RENTON — Bobby Wagner was already making one definitive statement with his decision to show up for training camp and not practice on Thursday, standing off to the side throughout as the Seahawks held their first workout of a new season.
He may also have been making another even more subtle comment about the state of his contract negotiations — he wants an extension making him the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL but doesn’t have one yet — by wearing a blue hoodie turned inside out, with no Seahawks identification.
Wagner also attended, but did not take part in any on-field drills, during the team’s offseason program. But then, he wore a jersey on the sidelines.
Wagner wasn’t made available to the media following Thursday’s workout, so it’s unclear if his choice of wardrobe was also making a choice statement.
But his absence on the field is noticeable enough.
Carroll said he had expected that Wagner wouldn’t practice Thursday. As for Friday, Carroll said they are “taking it one day at a time.’’
Carroll said the team and Wagner have been talking “for some time. There has been a lot of conversations. A lot of stuff going on.’’
Otherwise, he declined to get into the specifics of the negotiations saying “I’m not going to tell you anything.”
Indications have been that the two sides are close to a deal. One of those indications came in the form of a statement from linebacker K.J. Wright, who said “yes’’ when asked if he was under the impression a deal would come soon for Wagner.
“I believe that something will happen,” Wright said. “I’m pretty positive. The organization knows what he means to us. Like I said in OTAs, it’s a no-brainer to get it done.’’
But until a deal is, in fact, done — Wagner has said he wants a deal equaling or exceeding the Jets’ C.J. Mosley’s $17 million a year — Wagner may not take the field, a situation that would grow more uncomfortable with each passing day.
Carroll, though, seemed to indicate that if talks did drag on, that might change.
“There’s a little issue about getting down at the practice field,” Carroll said. “At this time, I did not talk to him about today and we will visit on that. We’ll work with him hopefully to make a really good decision; both ends of it. We love him, he’s been a really great player, great guy in the program, and we respect the heck out of him.”
Interestingly, Carroll seemed to disagree with a question stating that he was OK with it when Wagner also sat out during OTAs and minicamp — he at one point in the spring called the situation with Wagner “amicable.’’
“There were conversations way back,” Carroll said “It’s been going on for a long time. We are trying to, hopefully, come to a resolution. There’s a lot going on, and I respect where Bobby’s brain is right now. He’s trying to figure it out and take it one day at a time.”
The Seahawks won’t do any contact work until Sunday, after practicing in light gear again on Friday and then having Saturday off. So Wagner missing another day may not be considered all that big of a deal.
Carroll demurred when asked when it would start to matter if Wagner were to continue to sit out and no contract is completed, repeating his “one day at a time’’ line.
Wright said he didn’t think Wagner was frustrated adding “I’m really optimistic that everything will handle itself and he’ll be out there.”
Here are some other notes and impressions from the first day of camp:
Here is how the first team offense and defense looked:
Ends Cassius Marsh and Quinton Jefferson, defensive tackles Poona Ford and Jarran Reed, middle linebacker Austin Calitro, weakside linebacker K.J. Wright, strongside linebacker Mychal Kendricks, strong safety Bradley McDougald, free safety Tedric Thompson, cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers, slot corner Akeem King (Calitro filled in for Wagner).
QB Russell Wilson, RB Chris Carson, WRs Tyler Lockett, David Moore and Jaron Brown, TE Ed Dickson, LT Duane Brown, LG Mike Iupati, C Justin Britt, RG D.J. Fluker, RT Germain Ifedi.
A few other lineup notes: Geno Smith was the backup QB with Paxton Lynch third; DK Metcalf worked with the second offense primarily; the second OL consisted of, from left to right, Jamarco Jones, Ethan Pocic, Joey Hunt, Jordan Simmons and George Fant; Fant also got a lot of work as a tight end/eligible tackle; the second LB grouping was SLB Shaquem Griffin, MLB Cody Barton and WLB Justin Currie.
Carroll says no question about Ansah’s readiness
Carroll said it was a definite positive that the team did not have to place defensive end Ziggy Ansah on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and he repeated what he has said all along that he expects Ansah to be ready for the start of the regular season.
Carroll noted Ansah has been able to lift weights and has his weight back up to 270 pounds after it had drifted into the 250 range following shoulder surgery last year.
But as of yet, Ansah is not ready to practice. On Thursday he again was confined to working on the side doing conditioning, though Carroll said one reason to not have him on the PUP list is that he can take part in walkthroughs.
“His shoulder is healed, it’s solid,” Carroll said. “They did all of the retesting again, just in the last couple days, to ensure that. He’s got a little bit of soreness in the lifting coming back, but really nothing to hold him back. It’s just a matter of keep getting stronger and making sure it’s really secure before we go (to practicing on the field).”
True test for Metcalf coming soon
Heralded rookie receiver Metcalf gave the approximately 2,500 fans in attendance some of what they came for with two nice catches in the span of about five plays midway through practice, one when he had to slide in traffic.
But it’s again worth noting that the first two practices of camp essentially fall under the same rules as the offseason program with no full pads, no contact and defensive backs unable to contest passes.
That means, essentially, that receivers have free reign to passes knowing they won’t get hit, and that they also only have to work so much to get open because defensive backs can’t hit them.
Wright said because of the restrictions on the early days of practice that everyone needs to wait a few days to make much assessment of young players on either side of the ball.
“We’ll really see next week,’’ Wright said.
Asked specifically about Metcalf, Wright said “it definitely pumps up the defense’’ to go against him once the pads go on.
“We are going to let him have tomorrow (Friday, again a no-contact practice),’’ Wright said with a smile. “But after that it’s over with. We are going to step kick with him (meaning, the cornerbacks will be able to be physical with him at the line), lock him out. If he comes across the middle give him a nice little love tap. It’s going to stop here soon.’’
That, of course, is the big question — will Metcalf’s bounty of catches really stop when the pads go on, or will he show he can handle NFL physicality?
As Wright said, check back in a week or so.