Michael Bennett showed up to the Seahawks minicamp on Tuesday, as promised, but he didn’t practice because he is healing up from what he called an ankle injury.
Sometimes “ankle” injuries in minicamp are related to contract discontent. But Bennett sounded sincere about a minor problem that he does not expect to linger into training camp.
The Pro Bowl defensive end had lost none of his humor, saying that he may not practice the rest of the week, but would spend the time entertaining the media with his “stand-up” comedy act.
Bennett’s attendance was at least in a small degree of doubt as he skipped the OTAs, and he’s been vocal in his belief that he has far outplayed the 4-year, $28.5 million contract he signed in 2014.
He said he never seriously considered holding out from the mandatory workouts.
“I just want to be a great teammate, show my support and do everything I need to do so we can get back to Houston, Texas – I’m very motivated to get back to the Super Bowl in my home town. That’s all it’s about.”
The Seahawks’ first of three minicamp practices took place on a cool day when brisk winds kicked up white caps on the adjacent Lake Washington.
Some quick post-practice observations:
▪ Defensive end Chris Clemons made his first appearance after missing the OTA phase of the off-season. Clemons, now 34, still looks lean and quick. Coach Pete Carroll cited Clemons as “a real savvy” veteran who will be a good influence for young players -- particularly second-year end Frank Clark. “I don’t think Frank could get a better guy to watch.”
▪ Speaking of Clark, Bennett said he has been amazed by his improvement. Clark, he said, will turn into a $100 million player in the NFL. “He’s one of the most talented players I’ve seen.”
▪ Heading into the final two days before the team breaks until training camp, Carroll said he sees “nothing but good things … going to camp I feel like we’re going to have a very competitive roster.”
▪ The tryout that the Hawks gave former Washington and NBA basketball player Nate Robinson did not result in a signing. “He looked really quick,” Carroll said. “He’s an amazing athlete.” He said that Robinson will continue to study his option.
▪ Members of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team were on-hand to watch practice.
▪ Carroll said receiver Paul Richardson, now healthy, “clocked as fast as he’s ever been for us.”
▪ The strongside linebacker spot vacated by Bruce Irvin’s departure to the Oakland Raiders is “wide open,” Carroll said. Mike Morgan, Cassius Marsh and Eric Pinkins are all seeing action there.
▪ Kam Chancellor talked about his role as a leader on the team. Carroll sees that growth, too. “He’s been awesome, such a great leader for us,” Carroll said. “Kam’s got a big voice here. When he speaks, everybody shuts up.”
▪ Carroll was coy when asked about any under-the-radar young players who have stood out thus far. “We’ve done it well again with signing free agents,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to give away too much to other teams who might be interested down the road.
▪ Rookie tight end Nick Vannett hasn’t been able to prove his abilities as a blocker, since there has been no padded practices with contact, but he’s impressed the staff with his ability as a receiver.
“He’s surprised us,” Carroll said. “He’s a very natural catcher. Russell (Wilson) already is showing trust in working the ball his way.”