Irvin shorn, perhaps reborn after bad news

eric.williams@thenewstribune.comMay 21, 2013 

RENTON — After his latest transgression, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin is hitting the reset button.

And part of that process was recently shaving his trademark dreadlocks into a closely cropped haircut before Seattle began its first organized team activity practice on Monday.

Irvin’s change in appearance did not go unnoticed by his teammates.

“You know I had to give him a hard time,” fellow defensive lineman Red Bryant said. “He looks totally different without the dreads. But he said he wanted a fresh start, which I can identify with. And he just felt like he was at the point of his life where he wanted to try something new.”

Now, Irvin hopes to achieve a fresh start on the field as well, after the recent announcement by the league that he’s been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.

Irvin was not made available to reporters on Monday, so coach

Pete Carroll and Irvin’s teammates were left to do the talking.

“I just let him know that we’re supporting him, and we’re behind him,” Bryant said. “And let him know that you’re going to move forward from a mistake. He took full responsibility.”

Carroll, while disappointed in Irvin’s actions, said he will continue to support Irvin.

“Unfortunately if you go wrong, you get popped,” Carroll said. “And that’s how this thing works. And I’m really disappointed that we have to deal with anything like this. But there’s going to be other issues, too. And we have to deal with them.”

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was understanding that Irvin made an error in judgment, but also acknowledged that players have to be held accountable for their actions.

“We’ve got to make the right decisions as players,” Wilson said. “It’s up to us to make the right decision at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what the coaches say positively, negatively – whatever – we have to make the decision as players.

“And I think we’ll definitely do that. One thing is, we have to continue to be leaders in the locker room and make sure everybody knows that’s unacceptable.”

Carroll tried to address growing concerns nationally that he’s running a rogue program. Irvin gives the Seahawks a league-high seven players to test positive for a performance-enhancing substance during the Seattle coach’s tenure.

Cornerback Richard Sherman had his penalty reversed because of a chain-of-custody issue during the collection of his urine sample.

According to NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello, the Seahawks could be fined for having multiple players suspended in a season for violating the drug, steroid or personal conduct policies.

“There are financial consequences for a team that has multiple players suspended in a season under those policies,” Aiello told the league’s website.

The Seahawks could fall under the league’s remittance policy because multiple players have been suspended for violating banned substance rules in the past year. The result could be Seattle being fined a portion of the salaries the suspended players would have been paid based on an agreed-upon formula.

“We have to figure this out and try to help through education and through all of the ways we can,” Carroll said. “And we’ll always compete to find more creative ways to make the message clear.”

Meanwhile, Carroll has to figure out a way to replace Irvin’s production on the field.

The team’s leading sack guy the past three seasons, Chris Clemons, was not in attendance on Monday because he’s in Georgia rehabbing from ACL knee surgery.

Irvin was Clemons’ replacement, but he won’t be available while he sits out the first four games.

And defensive end Cliff Avril, one of the team’s big splashes in free agency, did not practice because of a plantar fascia injury in his foot, which Carroll indicated he injured four weeks ago.

So is Avril’s injury serious?

“Well, it hurts,” joked Carroll. “You could ask him about it. The plantar fascia thing is a real uncomfortable thing. You just have to wait it out. … He runs some this week for the first time. So it will take another couple weeks at least.”

Bryant and tight end Zach Miller had to deal with a torn plantar fascia in their feet during the second half of last season.

“It’s definitely going to be an opportunity for other guys to step in and have a big role for us,” Bryant said. “That’s the National Football League. That’s no different than a guy you’re counting on getting injured, and you have to move on.

“You recognize the issue, and then the next guy’s got to step up.”

PORTIS ARRESTED FOR DUI

Seahawks backup quarterback Josh Portis is running out of lives.

The third-year pro was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on May 5.

Portis has an arraignment hearing scheduled at the Redmond courthouse on May 28.

According to the police report, a Washington State Patrol officer pulled Portis over at 9:26 p.m. on May 5 after observing him driving a 2008 Range Rover 80 mph a 60 mph zone exiting the Mount Baker tunnel on eastbound Interstate 90.

Per the report, Portis initially refused to take a breath test on site. But the arresting officer smelled the odor of intoxicants coming from his car and noted his eyes were watery and bloodshot. Portis, who repeatedly denied he had been drinking, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

He later submitted to two blood tests, registering a blood-alcohol reading of .092 and .078. The legal limit in the state of Washington is .080. Portis has been charged with a gross misdemeanor.

Portis is in competition for the backup quarterback job with Brady Quinn and Jerrod Johnson. The 25-year-old signal-caller was released from the practice squad last November and then re-signed to the 90-man roster in April.

EXTRA POINTS

They’re called voluntary for a reason. Along with defensive end Clemons, running back Marshawn Lynch did not attend Monday’s voluntary workout. However, Carroll said that Lynch was at the team’s facility 10 days ago and appeared to be in good shape. “He’s working on a really intense program in his area,” Carroll said. “And he’s benefitting from it. But we’d love to see everybody here.” … The Seahawks announced that running back Christine Michael, the team’s second-round draft choice, agreed to a multi-year deal. Michael did not practice during the first day of OTAs because he’s nursing a tight hamstring. Cornerback Tharold Simon, a fifth-round draft choice, and offensive tackle Michael Bowie (seventh) are the only draft picks for Seattle who remain unsigned. … The Seahawks re-signed tight end Darren Fells and released long snapper Adam Steiner, whom Seattle claimed off waivers from Oakland last week.

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

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