Irvin gets taste of transition before ban

eric.williams@thenewstribune.comAugust 25, 2013 

Hobbled during most of training camp, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin used the art of persuasion to get on the field against Green Bay on Friday.

Irvin had been out since Aug. 4 with a lingering hamstring injury but returned to practice last week. And after a good workout with the team’s training staff before the game, the West Virginia product sought out coach Pete Carroll.

“Me being a football player, I just want to play,” Irvin said. “I wasn’t even supposed to play (Friday), but I talked to Pistol Pete (Carroll) and he pulled some strings and got me in there. So I was appreciative of my few reps, and I’m looking forward to next week.”

Irvin played a handful of snaps at his new position, outside linebacker, including a 5-yard tackle for a loss where he sliced through Green Bay’s offensive line to bring down DuJuan Harris.

“He got a couple shots,” Carroll said about Irvin. “So that was great. We just wanted to get him on the practice field. The pregame warm-up was as important as anything, that he would get those reps.

“He had seven plays, I think it was. We were shooting for 10, and we just said, ‘That’s enough.’ We just wanted to get a look at him so he could come back, have something on film and get ready for next week’s game. And we’ll play him a ton next week.”

A lot of talk during training camp centered on Irvin’s transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. Irvin led all rookies in sacks last season with eight as a part-time player. But the move to outside linebacker offers a chance for Irvin to earn more time as an every-down player, similar to Denver’s Von Miller.

“It’s almost the same thing,” Irvin said. “They try to keep me on the ball as much as possible. Pretty much the difference is covering receivers, rerouting receivers and covering backs out the backfield.

“I think I’m pretty athletic. I think I can cover a back or a tight end. So I’ve got this game next week (against Oakland). And then I’ve got to sit out these four games (for failing a drug test). But hopefully when I come back I can compete, and get a chance to play.”

Irvin said the position change is different, but it has been made easier because he played safety early in his college career at Mt. San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, Calif.

“It helps me a lot, especially with understanding coverages,” he said. “It just refreshes your memory. It isn’t as difficult as safety, but it’s more responsibility than defensive end. So I’m looking forward to the challenge, and hopefully I’ll have a great year.”

Irvin also understands the start of his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy for performance-enhancing drugs looms.

Irvin’s suspension was announced in March. He may not attend games or visit the team’s facility during the first four weeks of the regular season. The Seahawks likely will place Irvin on the suspended list, meaning he will not count against the 53-man roster until he’s activated after serving his ban.

Irvin reportedly tested positive for an amphetamine-type substance similar to Adderall.

“It’s tough,” Irvin said. “It’s a learning experience, but it could be worse. That’s how I look at it. There’s people out here with way worse situations than me. Hopefully, the four games go by fast.

“It’s going to kill me watching these guys, but I’m just going to work my tail off, so when I get back I can do my part and contribute.”

EXTRA POINTS

Running back Christine Michael leads the league in rushing during preseason play with 186 yards on 27 carries, including a 43-yard scoring run. Michael averages a healthy 13.5 yards per carry. … Receiver Stephen Williams leads the NFL in receiving yards, with six catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Williams averages 31 yards per catch. … Safety Kam Chancellor is third in the league in tackles with 16. … The Seahawks have Sunday off but will resume practice Monday. The deadline for the team to cut down from a 90-man roster to 75 players is 1 p.m. (PDT) on Tuesday, two days before the team’s final exhibition game against Oakland at CenturyLink Field.

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

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