There’s no more ‘T.J.’ in Cincinnati

Renton – You can’t blame receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh for still holding on to some lingering fondness for his former football home, Cincinnati.

“I still catch myself when I talk about the Bengals saying ‘we’, ” Houshmandzadeh said about Cincinnati, where he played his first eight seasons in the NFL before signing a $40 million deal with Seattle this offseason. “Slowly but surely, that will get out of there.”

His new team, the Seattle Seahawks, on Sunday wrapped up a three-day mandatory minicamp that included the team’s rookie draft picks and free agent pickups.

Houshmandzadeh was the recipient of several, well-thrown balls from veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck as Seattle worked on red-zone offense on the final day of camp.

Houshmandzadeh is developing a nice rapport with his new quarterback as they continue to work on the little things as Seattle inches toward the training camp in late July.

“I’ve caught plenty of balls throughout the week, it’s just that in the red zone you score touchdowns,” Houshmandzadeh said. “So that’s always fun. And so I just thought it was good.

“Maybe today guys’ energy might have been higher because it’s the last day. I just thought it was fun. I think being here these last three days, I think we can be pretty good, I really do.”

Another person pleased to see Houshmandzadeh perform well was Seattle head coach Jim Mora. As defensive backs coach last season, Mora may have been cringing, watching Houshmandzadeh dissect his secondary with his precise route-running. But now that he’s the head coach, Mora could sit back and enjoy the work.

Mora would like to see the relationship between his top two offensive weapons continue to blossom.

“They’re two veterans and they’re both very smart players,” Mora said. “They know the game, and they’ve just got to get a feel for each other. And really that’s what the next couple months are for.

“If they can go into training camp in kind of the mode of, ‘Let’s refine things and hone things,’ that would be perfect for us. And I know T.J. is committed to being here during the offseason, and Matt (Hasselbeck is) always here. So I think that will give them a chance to really work together and continue to gel.”

With the three-day minicamp complete, Mora said the Seahawks will move into organized team activities starting with the veterans Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Afterward, the veterans will get a week off. The rookies will come back May 17 and stick around until a couple weeks before training camp.

Mora said the weekend camp was a good opportunity to see what the rookies can do, and also a chance for them to get a taste of what the NFL is like.

“They have an understanding now of the tempo of our practices,” Mora said. “How we meet. How we install. What we’re going to expect of them, and I think you will see some guys that can handle it, and then you’ll see some guys that can’t. And that’s just the process of elimination in pro football.”

Extra points

The Seahawks finished with 77 players on the field on Sunday. Defensive tackle Colin Cole did not practice but was out on the field. Linebacker Adam Leonard, safety Jamar Adams and receiver Tony Washington were not on the field Sunday. Defensive end Baraka Atkins and Nate Burleson returned to action after sitting out a day. … Players who sat out the entire weekend include DE Brandon Miller (wrist), WR Michael Bumpus (foot), CB Kelly Jennings (shoulder), LB D.D. Lewis (knee), OT Walter Jones (knee), OG Mike Wahle (shoulder), FB Justin Griffith (knee), WR Deion Branch (knee) and DL Cory Redding.

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437">