After waiting nearly a week to practice, Seattle’s free agents had to wait a few more minutes to take the field Thursday. Players like quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, receiver Sidney Rice and guard Robert Gallery, all of whom signed last week, were not allowed to practice until the league’s new collec
tive bargaining agreement was ratified, which all along was expected to happen Thursday. But when the Seahawks took the field for a 1:45 practice, they had not yet gotten word that the deal was finalized and the new players could participate, so the team waited.
Then waited some more.
“We though we were being pranked for a minute with everybody just standing out there with their pads on,” Rice said.
Players went over to the fans seated on the hill next to the practice field and greeted fans and signed autographs, something they’d normally do after a practice. Others stood around or tossed a ball back and forth. Receiver Mike Williams worked on his long snapping. Then, at 2:06 p.m. Pete Carroll was able to gather his team and start its first practice with a bunch of new faces, not to mention free agents like Brandon Mebane and Kelly Jennings who had re-signed but also had to wait.
And after a lengthy lockout, plus an extra week of waiting, a 20 or so minute delay wasn’t so bad, the new players said.
“It wasn’t that odd considering what’s happened the last six months,” said TE Zach Miller, who agreed to terms with Seattle Tuesday. “It wasn’t that surprising to have to wait a few more minutes to go.”
Jackson, who Carroll has already named the starting quarterback, admitted he showed a little bit of rust in his first practice with the Seahawks, but for the most part looked comfortable—as he should given he’s working under the same offensive coordinator he had in Minnesota—particularly when throwing to Rice, his teammate in Minnesota.
The biggest problem Jackson had in his first practice snaps from a new center. Jackson fumbled a few snaps, including one sequence when he fumbled a snap, then a handoff, then another snap on three straight plays.
Not surprisingly, Gallery immediately stepped into the first-team offense at left in his first practice. Gallery, 31, will be a valuable resource for what is otherwise a very young line given that he played for Tom Cable, now Seattle’s offensive line coach, in Oakland.
With the first preseason game happening in only a week, those free agents will have a lot of catching up to do before the team heads to San Diego next week.
“That’ll be tough,” Miller said. “Usually you have 15 days before your first preseason game, so to go in a week really compresses everything. We’re going to have to study a lot and get as many reps as we can, because it’ll come quick.”
This doesn’t relate to the new free agents, but it’s worth pointing out that defensive end Pierre Allen looks like an early candidate to be an undrafted rookie who could make the team. Allen, who played at Nebraska, got reps with the first-team defense with DE Chris Clemons limited by a foot infection.
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