INDIANAPOLIS — Gracious and grateful, former Washington Huskies running back Bishop Sankey smiled when he met with media Friday.
Less than two years ago, Sankey was the Huskies’ backup running back. Friday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, he was being weighed and measured to see where he would fit in the draft after leaving Washington early.
Once he set UW’s record for single-season rushing yards with 1,870 in 2013, Sankey talked with his family about leaving school. Sankey said coach Steve Sarkisian’s departure for USC did not influence his decision.
“I just think based on the past few years I had, I was ready to go to the next level,” Sankey said. “Talking it over with my dad (and family), they were all supportive.”
Sankey has been training at EXOS in Carlsbad, Calif., and he arrived in Indianapolis on Wednesday. One of Sankey’s strengths — field vision — will be hard to show at the combine, but he plans on participating in every drill to show his speed and lateral quickness. Then, he’ll have formal interviews.
“I think they really want to find out about my football knowledge,” Sankey said.
Sankey has been training with a familiar partner in Carlsbad — former Huskies quarterback Keith Price. In a bit of a surprise, Price was not invited to the combine.
“I feel like it’s only going to make him more motivated,” Sankey said. “I know he’ll do well. I know he’ll kill the Pro Day. I’m seeing his progress every day. I think the right teams are going to see him and recognize he has something special.”
RECEIVER RICE OUT?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday that Sidney Rice will be released by the Seattle Seahawks. The wide receiver seemed to confirm the end is near, posting on his Twitter account: “The number #12 will remain on the left side of my chest no matter what! Grateful for the opportunity to share so many special moments w yall.”
The Seahawks had not confirmed an official move on the seven-year pro.
Releasing Rice would not be a surprise for a Seahawks roster that is being choked by the salary cap. Cutting Rice — who is under contract for 2014 and ’15 — would save them $7.2 million against the salary cap next season. They could use a portion of that to re-sign players such as defensive lineman Michael Bennett or wide receivers Golden Tate (an unrestricted free agent) or Doug Baldwin (a restricted free agent).
The Seahawks signed Rice to a five-year, $41 million contract in 2011. Only
$15 million was guaranteed.
In 33 games with the Seahawks, Rice caught
97 passes, including 12 for touchdowns. His 2013 season ended when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in late October.
OKUNG MULLS SURGERY
The Seahawks are still deciding if left tackle Russell Okung will have surgery on his toe. Coach Pete Carroll said Okung doesn’t want to have the surgery if he can avoid it. He will continue to be assessed.
Meanwhile, linebacker K.J. Wright, who had foot surgery after a Week 14 injury and returned for the playoffs, won’t need any additional surgeries.
COOKS GETS COOKING
Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks provided some life to the otherwise staid interviews taking place at the combine.
Cooks pronounced himself the best receiver in the draft and said he planned to prove it in the combine.
Cooks, the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s best wide receiver, didn’t just pump up himself Friday. He also said Tacoma native Desmond Trufant, a former UW standout who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons, was the toughest cornerback he faced in college.
Cooks is among the record 98 underclassmen who declared for the draft this year. Of those, 85 are at the combine.