By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — When Chris Clemons was absent from some of his team’s voluntary workouts earlier in the offseason, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wasn’t too concerned, because he was under the impression that the defensive end would be on hand for the team’s mandatory minicamp this week.
Well on Tuesday, Clemons was a surprise no-show, and he is expected to miss all of this week’s minicamp, meaning the Seahawks will practice three more days without the player who piled up a team-high 22 sacks over the past two seasons.
“In communications with Chris, I thought he was coming, so this is kind of a late development that he’s not,” Carroll said. “So I’m a little bit surprised that he’s not here. We’ve had open communications with the agent and with Chris, and we feel like everything is on the up and up and very amicable. It continues to be one of our priorities and we’d love to get him back, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to show up for the rest of camp.”
Now the question is whether or not Clemons’ absence could extend to the beginning of training camp. Asked if that was a concern, Carroll only said, “I don’t know. I don’t know that.” If Clemons does indeed skip all three days the Seahawks can fine him up to $60,000.
Like every holdout, Clemons’ absence comes down to money. He is due to make $4 million this season in what is the final year of his contract, but is likely hoping to secure a long-term deal that includes more money in 2012.
“He’s got another year on his contract, so we’re talking about future potential stuff, and that’s something we’ve had our eye on for some time with him,” Carroll said. “He’s done a very good job for us in the first couple year with us, and we’re really pleased with his play and his work habits and all of that stuff, so I’m a little bit surprised that we’re not able to get further than we are, but we’ll see what happens.”
While Clemons may have out-played his contract, so to speak, during the past two seasons, he lost a lot of leverage in April’s draft when the Seahawks took defensive end Bruce Irvin with their first-round pick. Ideally, they would prefer to bring Irving along slowly and have him and Clemons compliment each other, but Carroll said Irvin could step into that starting role if necessary.
“Sure he could,” Carroll said. “We grabbed him to do that. We didn’t grab him to be a specialty pass-rusher. We grabbed him to play and it’s up to him to see how far he can take it in the competition of it.”
The extra work in practice has helped speed up the learning process for Irvin, but the rookie also looks forward to learning from Clemons.
“I’ll be glad when Clem shows up and I’ll be able to learn from the person who plays the same position as me, but right now I feel like I’ve made a lot of great progress and I’ll continue to get better,” Irvin said.
Receiver Mike Williams, who is coming back from surgery on a broken ankle, still isn’t practicing, but is making good progress. Carroll said Williams should be ready for training camp and that he is “close to being full-go.” … Receiver Golden Tate was sidelined by what Carroll called a “very slight little crack” in his hand, but should be fine for training camp. … Tarvaris Jackson took the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense Tuesday, and the plan is for Matt Flynn to work with the starters Wednesday and then for Russell Wilson to get his turn with the first team on Thursday, Carroll said.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org