Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Owens' workout has Seahawks dreaming
By Mike Sando
RENTON, Wash. -- Doug Baldwin, the Seattle Seahawks' leading receiver as a rookie in 2011, was among those present for Terrell Owens' workout with the team Monday.
What did the 23-year-old Baldwin see?
"4.45 40," Baldwin said Tuesday. "That is faster than my pro day and he's 38 years old."
Owens, scheduled to make his Seahawks practice debut Wednesday after signing a one-year contract, was already the talk of camp, thanks in part to that workout.
"He had crisp routes, came out of his breaks unbelievably for 38 years old," Baldwin said. "I mean, even if he was 24 years old, he would still look good. He caught everything that was thrown to him. He absorbed everything the coaches were saying to him. He is hungry to be back on the field."
Owens' pending arrival has put the Seahawks' other receivers on notice. They realize Owens' credentials dwarf their own. Though Owens did not play in 2011, his stats from 2010 -- 72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns -- exceed what any current Seattle player has contributed to the Seahawks over the past two seasons combined.
What no one can know yet is whether Owens will live up to his reputation as a high-maintenance player and potential locker room malcontent.
"We are just going to try to control it the best we can," starting receiver Sidney Rice said. "We're not here to critique anybody. We're welcoming the guy here. We're not going to talk bad about him or anything like that. We're going to try to keep him comfortable in the locker room and get out here on the field as much as possible and make plays for us."
There is little risk for now. The team can release Owens at any point before the first week of the season without salary-cap ramifications. There's enough time before the regular-season opener for Seattle to figure out where Owens fits -- if he fits -- without compromising game plans or receiving rotations.
"He's going to come in and we're going to welcome him with open arms and he is going to see how we treat our players here, how we treat our teammates," Baldwin said. "I don't think it's going to be an issue at all."
Seattle needs a big body at wide receiver.
Mike Williams filled that role until injuries sidelined him and weight concerns resurfaced. Braylon Edwards, signed last week, fits that mold. Owens would have to be the favorite, however, based on the speed he showed Monday. The time he ran was faster than the one Owens posted coming out of college to San Francisco in 1996, when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was finishing a three-year run as the 49ers' defensive coordinator.
"I saw him at the start when it was just raw bones, a young man trying to make the club," Carroll said. "It is interesting how he is. He is extremely hungry, and he is humbled. He is determined to finish his career on a good note."
Also interesting: how Carroll phrased things. He sounded as if he already knew Owens would factor for his team.
"He is famous for his work ethic," Carroll said of Owens. "Adding that to our football team and letting our guys see what he is like will help everybody this season."
Owens hadn't even stepped on the practice field and already Carroll was referring to how Owens would impact the team beyond these next few weeks of camp. That's the kind of confidence a 4.45-second time can inspire.
"I put a lot of pressure on him," Carroll said. "He'd better cook when he gets here, which he will. I know he will because we worked him out the other day and his workout was phenomenal. You would not be able to imagine a guy could work out that well."
Carroll and general manager John Schneider have eagerly collected former first-round picks from other teams. They've added Owens, Edwards, tight end Kellen Winslow and running back Marshawn Lynch to the offense. Robert Gallery, since released and now retired, was another highly drafted offensive player Seattle employed under the Carroll-Schneider tenure. Williams was another one.
A few others, notably Reggie Williams and LenDale White, failed to stick around long enough to factor. Their experiences show Carroll and Schneider will quickly move on from a talented player when the fit isn't right.
"I think it just becomes a matter of, as long as everyone is on the same page, which is winning for the Seahawks and all else is out the window, this could be a heckuva move for everyone involved," Edwards said.
Owens is different from White, Mike Williams and some of the other attempted reclamation projects, however. Owens has always produced on the field. He's always competed hard. He's played through injuries. He's also gotten into locker room fights. He has undermined quarterbacks, including Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. This time, Owens has to know he's about out of second chances. He has to make this one work, or he's likely done.
Carroll was asked whether one player could wreck a locker room.
"That’s not even a topic around here," Carroll said. "Our team is so strong and our guys are so together and our message and what we stand for and all of that. There’s no one guy that’s going to do that to this football team, not even close.
"We're a bunch of young guys growing, and if some older guys want to fit into it, they’re going to have to do it our way. That was a really clear statement to Terrell and he knows what he’s getting into."