With some coaxing from head coach Pete Carroll and the threat of potential fines from the league, the Seattle Seahawks offensive line broke their season-long silence and talked after practice today.
The offensive linemen not talking to the media was something established by offensive line guru Alex Gibbs during his time in Denver during the mid-1990s, and has long been a policy of the offensive line coach wherever he went. So once Carroll hired him he brought along the philosophy with him.
But center Chris Spencer and offensive tackle Sean Locklear answered questions from reporters while Ben Hamilton stood behind in an awkward silence and refused comment when asked questions. Hamilton has not talked with reporters since joining the Broncos in 2001.
So how is the offensive line coming together with all of the injuries and juggling that has occurred since the beginning of the season? Here's what Spencer and Locklear had to say.
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"I think we're starting to come together," Spencer said. "With Max (Unger) getting hurt and bringing in Stacy (Andrews) we're starting to get some camaraderie together. ... I think this week of practice has been really good. The bye week of practice was good for us, so I think we're kind of starting to turn the page with being together on the same page of things."
Asked if the line has stabilized now that most players are healthy, Spencer had this to say: "I think so. Russell's back. And Sean is healthy. Stacy's good. And Ben's doing good. So I think everything's starting to get solid, and we're starting to come together as a whole unit now, and not just in and out."
Here's Spencer on Alex Gibbs leaving: "He's a guy you worked with the whole offseason, so it's tough for us. We had to pull together and keep going with it. Art has done a great job for us, and all we can do is rally around him and keep things going."
Locklear practiced today and said he's healthy after dealing with a knee issue that last, few weeks. He says he's back to his more comfortable position of right tackle.
"I got nicked up a little here the last two weeks," Locklear said. "But the bye week helped. I got better. I got my feet under me. We're getting all of our guys back, the starting five."
Here's Locklear on the juggling of the offensive line: "It's different, but that's the business. We've been through that the last, couple years. But I think the guys we have with the amount of experience they have, it's natural for them."
And Locklear on playing next to Andrews, who is bigger than him: "It's kind of unnatural for the guard to be bigger than the tackle, but that's the way it is."
On the injury front, offensive lineman Chester Pitts (knee) again could not practice for a second straight day after a hard practice on Wednesday, and now looks uncertain again that he will not play in his first game of the year against Chicago.
DT Brandon Mebane (calf) was a limited participant in practice. And DE Dexter Davis (hamstring) and CB Marcus Trufant (ankle) were full participants.
For Chicago, LB Lance Briggs (ankle), G Roberto Garza (knee) and S Major Wright (hamstring) did not participate in practice.
CB Charles Tillman (calf) was a limited participant in practice. And LB Brian Urlacher (groin) was a full participant in practice.