By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — Some NFL players would rather not bother with voluntary offseason workouts. Seahawks cornerback Tharold Simon can’t wait for the next one.
After missing all his rookie season with injuries in both feet, Simon, perhaps more than anyone out here, is thrilled to be back on a football field, even if it’s only for a June session of voluntary organized team activates.
“I’ve been hungry since last season, watching those guys out there having fun, competing every day,” Simon said. “It just makes you want to get out there and compete with them and go out there and have fun.
“Every day I go home, I wait for the next day. If it’s Friday, I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t wait until Monday come to get back and compete with these guys.’”
When the Seahawks drafted Simon in the fifth-round last year, it was easy to look a the 6-foot-3, 202-pound corner out of LSU and see another big, rangy corner who would fit right into a secondary with the likes of Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. But Simon came to Seattle with a sore foot, and after participating briefly in rookie minicamp, his rookie season was essentially over before it got started.
That lingering foot injury turned out to be a stress fracture, and later Simon broke his other foot. He landed on injured reserve, had surgery on one foot in December and on the other in February, and came into this offseason as an unknown commodity.
“It was very difficult, because as a football player, you want to be out there playing football, you just want to go out there and compete no matter what’s going on,” Simon said. “It was hard just because I wasn’t healthy and I came in kind of not healthy so that set me back. But I’m glad to be back.”
Finally healthy, and with things wide open at cornerback beyond Sherman, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, Simon is making the most of his chances. That was particularly true Thursday when Simon worked with the No. 1 defense at left cornerback with Sherman sitting out. While Sherman acted as a very vocal coach, Simon was the standout of Thursday’s practice, intercepting both Russell Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson, and looking very comfortable filling in for an All-Pro.
While sitting out his rookie season was hard for Simon, he says in a way he is more prepared for it. Sherman, as well as Thomas, spent much of Thursday’s workout coaching young defensive backs, which not only showed their willingness to help young teammates, but just how much time they put in the mental side of the game. That attention to detail wasn’t lost on Simon as he watched last season.
“I sat back, learned a lot, soaked it all in for this season,” he said. “I sat back and learned, that was the best part about it; instead of getting thrown out there, I had a chance to look at guys a whole season … Really watching those guys the whole season helped me out a lot.”
Seahawks sign Williams
The Seahawks have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
Williams, who turns 34 later this summer, has spent his entire career in Minnesota. He was a six-time Pro Bowl player with the Vikings, most recently in 2010, and a member of the NFL all-decade team for the 2000s. The deal is worth $2 million according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Williams has started all but five games in his 11-year career, including 15 starts last season when he had 29 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception. Williams reportedly had worked out for both New England and the New York Giants.
Williams could certainly help the Seahawks presuming he still has something left in the tank at 34, particularly the way the Seahawks rotate linemen to keep them fresh, but he shouldn’t be considered a lock to be on the team in 2014 despite his impressive credentials. As was the case with another former Vikings Pro Bowl player, cornerback Antoine Winfield, Williams will have to hold off young challengers to earn a spot in Seattle’s defensive line rotation.
No update on Lynch
A day after reports surfaced that running back Marshawn Lynch planned to skip next week’s mandatory minicamp because he wants more up-front money in his contract, the running back was absent from Thursday’s voluntary workout, as expected.
Lynch has not yet communicated to the team his plans for next week, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was unavailable to the media Thursday, so at this point, it’s wait and see what happens next week.
Center Max Unger said he has no issues with Lynch missing offseason workouts, even if that means next week’s minicamp.
“He’s got his own thing going on,” Unger said. “We’d love to have him, but by no means will it change my view of him.
“Obviously he’s staying in shape. The guy’s done more than prove himself that he’s capable of coming into training camp in shape. He’s got his own regimen going on. As long as he does his thing on Sunday, I’ve got no problems with him at all.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.