It wasn’t really football.
But for the first time since last January, the Seahawks were back on the field at the VMAC on Monday, beginning an eight-day strength and conditioning phase of training camp, sessions in which quarterbacks can also throw to receivers.
“It feels good to get out here and get out in the sunshine,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday afternoon when he talked to the media from the VMAC via Zoom.
The session was the first for Carroll with local reporters since June and served as a chance to get updates on a number of the team’s personnel situations.
Here are highlights:
Seahawks continuing to monitor Antonio Brown
The Seahawks have been linked to the controversial receiver all offseason due in part to his relationship with quarterback Russell Wilson — the two worked out together in southern California.
The NFL, though, announced Friday that Brown will be suspended for the first eight games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, and could be suspended further as the league investigates another sexual assault allegation.
That news might make you think the Seahawks have lost interest in Brown. But Carroll on Monday didn’t completely rule out a signing.
“Well, what I’d say to you is what we always say because it’s what we always do and who we are,” Carroll said. “(Seahawks general manager) John (Schneider) is competing at every turn and there has never been a process, unless we just missed it, that we weren’t involved with to understand what the chances were of helping our club. He’s all over it. He knows what’s going on right now as much as you can and it remains a very complex situation and we just need to see where it fits somewhere down the road.”
And for what it’s worth, that’s a somewhat different answer than Carroll gave last September, after Brown was released by the Patriots when he gave a pretty quick “we’re pretty well set there right now. We kind of know where we are going with that.”
A team could sign Brown now and he can take part in training camp, but he would then have to serve his suspension for the first eight games of the season.
Rashaad Penny to the PUP list
As expected, running back Rashaad Penny will begin camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Penny, the team’s first-round pick in 2018, was officially placed on the list Monday as he continues to recover from an ACL injury suffered Dec. 8, 2019, against the Rams in Los Angeles.
Carroll said Penny has not yet reported to camp — he is due in town Thursday and will then begin the COVID-19 testing protocol Friday (players must have three negative tests in four days before entering the facility).
Penny will continue to count against the team’s 80-man training camp roster, but going on the PUP list now gives the team the option to place him on the list when the regular season begins so he would not count against the roster limit. Going on PUP at that point would mean Penny could come back to the active roster after missing the first six weeks of the regular season. That remains the most likely scenario, though Carroll said Penny’s recovery seems to be going well.
“We didn’t think we needed to rush him in because he’s still rehabbing,” Carroll said. ” … Hopefully we made a good decision there. We’re anxious to get him back. He’s working out really hard and the reports are really strong that he’s doing well.”
The Seahawks also made a few other roster moves involving rookies Monday.
They placed defensive end Darrell Taylor, tight end Colby Parkinson and defensive lineman Marcus Webb on the non-football injury list while waiving defensive end Josh Avery with a non-football injury.
Taylor, a second-round pick out of Tennessee, had surgery to insert a rod in his leg in January, and Parkinson, a fourth-round pick out of Stanford, broke a bone in his foot in June.
Players on the list count against the active roster now, but if they are still not ready for the regular season they can remain on the list, and then will have to miss the first six weeks before they could return.
Seahawks remain ‘very open’ to signing Josh Gordon
Speaking of free agent receivers, the Seahawks also could look to sigh Josh Gordon once there is clarity on his situation for the 2020 season.
But for now, the league continues to mull whether to lift the indefinite suspension Gordon was handed last December for violating the league’s policies on both performance enhancing drugs and substances of abuse.
Should Gordon be deemed available at some point, though, Carroll said the Seahawks will be interested.
“It’s not in our hands,” Carroll said of the situation facing Gordon, who played in five games for Seattle last season, making seven catches for 139 yards. “Josh did a really good job with us last year. He fit in really well. … So, we’re very open to that thought. But we’ll see what happens. I don’t know. I can’t tell you what’s gonna happen with that.”
Will Dissly passes physical after ‘incredible offseason’
Tight end Will Dissly, who ruptured his Achilles tendon on Oct. 13, 2019 at Cleveland, is notably not on any list to start camp, having passed his physical.
That paves the way for Dissly to be ready Week 1 against the Falcons in Atlanta.
Eleven months was always a reasonable time frame, but Achilles injuries are notoriously tricky and there’s always the possibility of setbacks.
Carroll, though, said Dissly has had about the best recovery possible.
“Will had an incredible offseason,” Carroll said of Dissly, a former UW standout who did his rehab primarily in the Los Angeles area.
Carroll said he was told Dissly was on a rigid schedule for nine months and “he didn’t miss one minute of one day for nine straight months. They said they’ve never seen anybody do that before.”
Carroll, though, said the team will make sure to ease Dissly into significant work to assure no setbacks.
Dissly was off to one of the best starts for any tight end in the NFL with 23 receptions for 262 yards and four touchdowns in five games before being injured.
Two scrimmages at CenturyLink
The NFL has canceled its preseason as one of the many changes in training camp to try to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak. But the Seahawks still plan to take to the turf at CenturyLink Field twice this month to try to replicate some of what the team will lose without preseason games.
Specifically, Carroll said the Seahawks will hold scrimmages Aug. 22 and Aug. 26, essentially replacing their second and third preseason game dates (which had been set for Aug. 22 and Aug. 27).
Fans will not be allowed but the team plans to livestream each scrimmage (the team will also livestream other practices throughout camp).
Carroll said the scrimmages will also be used to get the feel of what it could be like to play regular-season games this year without fans.
The Seahawks have yet to announce plans for fans in the stands this season. But some teams have already announced there will be no fans at their games this season (the Raiders the latest on Monday) and the Seahawks could well follow suit at some point (Seattle’s home opener is scheduled for Sept. 20 against New England).
Carroll said cutouts to fill seats in the stands, as the Mariners used, “have their place.” Then he also mentioned using green screens and even “stuffed animals and whatever it takes to fill up those seats.”
He said he also hopes the NFL will allow the Seahawks to “crank up the sound” and to try to replicate the usual gameday environment.
“When we go in on the 22nd and the 26th we’re going to get a sense for it,” Carroll said. “We’re actually going to be playing in the stadium like it could be on gameday if there’s no fans in the stands.”