by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - Though Monday was the first chance for the entire Seattle Seahawks roster to be on the field together, off-field issues overshadowed the first Organized Team Activity of the offseason.
Six Seahawks have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs over the last three seasons (DE Bruce Irvin, CB Richard Sherman, CB Brandon Browner, S Winston Guy, G John Moffitt, OL Allen Barbre) and two players now have ongoing DUI cases (RB Marshawn Lynch, QB Josh Portis).
Irvin was suspended for the first four games for the regular season on Friday due to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Portis, as first reported by Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, was arrested on suspicion of DUI on May 5.
With the moves made by the team this offseason to put them in position for a possible Super Bowl run, the fact that the focus of the team is on off-field issues isn't something head coach Pete Carroll is happy about.
"I'm really disappointed that we have to deal with anything like this," Carroll said.
Carroll said it's an issue they fully understand reflects poorly on the team and they intend on doing everything they can to put an end to the issues away from the football field.
"It's serious. Real serious and we need to let you know we understand that," Carroll said. "...We go beyond what the league does. We go well past what the guidelines ask us to do, as far as working with our young guys, trying to give them the direction, and trying to give them the counseling."
Carroll said that players will need to step up to fill the void left by Irvin's suspension. He said DE Cliff Avril and LB Malcolm Smith were among the first in line to be asked to step up in Irvin's absence for the first four games of the year.
Now for some on-field news...
RB Marshawn Lynch was the only player not on the practice field for the Seahawks on Monday. Though others were held out of the workouts with various injuries, Lynch was the only player not present. Lynch is instead electing to workout away from the team on his own.
The workouts are voluntary and Lynch is exercising his ability to stay to his own workout regimen in the meantime.
DE Chris Clemons and DT Greg Scruggs also were absent but are focusing on rehab work from their torn ACLs.
Avril sat out practice as he is dealing with a plantar fascia injury in his foot. Carroll didn't seem worried about the injury long-term and expects to get Avril back in a couple weeks.
"It’s something that you can come back from. It’s not a problem," Carroll said. "But you just have to wait it out. He’s real anxious to go, and he’s doing very well in his rehab. And he runs some this week for the first time. So it will take another couple weeks at least."
CB Tharold Simon (foot), TE Cooper Helfet (unknown) and G James Carpenter (knee) sat out practice. RB Christine Michael signed his contract with the team before hitting the field Monday though he was limited with a tight hamstring. TE Anthony McCoy injured his ankle during the practice.
With Michael slowed and Lynch absent, RB Robert Turbin and FB Spencer Ware saw the majority of carries for the team in the backfield.
Portis, fresh off the news of his DUI, had a really strong performance. He threw the ball strong and accurately to all part of the field.
The conversion of Irvin to strong-side linebacker appears fully underway as well. He lined up at "SAM" linebacker throughout practice as well as putting his hand on the ground in his traditional pass-rushing role.
G J.R. Sweezy took the snaps with the first-team offensive line while G John Moffitt appeared to work predominantly with the second-team.
CB Antoine Winfield was working with the first-team defense in the nickel with CB Walter Thurmond seeing time as well.
In addition to Michael signing his contract, the team announced they have re-signed TE Darren Fells and released LS Adam Steiner. Steiner was claimed off waivers from the Oakland Raiders last week.