Heats’ Spoelstra speaks to Seahawks

RENTON — If ever there was a coach qualified to speak to a team about thriving under the burden of lofty expectations, it was the one visiting Seattle Seahawks headquarters Tuesday.

Erik Spoelstra, coach of the back-to-back NBA title-winning Miami Heat, was on hand to watch the Seahawks practice, speak to the team and try to take a little knowledge back to Miami with him.

After one season as the head man in Miami, Spoelstra found himself coaching a team with title-or-bust aspirations after the Heat added LeBron James and Chris Bosh to a lineup that already included Dwyane Wade. The Heat fell short of that goal in 2011, but has won the past two titles.

Like the Heat, the Seahawks are talented, hyped by the national media, and a team that expects big things. Unlike, the Heat, however, the Seahawks have not yet achieved their ultimate goal of winning a title.

“I think the biggest thing that correlates with us and the Miami Heat is the way we practice, the way we go about our business,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “We can’t compare ourselves to them yet, we haven’t done anything yet, and they’ve done a great job of winning the whole thing.

“That’s what we want to learn from them — how they got there through all of the things that are going on. With all of the positive things that have been said, all of the negative things that have been said, how do you continue to continue to focus on the work-ethic part of it, the sacrifice of it all? That’s what he was talking about today.”

One of the biggest takeaways from Spoelstra’s pre-practice talk with the team, players said, was the focus on sacrificing for the good of the team.

“It was awesome to hear him talk about the sacrifices those guys made to get a ring,” cornerback Brandon Browner said. “You’ve got LeBron, D-Wade, those guys can all go get top-5 money, especially LeBron, he deserves to be the highest-paid player in the league, but Spoelstra was telling us he’s not even top 15 in the NBA. They sacrificed money, egos, sacrificed all those things to be a family and ultimately win back-to-back championships.”

Yet Tuesday wasn’t all about how Spoelstra can help the Seahawks. The coach apparently also wanted to learn from Seattle’s hyper-competitive coach.

“It was good to hear him say he wanted to come out here and learn a little bit from Pete and watch us compete,” Browner said. “That was cool for him to say that.”

And strangely enough, this isn’t the first Heat-Seahawks connection in recent months. During this summer’s ESPY awards, Wilson spent some time hanging out with Wade, James and former Sonic Ray Allen. And Wilson being Wilson, he of course found time on a night dedicated to celebrating to pick the brains of three NBA stars.

“I just asked them questions — ‘what it’s like to be at the top? How do you continue to stay there?’” Wilson said. “What they basically said was, ‘Just the hard work and discipline we had.’ The camaraderie they had was unbelievable. You think about it, they have at least four or five superstars who were some of the top-15-basketball-players-ever-to-play-the-game type players. That’s not easy to do, and the relationships that they have, that bond that they have is something that we’re trying to continue to build here for the Seattle Seahawks. Spending time with coach Spoelstra and listening to his thoughts about his players was really awesome for us because we can gain that knowledge and use it for the best.”

Seahawks trim roster to 75

A day after making a handful of cuts, the Seahawks released two more players and moved four others to reserved lists in order to get their roster down to 75. Veteran cornerback Will Blackmon was let go, a move that came ahead of the final roster cuts likely because the Seahawks wanted to give the six-year vet more time to find another team, not because they saw him as a bottom-of-the-roster player. Receiver Donavon Kemp also was released.

The Seahawks also moved three players from the active/physically unable to perform list to the reserve/PUP list: receiver Percy Harvin, cornerback Tharold Simon and defensive end Greg Scruggs. Those players no longer count toward the roster, but cannot come back until Week 7 at the earliest. Players on the active/PUP list during the preseason count towards the roster limit, but can return to practice at any time, which is what the Seahawks did earlier with Zach Miller and Robert Turbin. That defensive end Chris Clemons was left on that list would seem to indicate the Seahawks will open the season with him on the 53-man roster, though he could still be moved to the reserve/PUP list before the final roster cuts.

Additionally, linebacker Korey Toomer was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, the result of a knee injury he suffered while working out before the season.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com.

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