RENTON, Wash. (KOIN) — For the first time in a decade, a familiar face was not in attendance for the first day of the Seahawks training camp, and that familiar face not being there meant that the Seahawks were also in the midst of their first quarterback battle since 2012.
With Russell Wilson’s departure, Seattle’s quarterback battle officially began with Drew Lock and Geno Smith on Wednesday.
Smith has been with the Seahawks the last two years and saw mixed results last season when he had to start three games after Wilson injured his finger. Meanwhile, Lock lost the Denver starting job last year to Teddy Bridgewater.
Let’s be frank, this isn’t the coolest quarterback battle of all time, but it’s what the Seahawks currently have, and head coach Pete Carroll was effusive for both quarterbacks at Wednesday’s press conference.
“Geno, we’ve known that for years that he was talented while he was playing behind Russ. When he had his chance last year to get going, he’d been on ice for quite a while, he did some great things, and we can see it. We saw it through the offseason as well. Drew had a very, very good offseason with us. He’s just behind in learning, so he’s catching up, but he’s a very talented football player,” said Carroll, who also said that he will not put a timeline out publicly of when he wants to choose his QB. “Geno’s in the lead right now. He’s ahead, and he ain’t looking back. He’s going for it. And Drew’s not going to take a backseat, so something’s going to happen.”
Someone who was at practice on Wednesday but did not physically participate was DK Metcalf. Carroll confirmed that Metcalf is not injured, so it certainly appears he is holding out due to contract negotiations. Metcalf’s contract is up next year, so he is seeking an extension, and it’s reported he’s wanting a four-year, $100 million deal.
Carroll was pretty short in terms of all questions asked about Metcalf on Wednesday but did say that they are working on a contract for the wide receiver.
Another noticeably missing player on Wednesday was running back Chris Carson.
On Tuesday, news broke that Carson was retiring after issues with his neck caused him to fail his physical. Carson only played in four games last season and had to have fusion surgery in December.
The Seahawks drafted Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III during the second round of the NFL Draft this year, to which many people sneered due to the Seahawks having both Carson and Rashaad Penny on their roster. Now, that move makes a lot more sense.
“It was a shame,” said Carroll. “The whole offseason, we were talking to Chris the whole time, and we were all trying to keep good thoughts that it was going to come through and change and each one of the marker days that we took notes, it didn’t change, and it didn’t get better. The last time we hit it was probably about a month ago, and he hadn’t made any progress then, so he’s had some time to process this that it’s coming. He worked like crazy to do it. He was going for it the whole way, but as he said yesterday, ‘I’ve had time to deal with it, and I’m okay about it,’ so he’s moving ahead.”
“He deserves all his flowers after all the stuff he’s done,” added Penny. “He set the standard of who a running back is for a Seahawks, so we all just followed what he did. I know personally, I’m going to miss him. Everybody else feels the same way about who he is as a person. I think that’s more importantly what I’m going to miss.”
In more retirement news, K.J. Wright signed a one-day contract on Wednesday so that he could retire a Seahawk.
Wright played in Seattle for 10 years, with his lone year outside of the Seahawks being last year when he played for the Raiders. He finishes his Seahawks career with 934 tackles, the third most in team history behind Bobby Wagner and Eugene Robinson.
“It was real emotional,” said Carroll. “It was emotional for all of us. It was a big deal for KJ to finally put his name on the dotted line for the last time. There was a moment there where we were looking at 11 seasons and 230 games and all the years that he played, and he was just trying to suck it up and absorb it, and he just got emotional about it, like I think he should and would. He’s a fantastic kid and been a remarkable leader and performer and all that, but above all of that, he’s a remarkable person. I hope that we can always keep them close to the program. Really glad that he’s in the area living here, and we have a bunch of guys that do live here. I’m glad he’s still kind of in the fraternity of it all, and I hope we can do more work with KJ in the future.”