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Seahawks to lose receivers coach to Texas A&M

When the Seattle Seahawks’ season ends - and it won’t at least for another week - receivers coach Nolan Cromwell will leave to become the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Reports out of College Station, Texas, on Saturday said Cromwell, 52, had agreed to be part of new Aggies coach Mike Sherman’s staff. Cromwell coached with Sherman on Mike Holmgren’s Green Bay Packers teams in the 1990s.

Holmgren said he hated to lose Cromwell, who coached with him for seven seasons in Green Bay and nine with the Seahawks, but understood this was an opportunity too good to pass up.

“He’s one of the fine men I’ve ever worked for,” said Holmgren, who learned of Cromwell’s interest about two weeks ago and encouraged him to take the job.

“I’ll miss him. ...

“I’m very, very happy for him and his family. He’ll do a great job for Mike.”

Cromwell, a four-time Pro Bowl defensive back with the Los Angles Rams, began coaching with the Rams in 1991. He’s been to the Super Bowl once as a player and three times as a coach - with Green Bay in 1996 and ‘97 and Seattle in 2005.

A former college quarterback, Cromwell also has coached special teams and defense. Seahawks receiver Nate Burleson was shocked at the news but said it’s easy to see why Cromwell would be pursued by Texas A&M.

“He’s a very intense individual and he loves the sport of football,” Burleson said. “If you’re at practice and you hear somebody yelling, most likely it is Nolan. You learn how to go out there and be a better football player when you listen to him. ... Nolan, he injects that lightning inside of us and gets us going at a different level.”Cromwell said he’s looking forward to his new challenge.

“I’ve learned a lot from Mike (Sherman) over the years, and I have found him to be a tremendous problem-solver,” Cromwell was quoted as saying. “He is a high-energy guy, and I look forward to working with him.”

Branch vows to return

Deion Branch’s calf injury prevented him from playing against the Washington Redskins, but the Seahawks receiver said it should not stop him from playing this week at Green Bay.

“I asked these guys to give me the opportunity to come back and play again and they did it, so I’m going to give them what I have,” Branch said.

Branch, third on the team with 49 receptions, was hurt in the next-to-last game of the regular season against Baltimore and sat out last week against Atlanta. He practiced some during the week leading up to the playoff opener, but not enough to convince Holmgren he should play.

Frye’s thigh pad plays

Third-string quarterback Charlie Frye never made it into the game Saturday, but his right thigh pad did.Frye donated a piece of his protective equipment to starter Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter. Hasselbeck was tackled on a hard hit to the legs by Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot, and the blow snapped his thigh pad in two.

“They were going to send somebody in to get another one, but I said, ‘Matt, just take this one,’ “ Frye said. “They kind of hid me, I took my pants down, I took it off. He just kept going. It’s just like changing his batteries; he just kept rolling.”

Loud enough for you?

Washington fullback and North Thurston High graduate Mike Sellers didn’t answer questions about how loud the crowd at Qwest Field was Saturday. He didn’t answer any questions, for that matter.

But while Sellers, who last week said artificial noise was being pumped into the stadium, was silent, his teammates spoke up.

“It is an extremely tough place to come in and play,” coach Joe Gibbs said.

How tough? Although the Redskins only had one false start, the ear drum-shattering din took its toll on the offensive.

“When you are hesitant coming off the line of scrimmage, it is extremely hard to get a good, smooth operation going,” Gibbs said.

Operation? It made communication all but impossible.

“There were times when I couldn’t hear Todd and I was standing right next to him,” Redskins guard Pete Kendall said.

Said Collins: “Ohio State is pretty loud, but in that closed end, it’s really loud.”

Gibbs went further.

“This is the loudest place I’ve ever coached in,” said Gibbs, who’s coached in the NFL for 24 years.

Extra points

Seattle tackle Walter Jones started his club-record ninth postseason game. ... With four receptions, Bobby Engram set a club career postseason record with 29. ... Josh Brown’s 50-yarder tied for the longest postseason field goal in Seahawks history and added to his club-record 59 playoff points and 14 career field goals. ... The two interception returns for a touchdown marked the first time that has happened in an NFL postseason game since Tampa Bay returned three against Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

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