Alexander’s foot may not be fully healed

  • By Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Monday, May 7, 2007 9:00pm
  • Sports

KIRKLAND – The most talked-about issue of the 2006 Seattle Seahawks football season might not have gone away. Medically speaking.

Running back Shaun Alexander said Monday that the crack in the fourth metatarsal bone in his left foot – an injury that caused him to miss six games in the middle of last season – was not fully healed by the end of the year and could still be there.

“We’re going to X-ray it at the end of the week just to know if it’s closed yet,” Alexander said. “After the Bears (playoff) game, when they X-rayed it, it was still cracked. But that’s football, and I’ll have a great story to tell my kids.”

Cracked bones can sometimes take more than a year to fully recover, and some never do. Athletes can have problem-free careers with cracked bones, and Alexander said that the injury has not bothered him during the current minicamp.

He also believes that 2007 will be a big season – cracked bone or not.

“I’m excited,” he said. “My goals are still high – as high as they’ve ever been.”

Line dancing: When 36-year-old offensive lineman Chris Gray re-signed with the Seahawks last month, he expected to settle in to his guard position and do what he’s been doing for the past six-plus seasons.

But Chris Spencer’s shoulder injury has forced Gray to temporarily switch positions without warning.

“I did it for three years (from 1998 through 2000), and I’m usually right next to the center anyway, so why not make the calls?” Gray said of exclusively playing center at the current minicamp. “It’s not that much different. … As long as I get to start somewhere.”

Offensive line coach Bill Laveroni reiterated that the move is temporary – “Spence will come back, and then Chris (Gray) will move back to guard,” he said – but added that Spencer’s absence could be a blessing in disguise.

“Sometimes at training camp you say, ‘We’ve got to play Chris Gray at center because he’s the backup,’ but then we never do it,” Laveroni said. “This kind of forces us to do it.”

Spencer is currently in Alabama getting treatment on a surgically-repaired shoulder. By the end of the week, Dr. James Andrews could decide whether Spencer needs a second surgery on the shoulder.

Ready for competition: Because the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams were busy in free agency and productive on draft day, the perception around the league is that the Seahawks’ three-year run as NFC West champion might be over.

Asked Monday about the perception that the rest of the division may be catching up to the Seahawks, Alexander shrugged.

“They needed to,” he said. “When you win the division three years in a row, that says it all. It’s going to be a challenge this year, but challenges are good.”

Remember me? Alexander isn’t the only Seahawks running back trying to come back from an injury.

Third-year player Leonard Weaver missed the entire 2006 season after being placed on injured reserve due to a sprained ankle he suffered in a preseason game.

“I’m feeling great,” Weaver said after taking part in Monday’s minicamp practice. “My ankle healed up, my leg healed up, and I feel 200 percent. I’m ready to roll.”

Weaver satisfied his football jones last season by working as an assistant to Renton High School head football coach Terry Metcalf, who once played at Everett Community College.

“There’s no doubt I want to (one day) be a coach,” Weaver said.

Quick slants: After weekend tryouts, the Seahawks signed quarterback Derek Devine, kicker Tyler Jones, running back Joe Rubin and linebacker Marcus Rucker. … After wrapping up a mandatory minicamp with rookies over the weekend, the Seahawks opened a four-day, voluntary camp for veterans only on Monday. The team will hold one practice per day today through Thursday at the Seahawks’ Eastside practice facility.

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