Back from a week in Ohio visiting family, in time for training camp starting at Seahawks headquarters on Friday.
My last week included a stop for the first time in decades to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, about an hour north of where I grew up in Steubenville, Ohio.
The Hall was getting tents and displays ready for the induction ceremonies for its 2015 class that includes the late Junior Seau. I was in the Hall on Friday, the day The New York Times reported the Hall of Fame (a separate entity from the NFL) would not be allowing any of the relatives to the 1992 NFL defensive player of the year to speak on his behalf because protocol was for posthumerous enshrinees to get a presentation by video only at the induction ceremony.
Incidentally, Seau’s face was on the admission ticket Friday in Canton.
Once inside the way-expanded Hall of Fame it was obvious the Seahawks are not pro football’s “South Alaska” outpost any more. Not even close.
The bronze busts of Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy, Walter Jones -- and even brief Seahawks Jerry Rice and Warren Moon -- were five more Seattle players than were in the Hall the last time I’d been there. The likeness of Jones, inducted last August, stares across a narrow passageway at the eight empty places this year’s inductees will fill on Aug. 8.
But the Seahawks’ presence in the Hall of Fame goes far beyond that. Also on the second floor in Canton: Marshawn Lynch’s game-worn, blue, No. 24 jersey and helmet from the team debuting its new uniforms in the 2012 opener against Dallas.
And all around that, three different displays of quarterback Russell Wilson. One is with his gray road jersey and helmet he wore in Toronto on Dec. 16, 2012, when as a rookie against Buffalo he became the first NFL player to rush for three touchdowns and throw for one in the first half of a game. Another is his white road jersey and helmet next to some gloves from Super Bowl 48 -- the title game Seattle won over Denver in February 2014. And there’s a picture of him dropping to pass taking up much of the second floor’s back wall.
It’s the kind of a display befitting, say, a $20-plus-million-per-year quarterback.
We are now three days from the start of Seattle’s 2015 training camp. That’s what been widely reported as the deadline in the mind of Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, to get a new contract done this year.
But when I asked coach Pete Carroll last month if he or the team viewed the start of camp as the end of contract negotiations until after the coming season, Carroll said: “No, I don't care how long we keep working. Whatever it takes to do the right thing.”
I led off my story in today’s News Tribune detailing where the talks apparently stand, and followed that with who might be blocking for Wilson this season.
Expect a final push in negotiations between now and Friday. I’m still sticking to my belief Wilson will have a new deal by the time he takes the field Friday for camp’s first practice. The deal is too important to the franchise -- and the money is too rich for Wilson to lose an entire year in the prime of his career (so far above the $1.52 million in base pay he’s currently due for the final season of his rookie contract) -- to table until next spring.