Friday, September 3, 2010
On parting with T.J. Houshmandzadeh
By Mike Sando
A year ago, the Seattle Seahawks might never have guessed that T.J. Houshmandzadeh would prove more expendable than Deion Branch.
Houshmandzadeh's expected departure from the Seahawks after one 79-catch season shows -- again -- that the Seahawks are serious about pruning their roster and rebulding with their own players.
Houshmandzadeh does not fit into the team's long-term plans. Neither did cornerback Josh Wilson. And because the Seahawks are anxious to try out fresh talent at those players' positions, they're pushing Houshmandzadeh and Wilson out the door ahead of schedule.
Those who have followed the Seahawks for years will recall former coach Mike Holmgren parting with Ahman Green, Sam Adams, Phillip Daniels, Joey Galloway, Pete Kendall and others during the early stages of his Seattle tenure. The team didn't necessarily have adequate replacements lined up, but Holmgren had in some cases decided to move on anyway (he regretted losing Daniels).
New Seattle bosses Pete Carroll and John Schneider didn't inherit players as talented as the ones Holmgren pushed out, but Houshmandzadeh was the Seahawks' most proven receiver, and Wilson had been a playmaker. A team's new leaders can sometimes be so eager to reshape a roster that they're willing to make short-term personnel sacrifices. In this case, Carroll and Schneider might not think they're sacrificing anything at all. They simply inherited a team that had only nine victories to show for its past two seasons.
Houshmandzadeh's departure clears the way for Mike Williams to build upon what has the potential to become an all-time great career revival. Pushing out Houshmandzadeh also removes from the locker room a strong personality -- one unafraid to complain about his role. Williams, Golden Tate and Deon Butler in particular have shown promise this summer. The Seahawks also tried to acquire Brandon Marshall and they've looked into Vincent Jackson, so there's a chance the team isn't finished reshaping that position.
The Seahawks will lose their most proven receiver and a player whose on-field rapport with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck appeared markedly better than when they first started working together. But they'll be one step closer to fulfilling their long-term vision, and that is the priority.