The Seahawks minicamp practice Wednesday was more exciting and competitive than some of their games have been the last couple seasons.
At one point, Richard Sherman, one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, started treating receiver Phillip Bates like he was Skip Bayless. The two tangled and sparred, which cleared the sidelines and sparked a couple impromptu under-card events.
And on the far sideline at one point, a curious meeting of the minds took place between Seahawks owner Paul Allen, one of the world’s richest men, and running back Marshawn Lynch, who apparently would like to get a little deeper into Allen’s pockets.
Since Lynch wasn’t practicing because of what’s been called an ankle issue, he was able to have a lengthy and apparently amicable chat with Allen. It’s one time when Lynch addresses his listener with the term “boss” that it’s actually applicable.
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But from a football standpoint, on a June day when the Seahawks seemed to be playing with a postseason intensity level, the most athletic play was made by cornerback Byron Maxwell.
Maxwell leaped, twisted in the air to adjust to a pass in flight, and speared the ball with one hand, pulling it to his chest as he fell out of bounds. The official on that sideline ruled that he was out of bounds, nullifying the interception, but it was highlight-film athleticism nonetheless.
It was the sort of play fans saw last winter when Maxwell stepped in for injured/suspended Brandon Browner at right cornerback and came up with four interceptions and 10 passes defensed in the last five games.
“It was more than big, it was pretty,” safety Earl Thomas said of Maxwell’s grab Wednesday afternoon. “A one-handed catch ... just to see him hang in the air like that. You never know what your body is capable of when you’re going 100 miles an hour.”
With only those five career starts, Maxwell could be considered the junior Legionnaire of Boom, or perhaps the Baby Boomer, as secondary mates Sherman, Thomas and Kam Chancellor all have Pro Bowls on their resumes.
And all have had press conferences somewhat recently as the team bestowed upon them massive contracts.
Several times, when fellow Boomers were at the podium talking about their new financial security, Maxwell was in the room, once even peeking in the back door, watching the proceedings.
What could be going through his mind?
“It’s definitely an inspiration,” Maxwell said. “They got it, they’re like brothers to me, so why can’t I get it? That’s the type of thinking that goes with that. You play the game because you love it, but we’ve also got to feed our families, too.”
Maxwell was drafted out of Clemson in the sixth round in 2011, 19 spots behind Sherman. The Seahawks were patient as he worked through injuries and saw action on special teams. But it wasn’t until Browner was hurt and then suspended late last season that Maxwell got to start.
“You gotta earn your way on everything you do,” Maxwell said. “Nothing’s given to you. That was the role I had to do at the time. I was just happy to be a part of the team, to have a job, that’s how I took it.”
He said he hopes that the strong play late last season will be a springboard to a big year. It will be his final season under his rookie contract. And with the chance to start the full 16 games, Maxwell could start to gain the recognition that his more renowned teammates have received.
“I don’t think about that,” Maxwell said. “What I think about when I get out here on the field is making plays. If that comes it comes. But it’s all about making plays and helping my team.”
When asked if he saw Maxwell as the junior member of the Legion, Thomas interrupted: “I don’t think he’s a junior — I think he graduated. He’s right up there with the rest of us.”