RENTON — It didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary Tuesday when Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown took the field at the VMAC for the team’s first mandatory minicamp practice wearing a hoodie instead of a helmet.
At 35 and as one of the team’s most seasoned and consistent players, Brown often does little in the offseason program to save the wear and tear for when it matters.
But at almost the same time Brown walked onto the field, the NFL Network reported that Brown’s contract situation is one to “monitor’’ and that he is hoping to get a new deal.
Brown is entering the final season of a three-year, $32.5 million extension he signed in July 2018, the summer after he had been acquired by the Seahawks from Houston.
He is due a $10 million base salary in 2021 and counts $13.35 million against the cap. A new deal could be a win-win by extending Brown a year or two and giving him some upfront money while decreasing the cap hit a bit.
Some might have wondered if Brown’s age — he turns 36 on Aug. 30 — means he and the team would consider his career on something of a year-to-year basis.
But coach Pete Carroll said following Tuesday’s workout that Brown has made it clear he wants to play as long as he can — and Carroll said the Seahawks hope the same.
“He’s a big part of what we’re doing and we’re counting on him being with us and we’ll look down the road together and we’ll see what’s the right thing to do,’’ Carroll said. “… We would love for him to be with us. If he wants to keep playing, we want him to keep playing.’’
Rashaad Penny, Dee Eskridge among those sitting out
Among a handful of players not participating are two of the team’s recent high picks, running back Rashaad Penny and receiver Dee Eskridge.
Carroll said Penny recently had surgery to clean up his knee, on which he had surgery to repair an ACL injury in December 2019. The team’s first round pick in 2018, Penny is entering the final season of his rookie deal and preparing for what is something of a make-or-break year in his career.
Penny played just three games last season, and Carroll noted that it’s not unusual for players needing a full season to recover fully from an ACL injury. He said Penny should be ready for training camp, saying he is “working out and doing a ton of stuff’’ but is not ready yet for on-field work.
“We just want to make sure that his strength is balanced out in his quads,’’ Carroll said. “So there’s no reason for us to take a chance right now where he gets in a bad situation. So, the attitude is great, his mentality is great.’’
Eskridge, Seattle’s top pick in the 2021 draft at No. 56 overall, is nursing a toe injury. Eskridge was able to run around and catch some passes in warmups but Carroll said the team is being cautious.
“We’re just making sure that he doesn’t overdo it early,’’ Carroll said.
Carroll also said running back Travis Homer is sitting out, with a calf injury.
“We’re just taking our time to make sure we get it back,’’ Carroll said. “It’s bothered him a little bit in the offseason.’’
Carroll hoping vaccine numbers pick up
A report from Sports Illustrated this week stated that 16 of the 32 NFL teams have 51 or more players “either fully vaccinated or in the process of getting vaccinated.’’
So where are the Seahawks on that list?
Carroll didn’t want to give an exact number Tuesday but said “we’re a couple numbers away from being in the top echelon of having as many guys as anybody in the league. So we’re in pretty good shape right now.’’
Carroll noted, “there’s a couple of crucial weeks coming up the next two weeks.’’
Indeed, with camps set to start July 31 and players due to report on July 27, players would have to get the first shot in about two weeks to complete the process in time for camp.
“I’m just hoping that we can get the majority of our guys done just so that they’ll be safe,’’ Carroll said. “But it’s an individual choice that people have to make. … We’ll see what happens, but it’s going to work itself out.’’
Russell Wilson says everyone is ‘still friends’
Early on during Carroll’s post-work Zoom session with media, a player burst in to briefly interrupt the proceedings — quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson then put his arm around Carroll and said “just letting everyone know we are still friends,’’ an obvious reference to the discussion of Wilson’s future that dominated the team’s offseason. Peeking in with Wilson was Seattle general manager John Schneider, who was apparently walking alongside Wilson and flashed a quick peace sign.