RENTON – When Tarvaris Jackson arrives in Seattle and makes his way through the locker room today, he’ll see at least one familiar face from his childhood.
Seattle Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu grew up playing against the team’s newest quarterback in Alabama.
The two attended rival schools and played each other in high school, with Obomanu attending Selma High in Selma, Ala., and Jackson attending Sidney Lanier High in Montgomery, about a 30-minute drive away.
“We shared some of the same friends when he transferred to Alabama State,” Obomanu said. “A lot of my good friends played on his team and were classmates of his. So he’s a good friend of mine, so I’m looking forward to him coming in and seeing what he can do in this offense.”
Like his competition, Charlie Whitehurst, Jackson is just looking for an opportunity to show he can be a productive starter in the league, Obomanu said.
“He has a lot of ability. He has a strong arm. He’s mobile, so he can move outside the pocket,” Obomanu said. “The thing about him, he feels that he really hasn’t had the ability to really take over an offense the way that some other quarterbacks have. So that’s really what he’s looking for.”
Obomanu will be facing some stiff competition for his starting spot as well. The six-year pro finally worked his way into the regular receiver rotation with Seattle, starting six games and earning a three-year contract extension last season. But with the Seahawks signing Sidney Rice to a lucrative deal, Obomanu likely will slide over to slot receiver. Obomanu is familiar with that position, having backed up Bobby Engram three years ago when Mike Holmgren was Seattle’s coach.
“Competition is good,” Obomanu said. “I think a lot of situations will happen throughout the season where I get a chance to play. I still consider myself a starting receiver, and a guy who has the ability to make plays. So my mindset hasn’t changed. Even though I got a chance to start last year, I’ve always had to be a guy that’s had to work uphill and battle against the odds, so my mindset is pretty much the same as it’s always been.”
STILL NO DEAL FOR FREE AGENT MEBANE
As negotiations reach a fourth day, the Seahawks and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane still have not reached an agreement on a deal to keep him in Seattle.
Mebane had reportedly received interest from around the league, including Denver and New Orleans initially when free agency began Tuesday. But now reports have the Broncos cooling on the idea of signing Mebane because they don’t have enough salary cap space to bring him in.
Seattle could use Mebane in the fold, with starting nose guard Colin Cole sitting out the team’s first practice while nursing an ankle injury. Free agent Jay Alford worked with the first-team defense because Mebane and Cole were unavailable.
The Seahawks reportedly added to their defensive line late Thursday by agreeing to a contract with former Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Alan Branch. ESPN reported that Branch will sign a two-year contract for $8 million, with half of that money guaranteed.
The 6-foot-6, 324-pound Branch has started three games in four seasons.
Former NFL players, safety Tim McDonald, fullback Justin Griffith and safety Charles Mincy, are interning as assistant coaches during training camp, part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program. Griffith was Seattle’s starting fullback in 2009. … The Seahawks re-signed fullback Michael Robinson.