Backup QB candidates display wares for Hawks

Staff writerApril 9, 2013 

The competition to back up Russell Wilson heated up this week, with the Seattle Seahawks hosting a quartet of veteran signal-callers at the team’s Renton headquarters on Monday.

Seneca Wallace, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn and Tyler Thigpen all participated in structured workouts in front of the team’s coaching staff and scouts, with the hopes of earning a contract to compete for a reserve quarterback role on the team’s final roster.

The Seahawks are looking for a replacement for Matt Flynn, who was traded to Oakland last week. Seattle already brought back practice squad quarterback Josh Portis on a two-year deal.

Wallace, 32, is a familiar face, having served in a similar role for the first five years of his NFL career with the Seahawks, backing up Matt Hasselbeck from 2005-09.

The Seahawks traded Wallace for a seventh-round choice in 2010 to Cleveland, where Wallace served mostly as a backup to Colt McCoy.

At 5-11 and 196 pounds, the cat-quick, strong-armed Wallace probably has the skill set most akin to Wilson, and is capable of running Seattle’s read option offense. He has a 6-15 career record as an NFL starter.

Leinart, 29, was the No. 10 overall pick by Arizona in the 2006 draft out of USC, but washed out with the Cardinals and was released at the end of training camp in September 2010.

Leinart was signed by Houston days later, and he served as the backup to Matt Schaub. Leinart agreed to a two-year, $5.5 million deal with the Texans after receiving some interest from Seattle in free agency in 2011.

Released by the Texans in March 2012, Leinart signed with Oakland two months later and served as the backup to Carson Palmer last season. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-hander is 8-10 as starter, and has some familiarity with the West Coast offense from his college days under Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Quinn, 28, was drafted No. 22 overall by Cleveland in 2007, but never developed into a franchise quarterback for the Browns. At 6-4 and 232 pounds, Quinn served as a backup for Tim Tebow in Denver during the Broncos’ 2011 postseason run, and for Matt Cassel in Kansas City last season. Quinn is 4-16 as an NFL starter.

Thigpen, 28, was a seventh-round pick by Minnesota in 2007. Released by the Vikings during final roster cuts, Kansas City claimed him off waivers a day later.

At 6-1 and 218 pounds, Thigpen is an impressive athlete who can run some of the read option elements of Seattle’s offense. Thigpen started 11 games for Kansas City in 2008, but spent the past two seasons as the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Buffalo. He has a 1-11 record as a starter.

The Seahawks have not made a decision on which, if any, quarterback would be added to the fold, but the team did add someone involved in the workout – receiver Brett Swain.

Seattle signed the San Diego State product to a two-year deal. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, Swain was a seventh-round draft choice by the Packers in 2008 during Seahawks general manager John Schneider’s time in Green Bay.

Swain, 27, caught six passes for Green Bay in 2010, and hauled in two receptions while with San Francisco in 2011. Swain was cut by the 49ers during training camp last year.

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

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