Sports

For some Seahawks hopefuls, the end is coming soon

For now, all the fuss about Shaun Alexander's catch/drop ratio, about Matt Hasselbeck's greeting-or-no-greeting with E.J. Henderson, and about Steve Hutchinson's long-lamented deflection were mere subplots.

Even Saturday's final score - Seahawks 30, Vikings 13 - was a secondary storyline.

At least, that was true for the 12 third- and fourth-string Seahawks who'll get fired sometime Monday as the roster is trimmed from 87 to 75. For players on the bubble, guys such as wide receiver Ben Obomanu, center Austin King, quarterback Derek Devine and cornerback Kevin Hobbs, getting another paycheck, another chance or another week's employment was the headline story. Not what team won or lost.

"This is my least favorite time of year because you've got to make decisions on who stays and who goes," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said.

So, it was hardly a meaningless exhibition game for those risking unemployment.

Hobbs, an undrafted rookie from Auburn, made a case for employment when he returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown, showing his speed, timing and a knack for reaching the end zone. He's hoping it was a convincing argument.

"I just read the quarterback and made sure I caught it," said Hobbs, who spent last season on the Seahawks practice team. "It was my first NFL interception."

Hobbs, who is third string at right cornerback behind Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson, isn't sure if he's in or out.

"Hopefully, I'm here," Hobbs said. "Hopefully, I make it. Hopefully, I made it hard for the coaches to make a decision."

Obomanu, a seventh-round pick who was on the Seahawks' practice squad last season, did his best to convince the coaches he's worth keeping. The third-string wideout on a receiver-rich team pulled in a 57-yard touchdown.

As he came out of the huddle, Obomanu saw that the corners were playing up close.

"It was an all-go type play," Obomanu said. "I was the first option."

So far, he's been the surprise of preseason camp, catching a team-leading eight passes. He's not sure if it's enough.

"Whatever happens happens," Obomanu said. "You can't control what you can't control. Starting last year, there's been a lot of surprises for me."

He didn't expect to go as late as the seventh round.

"That put me behind the eight ball," Obomanu said. "I just can't get caught up in the numbers game. I've got to concentrate on doing my job."

Devine, another undrafted rookie, moved ahead of David Green into third string quarterback during the week but didn't get any snaps against Minnesota.

"I was prepared to play, but I wasn't expecting it," said Devine, a 23-year-old rookie from Marshall. "It's all out of my hands. You just practice hard. That's all you can do."

After the game, Holmgren said, "We have some tough decisions to make."

Marcus Tubbs, the 318-pound defensive tackle playing in first game in 10 months, wasn't the only one seemingly immune to inactivity. Roaring Seahawk fans were in midseason form.

On the first play from scrimmage, with Qwest Field rumbling as if it were the first round of the playoffs and not the first home exhibition game, Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson fumbled the center snap, pulling out too soon. Credit fan volume for the miscue and Rocky Benard for the fumble recovery.

Last year, Seahawk opponents had 26 false starts, a league best. The Seahawks Twelfth Man creates an unfriendly environment for opposing teams.

As for the game's subplots, Alexander caught the first two passes thrown his way, quieting a growing concern about his ability to catch. He dropped the two passes thrown his way in the previous two preseason games.

In the Seahawks second series of the game, Hasselbeck shared some words with Henderson, the Vikings linebacker who injured Hasselbeck's knee last season, forcing him to miss four games.

"I basically said I had no hard feelings about last year," Hasselbeck said. "Some things got into the paper. I wanted him to know I didn't hold a grudge."

Gail Wood can be reached at gwood@theolympian.com or 360-754-5443.

  Comments