Kellen Winslow, Barrett Ruud and Antonio Bryant played together for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009.
That team suffered through a 3-13 season. But one of those victories, 24-7 at Seattle in Week 15, proved pivotal for the losing team. That Seahawks defeat hastened Jim Mora's demise as head coach, helping to clear the way for Pete Carroll's hiring in early 2010.
Carroll will be on the field with Winslow, Ruud and Bryant when the Seahawks open their mandatory minicamp for veterans Tuesday.
Winslow and Ruud are under contract with Seattle. Bryant, 31 and out of the NFL since catching 39 passes for the Bucs during that 2009 season, is scheduled to participate on a tryout basis. The team could have a few extra reps for a newcomer after losing Golden Tate to a broken hand earlier in the offseason. Tate was expected to return for training camp, although a precise timetable remains unclear.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com says knee problems contributed to Bryant's layoff. La Canfora: "He was signed by the Bengals in 2010 while recovering from a knee injury and ended up being released prior to the season's start despite receiving roughly $8-million guaranteed. He never played a game for Cincinnati. Bryant, a deep threat when healthy with elite speed, has been out of the NFL since, but is healthy and in shape and at age 31 hopes to get back. In 2008 he had over 1200 yards receiving with Tampa Bay, his best season as a pro." Noted: The Seahawks improbably benefited from Mike Williams' career resurrection a couple years ago. They've got nothing to lose by bringing in Bryant for a tryout. And if they do sign him to a contract, the deal would be a modest one, giving Seattle all the leverage.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times runs through some of the off-field issues that have marked Bryant's career. O'Neil: "He has thrown a sweaty jersey into the face of Bill Parcells, then his head coach (Dallas in 2004) and during his only season with the 49ers was arrested on suspicion of DUI after allegedly driving his orange Lamborghini faster than 100 mph. He was suspended four games by the NFL, and did not play at all the following year, though he did sue the NFL regarding its right to force him to submit to drug tests."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com calls center Max Unger the leader of a constantly shuffling line. Farnsworth: "The Seahawks’ offensive line has been in an injury-induced, scheme-switching state of flux for the past four seasons – when the team has used 12 starters at left guard, 11 at right guard, nine at left tackle, five at right tackle and four at center. Nineteen of those players who have started games -- 11 of them at more than one position -- aren’t even with the team anymore."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says Tom Cable is determined to improve the Seahawks' pass protection.
Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes Rams first-round draft choice Michael Brockers as coachable and dedicated. Timmermann: "Brockers has been so focused on studying his playbook and looking at game film that he said he didn't even think to call his mother immediately after signing his four-year contract with the Rams on Thursday. He signed the papers and got back to work."
Howard Balzer does not expect to see free-agent addition Scott Wells participating in the Rams' minicamp. Balzer: "In the four OTAs open to the media since the first week, Wells not only hasn’t practiced but hasn’t even been watching. During the final OTA of the first week, Wells did not practice and was seen with his upper leg wrapped. Coach Jeff Fisher has only said when asked about Wells that he had the day off. The team website reported that Wells has been 'dealing with an injury issue' and that 'he should be fine in time for training camp.'"
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic throws a wet blanket over the approaching minicamps, noting that non-contact rules remain in place. Somers: "It will be hard to distinguish the practices from OTAs. Just like voluntary practices, players wear no pads except for helmet. There is no contact and no one-on-one drills. That means we won't see Michael Floyd, the first-round pick, isolated against cornerback Patrick Peterson. (Or if we do see that, the Cardinals would be subject to punishment by the NFL.) And we won't get to see if right tackle Bobby Massie, the fourth-round pick, can keep Sam Acho, or O'Brien Schofield, or Darnell Dockett away from the quarterback."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com passes along notes from a recent interview with team president Michael Bidwill, who has pushed for additional games on national TV.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com expects all but two 49ers to show for the team's mandatory camp. Dashon Goldson remains unsigned as the team's franchise player. Rookie LaMichael James cannot participate because his class at Oregon has not yet graduated. Also from Maiocco: "Only one 49ers practice during training camp will be open to the public due to the ongoing stadium construction at the team's training facility in Santa Clara. The 49ers will hold a public practice and 'Fan Fest' at Candlestick Park on Sunday, Aug. 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A limited number of $5 tickets and will go on sale July 2. Proceeds benefit the 49ers Foundation."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says snap counts show the 49ers' offensive line to have been exceedingly healthy last season.
Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at reasons the 49ers could -- and might not be able to -- win a championship with Alex Smith at quarterback.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Goldson appears to be staying in good condition physically.