Offensive tackle Eric Winston reported to the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, put on his helmet and went to work.
More than most, Winston understands the importance of preseason preparation. And his methods seem to work, as he has started every game for the past seven seasons — an ongoing run of 112 consecutive NFL games.
“I’d like to think I put the work in, not just in the weight room, but the training room, staying flexible, staying healthy,” Winston said. “You’re inevitably going to get caught in a pile, and if you’re not flexible something’s going to pop. I’ve gotten into some precarious situations and (been) able to kind of shake it off and walk out of the pile in one piece. I do believe it’s not just luck.”
Winston also credited zone blocking systems, which tend to keep linemen moving in the same direction.
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That’s the kind of blocking the Seahawks employ under offensive line coach Tom Cable. And that was one of several factors that led Winston to decide Seattle is the place to continue his career. But not the primary one.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I can win,” he said. “So when they called, I know they’re definitely capable of winning here, and winning big. It was exciting to think that maybe I’ll get to play in some games that I’ve never played in before.”
Winston joined the NFL in 2006 as a third-round pick of the Houston Texans. He moved to Kansas City in 2012 and then Arizona last season, where he got a couple of close looks at the Seahawks.
The Seahawks also did some looking and decided to bring him in to compete at right tackle, along with veteran Michael Bowie and rookie second-round draft pick Justin Britt.
“(We) like the fact that (Winston) has got background and experience,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re very young there in the backup guys. … We’d like to have another guy competing for the spot.”
Starting his ninth pro season, Winston, 30, said he’s ready to add mentoring to his job description.
“I think anytime that you become a vet in this league, you have an obligation to the young guys that come after you — to help them, to teach them and obviously to compete against them,” he said. “… If Britt wants me to do that, then I’ll do that, and if he doesn’t want to hear it, I won’t. But I’ll be here for him and always be here to help him, that’s for sure.”
That same attitude is one of Winston’s motivations as president of the NFL Players Association, a title he assumed in March and will continue despite his change of address.
“I’ve always been an advocate for the players and trying to help them out,” he said. “Make their lives a little bit better and make them understand what it means to be a pro.”
Winston was one of three players whose signings were announced Tuesday. The others were cornerback Terrell Thomas, who played for Carroll at USC, and wide receiver Randall Carroll, who had been given a look by the Minnesota Vikings. To make room on the 90-man roster, the Seahawks put wide receiver Taylor Price on the reserve/injured list, and waived cornerback Chandler Fenner and guard Bronson Irwin.
Tight end Anthony McCoy went down with an Achilles injury during training Tuesday and was carted off the practice field.
“If it is what they think it is, it’s just a real heartbreaker,” Carroll said. “He worked so hard to get back, you know. If it was the same Achilles (previously injured) you might understand it, but it’s the other one. We’ll see what happens.”
MORE HEALTH UPDATES
Bowie remained out with a shoulder injury. Receiver Kevin Norwood remains out with a sore foot. Guard James Carpenter was held out with a calf issue. Linebacker Bobby Wagner sat out some of practice with a tight hamstring. Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis sat out with an oblique injury not considered serious. Meanwhile running back Christine Michael returned after missing a day with a shoulder issue, and receiver Percy Harvin returned after a day off.