By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — Rookie safety Earl Thomas is now a member of the Seahawks having signed his contract Sunday morning. Now Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is wondering why tackle Russell Okung isn’t too.
Okung, the No 6 overall pick, is still unsigned, so while fans cheered on Thomas during his first practice, Carroll seemed slightly irritated that the team and Okung’s representation hadn’t yet been able to come to an agreement.
“It’s a concern for him every day,” Carroll said. “The stuff that a rookie misses in these days is immeasurably marked against him. Russell, like Earl, wants to be out here, but this is really hard on him. We just keep moving and are working at it. We’re not worried about that part of it on our end of it, but I feel bad for Russell right now.”
Asked what the holdup was given that the players picked before and after Okung had signed, Carroll indicated that the ball was in Okung’s, or at least his agent’s, court.
“It’s pretty clear,” Carroll said. “All of the work has been done in the staging of the position that we’re in. It’s pretty clear how this should go. We’re absolutely ready to get it done right away, they’ve got to pick up the phone and respond.”
Okung’s agent declined to comment on the state of the negotiations.
As for Thomas, the 21-year old seemed relieved to back with his teammates after waiting out the negotiation process.
“It was a dream,” he said of signing his contract. “It took a little while; at least I beat Russell in here. Hopefully he’ll get his deal done quickly. It’s just a dream come true and I’m happy for my family and all of Orange, Texas back home.”
In his first practice since the team’s final offseason minicamp, Russell was immediately thrown in with the first-team defense, and took a few extra reps to play catch-up.
“At my position, safety, we have to learn quick,” he said. “And they want me to start, or compete for a starting job right now. It was a good chance for me to get back in and get back into the swing of things.”
Thomas, who at 5-foot-10, 202-pounds, has to live with the label of “undersized safety,” seemed eager to show his physical side with the team wearing full pads. On one play, he gave a solid pop to tight end John Carlson, who goes 6-5, 251, breaking up a potential completion.
“I got thrown in the fire with full pads and everything,” he said. “I kind of got into a little collision today, just to get back in. It just felt good getting my feet wet again.”
Curry out with headaches
Linebacker Aaron Curry put on an aggressive display on Day 1 of training camp, and it appears he paid the price for it. Curry sat out Sunday’s practice for what Carroll described as minor headaches.
“He just got dinged up a little bit yesterday,” Carroll said. “We’re just going to make sure that he’s OK. He should be fine, nothing serious, but he did have some headaches today so he’s resting.”
Owen Schmitt’s stay on the physically unable to perform list was a short one. The fullback missed Saturday’s practices and was placed on the PUP list with an elbow infection, but he was back in action Sunday.
Safety James Brindley, an undrafted rookie free agent, was released to clear space on the roster for Thomas.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog