Seattle Seahawks

Jeremy Lane plans on continuing to sit during national anthem

Jeremy Lane intends to sit in protest through the national anthem before Seahawks regular-season games, too.

Speaking without elaboration at his locker inside team headquarters, the veteran defensive back said Monday he will sit the Seahawks’ bench again during the anthem prior to Sunday’s season opener, to continue his protest of racial inequality in our country.

Lane said following Monday’s practice he will repeat what he did last week in Oakland before the preseason finale: follow San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead from last month in sitting rather than standing -- as every other player on the field and person inside CenturyLink Field will do Sunday during the traditional pregame playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Lane said he is planning on continuing to sit -- and not kneel, as Kaepernick and a 49ers teammate did last week before San Francisco’s preseason finale at San Diego.

So Lane’s protest may continue beyond Sunday to include Seattle’s Sept. 18 game at Los Angeles. And beyond.

He said Kaepernick “reached out to me” after he sat in Oakland.

The 49ers’ quarterback’s message to his NFC West-rival cornerback?

“Thank you.”

Lane’s coach and teammates are supporting him.

“It’s his right to be able to protest, and I think it’s alright,” always-opinionated Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said. “There’s definitely some issues in America that a lot of people are starting to recognize...

“I think it’s cool that Jeremy Lane is doing what he wants to do. Obviously, there’s so much going on right now in America. Football’s just a small part of what we do. At the end of the day, we’ll be football players for 12 years or 10 years or whatever it is, but ... we’re still minorities and Black men in America. And that’s what we’re going to be for the rest of our life...

“It’s not just the African-American players. It’s the white players, too. They all see it, and we talk about it. It’s good. It’s good that we can have a conversation about it and people don’t get angry and people understand where people are coming from.”

Lane acknowledged home fans’ reactions in Seattle may be different -- and not all good -- compared to those of the fans in Oakland last Thursday. Most there didn’t notice he was sitting. They were focused on their Raiders, and the status quo of another National Anthem before a game.

“Could be. Could be,” Lane said of it being a different reaction in Seattle. “We’ll see.”

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said last week he thinks multiple teammates have talked about sitting during the anthem to protest our country’s race relations. But Lane said he’s not sure if any Seahawks will join him Sunday in his statement.

“I don’t know,” Lane said. “I don’t want to put pressure on no one. I’m doing it for me.”

After the exhibition against the Raiders, coach Pete Carroll said he was supporting Lane’s individuality and right to express his views.

Carroll talked to Lane after that game. His message to his player?

“He’s standing behind me,” Lane said.

Lane said his teammates are standing behind him, as well.

“No one has given me any problem about it, so obviously yes,” Lane said.

He added he hasn’t heard directly from fans.

Lane turned 26 this month. He is from Tyler, Texas, an hour and a half east of Dallas – where a gunman killed policemen this summer at a demonstration against police shootings of minorities around the country. Lane played collegiately at Northwestern State, a Football Championship Subdivision team in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He went to college near Fort Polk, an Army training center in northwest Louisiana, and three hours from Baton Rouge, where one of those police killings of minorities happened this summer.

Lane was asked Monday if where he went to school or where he’s from has a relationship to this issue.

“No,” he said, flatly.

Kaepernick announced last week his intent to give $1 million of his 2016 football earnings to charities dedicated to the issues he is spotlighting. He is scheduled to earn $11.9 million in base salary from the 49ers this year.

If Lane were to follow Kaepernick in that way, proportionally, he would donate about $168,000; Lane is earning $2 million guaranteed from the Seahawks in 2016.

While acknowledging he doesn’t make Kaepernick money, Lane said he hasn’t considered donating similarly. At least not yet.

“No, I haven’t thought about that,” he said. “Not saying I won’t, but I haven’t thought about that.”

DON’T EXPECT JIMMY GRAHAM FOR OPENER

That’s what Carroll said following another full-go practice for the tight end.

“We’re going one day at a time with the thought that he’s going to play. That’s our thought. We’ll find out how that works out with no goal in mind at this point. Really, we’re just going to do it and see what that means,” Carroll said of his star that ruptured the patellar tendon in his knee Nov. 29. “He’s doing that so he practices at his highest level and he’s really pushing it so we can see.

“We’ll see what that means at the end of the week, and we’ll just take it one day at a time and then one week at a time.

“I have no expectations that he’s going to play this week. I’m not counting on that happening. I’m just counting on him coming out and having a really good day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And then we’ll see what happens from there.”

FULLBACK ARRIVES AFTER TRADE VOIDED

Tani Tupou, a defensive lineman last season for the University of Washington, re-signed Monday two days after the Seahawks had waived him. Seattle initially signed the 284-pound Tupou in May.

He goes on the 53-man roster to fill the role of fullback that became vacant Saturday when Seattle released veteran Will Tukuafu.

Tupou’s re-signing fills the roster spot left open when L.J. McCray, a safety for whom they had traded with San Francisco on Sunday, failed his physical exam. That voided the trade. McCray is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He goes back to the 49ers.

And Tupou is on the Seahawks. For now.

Tukuafu could be back next week. Vested veterans such as he must have their entire salaries guaranteed if they are on the roster for Week 1. So Seattle could bring back Tukuafu after this week on essentially a pay-to-play basis each game rather than paying him his entire $760,000 base salary no matter what.

Asked about the decision to release Tukuafu, Carroll hinted next week could be different.

“Yeah, he didn’t make it this week,” the coach said.

PRACTICE SQUAD ANNOUNCED

The Seahawks named eight players to their practice squad, two fewer than the league maximum: rookie seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler and fellow wide receiver Kasen Williams from UW, linebacker Kache Palacio from Washington State, wide receiver Marcus Lucas, linebacker Jordan Tripp, defensive end Tylor Harris, guard Will Pericak and wide receiver Rodney Smith.

Look for defensive tackle Justin Hamilton, waived Saturday, to be added to the practice squad this week.

EXTRA POINTS: The Seahawks waived from injured reserve defensive ends David Perkins and Josh Shirley, the latter a former Husky. … Early weather forecast for Sunday’s opener in Seattle: sunny, 67 degrees.

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