A crowded berm at the VMAC in Renton for the start of Seahawks training camp on July 31?
A full Lumen Field for the Seahawks’ home opener Sept. 19 against the Tennessee Titans?
That’s the hope.
And there are increasing signs that maybe the Seahawks and the other 31 NFL teams will be able to pick up this year where they left off in 2019 as restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ease.
According to a report from the NFL Network — the league’s official media arm — NFL team presidents were told Tuesday that 30 of the 32 teams, including Seattle, have “obtained approval” for full capacity at stadiums at the start of the preseason. The two that have not are Denver and Indianapolis, though they were reported as being “on track’’ for it.
But the Seahawks aren’t ready yet to publicly declare things will be back to normal this fall.
In a statement on the team’s website, the Seahawks said they are “thrilled to be actively preparing to host fans’’ at Lumen Field this fall “including conducting our standard ticket sales process.’’
But the Seahawks also say they “are continuing to work closely with the NFL, as well as local public health and government officials on planning for gameday and will continue to follow all local guidelines for public sporting events.’’ Exact plans are expected to be announced later in the summer.
NFL teams also were told they can prepare to have fans in attendance for training camp, though protocols are still being finalized with the NFL Players Association.
A report on NFL.com stated that camps “are likely to look different in terms of fans’ proximity to players and the previously usual standards of getting autographs” and photos.
Through NFL media, the league also announced Tuesday plans for a standardized start to training camp, with 29 teams, including the Seahawks, holding their first practice July 31 and reporting July 27. The three teams that will start earlier are Dallas and Pittsburgh, who play in the Hall of Fame game a week ahead of the start of the rest of the preseason games, and Tampa Bay, which will be home against Dallas to open the regular season Thursday, Sept. 9. Teams are allowed to start 47 days before the Sunday of Week One of the NFL season.
As it has done with other events, the league is hoping to turn the start of training camp into something of an extravaganza, with teams being encouraged to hold fan events alongside the first practice.
Judy Battista of NFL.com and the NFL Network described it as potentially being “a midnight madness kind of thing.’’
NFL teams also have been told that rules on masking and vaccinations will be dictated by teams “in concert with state and local guidelines,’’ according to the NFL Network.
In a statement, the Seahawks said they are “continuing to work closely with local public health and government officials to ensure the safest possible environment for all guests, players and staff. As current conditions for public sporting events are frequently changing, specific guidelines for Seahawks gamedays will be communicated later this summer.’’
But a full stadium and fans back at camp has been the goal of the Seahawks all along after they played all eight regular-season home games and one playoff game last year in front of an empty house and conducted practices without any of the usual training camp hoopla at the VMAC.
Seahawks to add tight end Cam Sutton
The Seahawks will sign free agent tight end Cam Sutton, a source confirmed. The signing is expected to become official Wednesday when the team will have to cut a player to make room on the 90-man roster.
A 6-foot-6, 226-pounder, Sutton played two years at Riverside (Calif.) City College and then two more at Fresno State. He was in camp last year with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent before being released.
Sutton caught nine passes for 154 yards in 25 games at Fresno State in 2018 and 2019.
The signing of Sutton will give the Seahawks six tight ends. The other five are Will Dissly, Gerald Everett, Colby Parkinson, Tyler Mabry and Nick Guggemos.