Monthly Archives: November 2017

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SEATTLE — Seattle Seahawks left tackle George Fant tore his ACL in his right knee during Friday’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings and will have to undergo season-ending surgery.

EDITOR’S PICKS

Bennett: Protest moment with Britt ‘special’
Justin Britt, who is white, put his arm on Michael Bennett’s shoulder as Bennett sat during the national anthem on Friday night. Bennett had called for a white player to join the protest that seeks to call attention to social injustice.
“I’m really broken-hearted about George Fant getting hurt,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Just unfortunate. He’s done so much and come so far.”

Fant suffered the injury with 8 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second quarter. He was moving backward in pass protection when teammate Justin Britt, who was on the ground, rolled into him. Fant immediately went to the ground and clutched the knee. Trainers tended to him for several minutes before carting Fant off the field.
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Fant started 10 games at left tackle last year and was going to start there again in 2017.

Carroll said earlier this summer that Fant had the best offseason of any Seahawks player. Fant bulked up from 296 pounds to 320 pounds.

After Fant’s injury, second-year player Rees Odhiambo took over at left tackle. Luke Joeckel, who has been playing left guard, could also be an option to play that spot going forward.

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RENTON, Wash. — Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was asked Thursday what it would be like for the Seattle Seahawks’ secondary to be without Richard Sherman as well as Kam Chancellor, whose status is seeming increasingly in doubt because of a neck injury.

It was a hypothetical question, but Wagner’s response was another indication that Chancellor’s absence for Monday night’s game against the visiting Atlanta Falcons — and perhaps beyond — is more of an expectation than merely a possibility.

“It’s definitely going to be weird,” Wagner said. “I’ve never played a game without Richard. He’s definitely going to be missed. But to have both of those guys missing in action is not something we’ve ever had to deal with, but I think it’s something that we’re prepared for. We can hold it down until at least one of them gets back. The other one might take a while.”

The “other one” in this case is Sherman, whose streak of 105 consecutive regular-season appearances and 99 straight starts to begin his career will come to an end after he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in last week’s victory over Arizona. Sherman underwent surgery Wednesday, a procedure performed in Green Bay, Wisconsin, by Dr. Robert Anderson. Coach Pete Carroll said things went as planned but that it’s too early to know if Sherman will be available by the start of next training camp.

Chancellor, meanwhile, left the Arizona game on the Cardinals’ final possession. Carroll said he suffered neck stingers — plural — but had no further update Thursday on Chancellor’s status, saying he’s still undergoing testing. Chancellor was absent from Thursday’s practice.

Carroll didn’t rule out the possibility it could be a long-term issue.

“Don’t know that yet,” Carroll said. “I don’t know that yet. I’ve only communicated with him. We’ll see him later. I don’t know anything yet.”

Sherman conducted a Q&A from a post-op hospital bed Thursday and said of Chancellor: “Kam’s hanging in there, man. He’s keeping his head up. He’s just trying to figure it out right now.”

The Seahawks placed defensive end Cliff Avril on injured reserve last month because of what the team described as neck stingers.

Bradley McDougald would start for Chancellor at strong safety. McDougald is Seattle’s primary backup at both safety spots. He started the past two games at free safety, but Earl Thomas is expected to be back this week from his hamstring injury. Thomas was a limited participant Thursday.

“We’re very fortunate to have Bradley,” Carroll said. “He’s played great. The whole time he’s been trained at both spots. It’s no big deal at all for him to play strong safety versus free safety, so he’ll jump right in there.”

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Here’s a look at the first half of the season for the Seattle Seahawks and a preview of what to expect in the second half:

First-half snapshot: The first half of Seattle’s season has followed a familiar pattern, with strong quarterback play and a mostly dominant defense allowing the Seahawks to win games despite a young and often overmatched offensive line. One difference: This Seattle offense hasn’t been able to mount much of a running game like some of its predecessors did despite being challenged up front. Fortunately for the Seahawks, Russell Wilson, Seattle’s passing game and the Legion of Boom have been able to pick up the slack. At 5-3, the Seahawks have the same number of victories they’ve averaged at the midpoint of every season since 2012. Grade: Average.

Midseason MVP: There’s a case to be made for a member of Seattle’s defense, which carried the team through stretches of offensive inconsistency. Free safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner are all having All-Pro-caliber seasons, but Wilson gets the first-half MVP nod here. He has led two winning touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and is on pace to approach his career high in touchdown passes. After ankle and knee injuries reduced his mobility last season, Wilson is back to making plays with his legs, something he has needed to do behind an offensive line that has again struggled to protect him.

NFL midseason content
• Nation: Best players, moments for all 32 teams
• 32 votes on NFL’s major awards: Wentz, Watson among winners
• Barnwell’s awards: My picks for MVP, best rookies, more
Best moment: The finish to Seattle’s 41-38 win against Houston in Week 8. Deshaun Watson was incredible while throwing for more than 400 yards and repeatedly beating Seattle’s defense deep, but Wilson was even better, especially as he led an 80-yard touchdown drive to win after Seattle took over with no timeouts and 1:39 left. Paul Richardson made a fantastic adjustment to haul in a 48-yard catch, and then Wilson found Tyler Lockett for 19 yards and hit a wide-open Jimmy Graham for the game winner. “He never stopped fighting,” Sherman said of Wilson, who had thrown an interception on the previous drive. “He stayed poised, the offense executed, and they won the game for us. They bailed us out. They bailed us out in a big way.”
Worst moment: Dishonorable mention goes to the second half of Seattle’s 33-27 loss to Tennessee in Week 3, when the Seahawks’ defense was uncharacteristically gashed for three long touchdowns on three straight possessions. The worst moment came when running back Chris Carson went down with an ankle injury a week later. The rookie seventh-round pick had beaten Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy to be Seattle’s starter. He’s on injured reserve while recovering from ankle surgery and might not be able to return to finish a rookie season that began with a lot of promise.

Second-half outlook: The acquisition of Duane Brown in a trade with Houston gave Seattle a significant upgrade at left tackle. One player can make only so much of a difference, but Brown — a three-time Pro Bowl selection — should help mitigate some of the issues in pass protection and run blocking that had held Seattle’s offense back. The Seahawks are in good shape for another playoff run. They have a road victory over the Rams, who look like the only legitimate threat to keep Seattle from winning the NFC West for the fourth time in five seasons, and the rest of the conference is wide open. That Brown trade and the one Seattle made for Sheldon Richardson suggested a level of urgency to win now. With their biggest weakness addressed and a clear path to a home playoff game, the Seahawks are in position to do so.

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SEATTLE — Michael Bennett once again sat during the national anthem before the Seattle Seahawks preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. But this time, he had company, with Justin Britt standing next to him.

Britt put his arm on Bennett’s left shoulder during the anthem. Afterward, the teammates embraced.

“I want to support him,” Britt said after the Seahawks’ 20-13 win. “I want to support what he stands for and his beliefs. I’m not foolish. I’m from Missouri. I get that things are different in that area than they are in some other areas. I’m not against what the flag means and veterans. My dad was in the Army. So I’m not putting any disrespect to them. I’m just trying to understand the issues, trying to educate myself more in that regard and showing support.

“And I’m going to continue to understand what’s going on in the world and why it’s happening. Because none of it’s right. None of it’s what should be happening. I’m going to continue talking with Mike and exploring and just helping myself understand things. I wanted to take a first step tonight. And that’s what I felt like I did.”

EDITOR’S PICKS

Russell Wilson, Kasen Williams among Seahawks’ standouts vs. Vikings
Russell Wilson was sharp in a 20-13 Seattle win Friday, and Kasen Williams caught one of the QB’s touchdown passes to continue a strong preseason.

Seahawks LT Fant injures ACL, will miss 2017
Seahawks offensive tackle George Fant will need surgery for an ACL injury and miss the 2017 season, head coach Pete Carroll said.

Seahawks’ Walsh: Ex-teammates taunted me
Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh, formerly of the Vikings, said his ex-teammates taunted him from the sidelines during the teams’ preseason game Friday. Asked what the Vikings were saying to him, Walsh said, “Nothing I can repeat here. That’s for sure.”
Bennett first sat during the national anthem before the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend. He said that the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, were a tipping point for him and that he wanted to use his platform to promote justice and equality.

Earlier this week, on ESPN’s SC6, Bennett called for a white player to join the protest that seeks to call attention to social injustice.

Britt, who is white, said those words affected him.

“What Mike said, and how he said a white player should do it, that kind of triggered in my mind, because I see what’s going on,” Britt said. “We all do. And we all have choices whether to be an example or be a follower. I always tell kids: Don’t be a follower. Be the one they’re following. So whether it’s good or bad in some eyes, I feel like I’m just supporting my teammate, supporting why he’s doing it and his reasons, and trying to encourage others.”

Bennett said he was touched by Britt’s support.

“A very emotional moment to have that kind of solidarity from someone like Justin Britt, who’s a known leader in our locker room, who’s from a different part of America than me,” Bennett said. “But to be able to have that solidarity and to be able to have somebody who is behind me and know that it’s someone that I really trust, and to see him put everything on the line to support one of his teammates, I thought that was a very special moment.”
Seahawks lineman Michael Bennett, seated, had called on a white player to join his continuing protest of the national anthem. Before Friday’s preseason game, center Justin Britt stood alongside Bennett in support. AP Photo/Scott Eklund
Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane stood close to Britt and Bennett on Friday night. He had his back to the field and the flag during the anthem. During last year’s preseason, Lane sat for the national anthem to show support for Colin Kaepernick.

This was the second straight night an NFL preseason game had this type of gesture. Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Chris Long put his hand on Malcolm Jenkins’ shoulder while the anthem played before the team’s preseason win over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.

Britt said he approached Bennett beforehand to make sure he was OK with what he wanted to do. Britt said he might sit with Bennett in the future.

Pete Carroll didn’t see the gesture, but he heard about it and said he was proud of his players.
“I think in this time that we’re facing, this is more important than ever,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of growth that needs to take place for us to accomplish the change that needs to be dealt with. It’s absolutely imperative that guys from both sides of the fence come together and learn and be open and support. And these guys are going to show you that. They’re working at it. They understand that there’s issues and concerns that we have difficulty talking about. But I know our team is working at it, and they’re determined to try and make things better by the way they all share their own connection and learn how to make statements and understand and be respectful towards one another.

“I particularly like that that was the illustration. It warmed my heart to hear that that’s what happened. Those guys got some brains. They’re thinking about it. They’re thinking about it very seriously. This is not just some frivolous thing where somebody made a mistake and sat down. This is guys working at it and guys trying to figure out how to help and how to make some sense for other people too. We’re just a football team, but our guys care, and I’m really proud of them.”