Konz made a nice catch over the middle during team period.
* Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner have looked pretty good playing press coverage on the perimeter opposite Marcus Trufant with the first unit.
* Walter Thurmond (sprained ankle) and Mike Williams (leg strain).