Bright lights of New York still reach New Jersey

seahawks: Despite playing the Giants in the shadow of the Big Apple, those who have been there before say just treat it like any game

October 7, 2011 

RENTON – Pete Carroll is in a New York state of mind.

Or, maybe it’s more like New Jersey?

“I asked how many of our guys have played in New York,” Carroll told reporters this week. “And a few guys raised their hands, and I said, ‘Well, we’re playing in New Jersey.’ ”

Yes, Pete, we understand the New York Giants’ new digs, MetLife Stadium, actually is in East Rutherford, N.J., seven miles west of midtown Manhattan.

Still, it’s the first time a Carroll-led NFL team will play in the New York area since his return to the league last year.

Carroll served as head coach of the New York Jets in 1994. The team had a 6-10 record and finished last in the AFC East.

“No matter what sport you’re in, when you play in New York it’s a cool thing,” Carroll said. “It just always has been because of the great history and the tradition of those games. … It was great to be there coaching there and competing there, and it’s great to go back and battle with them.”

Another Seattle player returning to his former stomping grounds is running back Leon Washington. Secured by Seattle in a draft-day trade with the Jets in 2010, Washington returns to the place where he first showcased his electric playmaking ability as a pro. He played four years for New York and earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2008.

“Back in New York, I have a bunch of friends still there, so I’ll have a few people there to see me play,” Washington said. “It’s always fun playing there because there’s a lot of attention.”

Washington said he’ll tell his current teammates one thing about playing under the intense media scrutiny of New York: Treat it like any other game.

“As far as the loudness of the stadium, the Giants’ fans have … had season tickets forever, so they don’t really get as (loud) as the Jets’ fans,” Washington said. “So I don’t think the crowd noise will play a significant role compared to what we get (in Seattle). So it’s just a regular game – go out and play.”

However, the game against the Giants is a true homecoming for the Brooklyn-born Anthony Hargrove. The Seattle defensive lineman grew up a New York Mets fan, with dreams of taking the mound as a professional pitcher – like one of his favorite players growing up, Dwight Gooden.

“When I was growing up I always thought I was going to become a baseball player,” Hargrove said. “That’s one thing you always hear people talking about is baseball there. You don’t hear too much about football. The 1990s Mets – Bobby Bonilla, Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry – all of those guys, that was my team back then.”

Hargrove said he’s played in New York several times in his eight seasons in the league, and he expects some family members to attend the game.

“I still have cousins, grandmas and aunts that live up there,” Hargrove said. “So it’s another chance for them to come and see me play.”

TRUFANT’S BACK BALKY

The Seahawks got a couple of guys back to practice on Thursday, but also lost a key member from the defense for at least a day.

Tight end Zach Miller (knee) and Hargrove (hamstring) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday’s repetitions. But cornerback Marcus Trufant (back) did not practice.

Trufant played in every game last season but suffered a serious concussion in the NFC playoff loss in Chicago. So far, he has played well this season.

In 2009 Trufant was limited to 10 games because of a back injury that flared up during training camp. So the Seahawks are taking a cautious approach with their 30-year-old veteran cornerback.

Rookie Richard Sherman worked with the first unit in Trufant’s place.

“It was a situation with Tru where we felt like we could get Richard in there,” said Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. “Richard’s got to be able to play corner for us, nickel for us, so we’ve got to get him up to speed. And this time of year, you see guys get nicked up, and we just feel like we’ve got to bring those younger guys along and get them more reps on the field.”

INJURIES

Along with Trufant, receiver Mike Williams (concussion) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring) did not practice. Safety Kam Chancellor (quad) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) were limited particpants in practice. And offensive lineman Robert Gallery (groin) remains out.

For New York, cornerback Prince Amukamura (foot), center David Baas (neck) and running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) did not practice. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (ribs), defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee), linebacker Michael Boley (knee) and defensive end Justin Tuck (groin/neck) were limited.

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

SUNDAY

Seattle (1-3) at N.Y. Giants (3-1), 10 a.m., Ch. 13, 1240-AM, 1030-AM, 97.3-FM

NFL notes, B6

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