By Scott M. Johnson
KIRKLAND – Forgive Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren if he wasn’t quite so hands-on at Sunday’s minicamp finale.
Instead of giving the team his undivided attention, Holmgren spent the entire practice keeping a visitor company.
Owner Paul Allen made an unannounced visit to practice Sunday morning, which Holmgren called a welcome surprise. They cheerfully talked football on the sideline while assistant coaches ran practice.
“For someone who’s as busy as he is, he knows who the players are and what’s going on with the team,” Holmgren said. “And then he’s curious about a lot of things. He asks a lot of questions. He allows me to do my job and he supports me wonderfully, but he is interested.
“I want to create a situation where he can get real excited about this football team. That’s what we want to do.”
After visiting with the billionaire owner for most of the two-hour practice, Holmgren called over a few of the new players to meet Allen.
“Before Coach Holmgren introduced me, I was thinking to myself, I think that’s the owner,” said rookie wide receiver Koren Robinson, who did not participate in drills while resting a sore hamstring. “I want to have a good relationship with (Allen).
” … I’ve got to meet him sometime. He welcomed me to the city and introduced himself. He asked me how I liked it and I said, ‘I like it so far.’ “
Busy schedule: Now that minicamp is over, the real work begins for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
The Seahawks’ new signal-caller is close to buying a house in Kirkland, but he and wife Sarah have to fly to Green Bay and sell their old house first. Hasselbeck is also planning a visit to New England to see relatives, then will head down to Mississippi to play in former teammate Brett Favre’s charity golf tournament – all before the end of this month.
Hasselbeck’s national tour won’t come at the expense of learning his new team’s playbook. Holmgren said the 25-year-old quarterback has been a quick learner, especially since the system is similar to the one Hasselbeck ran in Green Bay.
“I watched the best do it. It was a great learning experience,” Hasselbeck said, referring to his three years as a backup to Favre. “But I have to realize I haven’t had the same experiences with these guys. Hopefully I can have those same experiences.”
Eye openers: While new players rarely make an immediate impact at the Seahawks’ May minicamp, a few rookies have opened the eyes of the coaching staff.
Wide receivers Alex Bannister (a fifth-round pick out of Eastern Kentucky) and Corey Nelson (a former XFL player) showed speed and reliable hands during passing drills, while cornerback Ken Lucas (second round, Mississippi) and safety Curtis Fuller (fourth round, Texas Christian) showed flashes on defense.
Other rookies who made an impact include guard Steve Hutchinson (first round, Michigan) and fullback Heath Evans (third round, Auburn).
As for the veterans, cornerback Willie Williams solidified himself as the team’s nickel back, while defensive tackle John Randle put on quite a show during pass-blocking drills. Middle linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski looks like he has improved his pass defense, while starter Levon Kirkland struggled in that area over the weekend.