Around the locker room and at team headquarters, he's simply Mo. Seldom is he heard from, but when he interacts with teammates he is often good for a few laughs. Seldom does he get...

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Around the locker room and at team headquarters, he’s simply Mo.


Seldom is he heard from, but when he interacts with teammates he is often good for a few laughs.


Seldom does he get a chance to carry the ball, but Maurice Morris fills other roles besides being the backup to running back Shaun Alexander. He’s both a kickoff and punt returner.


Morris, who turned 25 earlier this month, is just looking for a way to get on the field. It has been that way since he was a second-round pick in 2002 out of Oregon. Coach Mike Holmgren has tried to make the shifty Morris more a part of the offense, saying before the season that he had hoped to get Morris into games in third-down situations to take advantage of his speed.


The problem is, Alexander is having a career year. Morris has only 116 rushing yards, and isn’t likely to reach the 239 he gained last season. And the Seahawks don’t seem to make much of anything happen on returns, with Morris in the spotlight because he is the player making the returns.


Morris discusses his performance, the return game, his strong throwing arm and backing up Alexander in the following interview.


Seattle Times: How would you evaluate your performance this year?


Maurice Morris: As far as running, I feel more comfortable with the offense. Whatever play they call, I feel I can go in there and deal without a lot of hesitating about knowing what I’m supposed to do. As far as kick returns, we have a lot of new players on the kick-return team, so we’re still in the process of trying to get that going the way we should.


ST: It looks like every time you catch a punt or kickoff, you run to one side of the field and get pinned along the sideline, allowing the coverage to get to you and make the tackle quickly.


MM: That’s our return. Whatever side they kick, that’s what side we’re going to run to.


ST: Is that hard to deal with?


MM: It’s challenging because the other teams tend to know what we’re going to do. So it’s like, they kick it left, we’re going to run up the field left. Teams know what we’re going to do so it’s kind of difficult to make something happen when they already know what you’re going to do.


ST: How about taking it the other direction? Could that create confusion?


MM: It might, but with everybody blocking one way and you going the opposite way, you’re going to take the chance of getting knocked out.


ST: You’re a pretty quiet guy. How do you think your teammates see you?


MM: I think everybody in the locker room likes me. I’m a down-to-earth person. I like to smile and have fun.


ST: Is it true that you can you throw a football farther than anyone on the team?


MM: I’ll take any bet on that, yeah.


ST: What about in a jumping contest, like the one you guys did in the locker room last month?


MM: I thought I won that, but they said I didn’t. I don’t know.


ST: Is it tough to play behind Shaun?


MM: As far as any running back, it’s tough to actually sit and watch and not be part of the game. But as long as he’s out there doing a good job and helping us move the ball on offense, I’m happy for him.


ST: Do you feel you’ve come a long way in your development as a player?


MM: Oh, definitely. I feel I can go in there, and things now seem kind of slowed down. At first you get out there and you’re just running fast and running like a chicken with your head cut off. But now you understand the game and actually know what to look for on the defensive side of the ball.


José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com