Jets safety Reggie Tongue ready to play against former team.

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The last time Reggie Tongue went through this, his nerves shook, his body trembled and he tried so hard that he tried too hard.

Back then, Tongue was in his first season with the Seahawks in 2000. The Seahawks were playing the team that drafted him, the Kansas City Chiefs, and Tongue struggled keeping his emotions in check.

A nine-year veteran who signed a four-year, $5.4 million contract with the New York Jets last offseason, Tongue doesn’t expect the same nerves this time when the Seahawks play at the Jets tomorrow.

“I have to let them know I still love them after the game,” Tongue said at the Jets’ practice facility yesterday. “I might try to take their head off during the game, but they’re going to do the same to me.”

Tongue spent most of an interview session praising his former teammates — comparing Matt Hasselbeck to Brett Favre, complimenting Shaun Alexander and giving Michael Boulware, who now starts in Tongue’s strong-safety spot, rave reviews.

But he did say the Seahawks’ 7-6 season has surprised him.

“They have a lot of talent,” Tongue said. “They’re one of the better teams in that division, and I thought they would take it over. But they haven’t.”

Just like Tongue hasn’t quite gotten used to New York City. He’s quiet and reserved by nature and grew up in Alaska. And he lives in this bustling part of the country where, he says, “People are really straightforward and blunt, to put it in a nice way.”

Tongue is fitting in with the Jets after a calf injury slowed him earlier in the year. He ranks fifth on the team with 57 tackles.

“At the middle of the year, he really got into a groove,” coach Herman Edwards said. “He’s done some nice things for us. He really has.”

Start spreadin’ the news

After spending his first eight NFL seasons in Seattle and Arizona, Jets left guard Pete Kendall has seen the difference between the laid-back media-coverage style with the Seahawks and Cardinals and the cutthroat ways of the New York press.

“I don’t want to go bad-mouthing our guys, because I’m sure you guys will be on the phone as soon as I hang up the call,” Kendall said in his conference call with Seattle reporters Wednesday. “It took a little bit of getting used to, coming in from what some people might consider two of the more remote outposts of the NFL. It’s a competitive business, which translates usually into when in doubt, go negative.”

Such comments have made Kendall a media favorite throughout his career.

The line on the D-line

The Seahawks are considering adding defensive end Otis Leverette to the active roster for tomorrow to bolster their injury-depleted defensive line.

Leverette has been on the practice squad for a little more than a month. He will go on the trip to New York with the team and, if needed, he will be signed from the practice squad as soon as today.

Defensive tackle Rashad Moore had to stop practicing in the middle of yesterday’s session because of leg cramps, but he is expected to play. The Seahawks already will be without defensive end Grant Wistrom and tackles Marcus Tubbs and Rocky Bernard.

What about Bobby?

Frustration is mounting about the immediate future of Seahawks cornerback Bobby Taylor, who has missed the past four games because of chronic knee pain. Taylor was one of the Seahawks’ two most high-profile free-agent signings in the offseason. He was expected to provide plenty of support in pass coverage after several very good seasons with Philadelphia.

Taylor went to Alabama last week to get a second opinion on his knee from Dr. James Andrews, a reputable knee surgeon.

“What we’re trying to do is kind of a last-ditch effort to get him back on the field,” Holmgren said. “He’s going through some treatment now that maybe it helps. We should know in a little while whether it’s going to help at all.”

Holmgren said it has been difficult to keep Taylor on the 53-man roster because the team could use his spot to shore up positions that have been affected by injuries.

“When we signed him, we were counting on him to fill a role. He has filled part of the role because he’s a great guy in the locker room,” Holmgren said. “He has not been able to play. It’s too bad.”


• Game balls from last Sunday’s victory at Minnesota went to WR Darrell Jackson on offense, SS Michael Boulware on defense and K Josh Brown on special teams.

• Jackson will join the Seahawks in New York today after funeral services for his father. Jackson missed the entire week of practice to be with his family in Florida.

• LB Chad Brown will start for the first time since Nov. 21, having returned from knee surgery. That doesn’t mean he won’t have his playing time limited, however, and Holmgren made sure Brown understands. “I’m going to have to have the reins on him to pull him back,” Holmgren said. “A lot of times we’ll send someone in for him and he won’t come out. He gets a little belligerent. I said don’t do that.”

• OL Jerry Wunsch (knee) practiced for the first time this week and should be available to play.

• A little less than 2,000 tickets remain for each of the Seahawks’ two remaining home games, against Arizona on Dec. 26 and Atlanta on Jan. 2. They’re available by calling 1-888-NFL-HAWK.