|Seahawks test out new practice facility|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 06 August 2008 22:11|
The soaring symbols in the sky only added to the festive atmosphere Wednesday as the team christened its palatial practice facility on the shore of Lake Washington, south of Seattle.
``It's all good. And I hope the players know that as nice as everything is, that's not going to win us many games,'' Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. ``We have the best facility in football now and I want them to enjoy it. It's very player-friendly, but then we can't get too caught up in that. We still have a lot of hard work to do.''
A permanent move from their 22-year-old facility about 12 miles away in suburban Kirkland won't take place until Aug. 18. But for one blue sky morning, the players were treated to a sneak preview of the amenities they'll enjoy full time in less than two weeks.
``It's the best. It's a great feeling,'' said offensive tackle Walter Jones, Seattle's longest tenured player. ``I had been here with the Kingdome (and) I've been here with the new stadium, so to be able to be blessed to see this, it's great.''
The new facility features three outdoor grass fields and a three-story, 88,000-square-foot indoor practice area that dominates the horizon as motorists drive on nearby Interstate 405. The weight room has roll-up garage doors that open toward the outdoor practice fields and, as the players quickly noticed, an expansive locker room that doesn't have lockers jamming up the middle. The current locker room is 1,140 square feet; the new one, 6,700.
``We might even get to walk through the whole thing,'' cornerback Marcus Trufant said. ``I can't wait to look all through it.''
Construction of the 225,000-square-foot facility - including 124,000 square feet of administrative and training space - started in fall 2006. The team had hoped to have it ready for the start of training camp this summer, offering opportunities for fans to watch practices.
Instead, the Seahawks will move in at the end of camp, and the fans are being held off until next year. A handful of VIPs attended Wednesday's practice before a lunchtime ceremony beneath a giant ``12th Man'' flag near the lake.
``It's probably the nicest facility I've ever been in,'' quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. ``Everything about it was kind of fun and exciting.''
Seattle's first team headquarters was also located on the water, at Carillon Point in Kirkland. The team moved a few miles away to its current facility next to Northwest University in 1986.
The 19-acre Renton site is owned by Allen's Vulcan Inc. Now it's home for the Seahawks and could be a major recruiting tool for possible free agent signings.
``A lot of times you talk to a lot of free agents, and a lot of them want to see the facilities and what the team has to offer,'' Jones said.
The head coach office will be Holmgren's for one more season. He remembered being in San Francisco as an assistant when the 49ers had one practice field.
``The players' desks - it was the old-school desk. They would stick to the players as they would walk to their meetings with the desk attached to them. And the coaching staff, we had our offensive staff and coach (Bill) Walsh in one room basically,'' Holmgren said.
``It's so different, but the game has changed. The money has changed, the stadiums have changed. The NFL is a really big business and I'm very proud of our city ... (and) everyone that put this whole thing together and allowed us to do this. It's fabulous.''
Notes: LB Wesly Mallard was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a knee injury. Seattle signed DB Derrick Johnson to fill Mallard's roster spot, but he had an ice bag on his foot midway through the morning session and wasn't at the afternoon practice. ... DE Patrick Kerney was wearing a protective boot on his left foot, but his injury is to the calf muscle. Holmgren believes Kerney will be back to practice in about a week. ... DB Jordan Babineaux and OL Floyd ``Pork Chop'' Womack both had MRIs on knee injuries from last weekend's scrimmage. Holmgren expects both back in seven to 10 days. ... The Seahawks returned to Kirkland for a brief afternoon practice, with all the players wearing camouflage baseball caps - except the offensive linemen. ``These are popular hats in the locker room,'' Hasselbeck said. The Seahawks open the preseason Friday at Minnesota.