About 40 Seahawks and other NFL players gathered Thursday morning for a workout at the University of Washington's Dempsey Indoor facility.
It started with Justin Forsett.
Through constant emails, text messages and phone calls, the Seahawks running back connected with teammates and coordinated their schedules so they could gather and train during the NFL lockout.
The informal workouts began about two months ago, and the players train four times a week. The size of the group varies, but each time the numbers increase.
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On Thursday morning, about 40 Seahawks and NFL players gathered at the University of Washington’s Dempsey Indoor facility for a player-run workout that lasted more than two hours.
Wearing shorts and T-shirts, they participated in a series of drills as if it were an ordinary offseason workout.
But this year is far from ordinary.
“It’s not exactly the same,” Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant said. “We all know that, but you just try to make it as close as you can.”
In a strange way, the lockout has forced players to unite like never before.
“Camaraderie builds when players have to take ownership for things when the coaches aren’t around,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “This year, what’s been a positive is the brotherhood of NFL football that has come together.
“I heard Carolina is not letting anybody work out with them. But for the most part, no matter what jersey you’re wearing, guys come together.”
Hasselbeck said he’s been invited to train in Arizona with Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, while other Seahawks have worked out in California and Miami.
Among those in attendance Thursday were quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, linebacker Aaron Curry, safety Lawyer Milloy, cornerbacks Jordan Babineaux and Kelly Jennings, and former Washington linebacker Mason Foster, who was drafted by Tampa Bay this spring.
Trufant hasn’t worked out with younger brother Desmond, a UW cornerback, but a few Huskies have trained with the pros.
“We’ve been working out with some of the undergrad guys,” Hasselbeck said. “Jake Locker (drafted by Tennessee) has thrown with us. Keith Price has thrown with us. (Nick) Montana has been invited.”
Players said the workouts have helped with conditioning, but the drills aren’t overly intense because no one wants to get hurt.
“That’s the other danger right now,” Hasselbeck said. “We’ve all signed waivers with the University of Washington. That’s been our biggest hurdle is getting people to let us use their field.
“Whether it’s a high-school field or whatever, people are afraid of lawsuits and stuff like that. We’ve got to be careful that way and taking care of each other that way.”
Hasselbeck is a free agent and knows there’s a chance he might not return to Seattle.
Still, he has been directing players on the offensive end, while Babineaux and Milloy have been very vocal on the defensive side.
“We have a new offense here in Seattle and we don’t have the playbook, but Matt has a lot of experience so we can utilize that,” tight end John Carlson said. “We have to make the best out of the situation as we possibly can.
“It’s certainly not ideal. It’s not normal. Still, it’s great to be on the field and it’s just good to see the guys again.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org