BY Doug Farrar 07:00AM 06/07/2011

Farrar: Free agent Hasselbeck still in command

The Seahawks quarterback (?) is on the open market, but he sure looked like the team leader at a recent players-only workout.

Justin Forsett, with fellow Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch spotting, helped organize a team workout at Washington. / Doug Farrar, Sportspress Northwest

While counsel for the NFL and NFLPA were wrapping up arguments about the future of professional football in a St. Louis courtroom last Friday morning, a group of more than football players — most of them Seattle Seahawks — gathered in the University of Washington weight room to participate in structured workouts put together by UW strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis, and coordinated by longtime Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Though he’s currently a free agent and has been tied to a number of other teams in various rumor mills, Hasselbeck ran Friday’s workout with a sense of order and command that exhibited his value beyond stats and plays to his team.

It’s difficult under the best circumstances to get a group of players together to participate in voluntary offseason conditioning with no NFL involvement. But under Hasselbeck, this 45-minute weight session, and the subsequent hour-long football drills that took place at the UW’s Dempsey Indoor facility, looked as disciplined as any organized team activity. Hasselbeck handed out workout sheets for position groups and barked out plays for the seven-on-seven drills where he and backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst alternated snaps.

Modest to a fault, Hasselbeck compared his role to that of a secretary, and gave most of the credit for organizing the drills to halfback Justin Forsett, who did get everyone on the same page from a logistical standpoint.

“Everyone’s got a role, and we do these group e-mails,” Hasselbeck said. “My role is that I’m local, I’m here, and I’ve got six footballs that are kind of beat up right now. I’ve got to go invest in some new footballs. But other than that — yeah, I know where to park.”

Several Seahawks free agents were in attendance, including Hasselbeck, defensive backs Jordan Babineaux and Kelly Jennings, center Chris Spencer, and right tackle Sean Locklear. While the team may be making plans to replace all those players, and the lockout continue, these players were focusing in on what they could control. That’s the only way to keep from going nuts when everyone else seems to have control of your lucrative career but you.

“I think it’s been good — across the country, really,” Hasselbeck said. “Guys working out together and communicating about their workouts. As players right now, that’s all you can do — just make sure you’re ready when the lockout gets lifted. You’ve got to be ready to go, and that’s kind of the focus for everybody.”

For receiver Mike Williams, it was as much about getting away from an off-season level of boredom that even his own apparently extensive workouts don’t relieve. Williams recently said on a Seattle radio station that he was doing six hours of cardio per day, and he certainly did not resemble the former draft bust who struggled with his weight — he was quick and crisp in the seven-on-seven drills. He explained how the workouts went.

“Okay…” the slightly exasperated-sounding Williams said. “The six hours of cardio is 2 ½ hours of football workouts, and then it’s two different sessions of basketball. It’s not just me doing my Lance Armstrong (stuff). It’s just that everyone assumed, ‘Oh, with all this time off and his attitude, he’s gonna be fat again. Well, good luck with that. I’m here, and I’m having a good time, and let’s get back to work.”

All players had great things to say about the UW staff, especially Lewis, who put together a program for each position group and set things up for the players, as Hasselbeck put it, “on a pro bono basis.”

The labor situation may be condition critical right now, but it’s advantageous in a way for players like Hasselbeck and Forsett to establish themselves as leaders in what has become a prolonged impasse nobody wants. The one thing upon which everybody agrees is that the teams best-prepared when this mess is all over could derive significant competitive benefits, and these Seahawks in limbo seem to understand that.


YourThoughts

  • Jay

    I pray that Seattle drafts Pryor for their quarterback. I think that he will be ready to take over the offensive by game five.

    • Moparpeetie

      hafta agree with John… he’s a project at best. Bring back Matt for 2 years. with an o-line he is perfectly capable. with that comes relief for the defense… NO defense can be on the field as much as ours can be expected to perform… 3 & outs just don’t help the D. neither will a spoiled little brat like Pryor!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jay

    I pray that Seattle drafts Pryor for their quarterback. I think that he will be ready to take over the offensive by game five.

    • Moparpeetie

      hafta agree with John… he’s a project at best. Bring back Matt for 2 years. with an o-line he is perfectly capable. with that comes relief for the defense… NO defense can be on the field as much as ours can be expected to perform… 3 & outs just don’t help the D. neither will a spoiled little brat like Pryor!!!!!!!!!!

  • John

    I hope they have a season this year, a full one. They must have pretty good confidence in Charlie to play this year, and no to Pryor, he is a perfect example of a project quarterback. He is a poor man’s version of Cam Newton, and I hope the Seahawks are not interested in him; this is serious football here with a team and a city that wants to win, not coddle and babysit a project who might be ready in 3 years if he ever grows up. Matt may be highly involved with the workouts, but nobody really knows if is actually going to be on the team this year. He already refused at least one offer.

  • John

    I hope they have a season this year, a full one. They must have pretty good confidence in Charlie to play this year, and no to Pryor, he is a perfect example of a project quarterback. He is a poor man’s version of Cam Newton, and I hope the Seahawks are not interested in him; this is serious football here with a team and a city that wants to win, not coddle and babysit a project who might be ready in 3 years if he ever grows up. Matt may be highly involved with the workouts, but nobody really knows if is actually going to be on the team this year. He already refused at least one offer.

  • marcelsees

    Kieth Price and the Huskies will fare only as well as our offensive and defensive lines play.  Our only hope for victory outside of a bunch of favorable turnovers is to dominate time of possession and score!  Price needs time against a stout Stanford D-line, but yes he could conceivably slice and dice.  Ta’amu and company must excel beyond merely competing with what’s a virtual NFL O-line, they must approach dominance.  This is a test for the Husky interior lines, not the skill players.   We’ll see just how far we’ve come.

  • Chevigny

    This one and all our games are about the defense- we know what the offense can do.

  • cruddly

    Raise your hand if you think the Heisman is the most biased, overrated and inconsequential trophy awarded in college football.  The whole process reminds me of the academy awards where the  studios actively campaign behind the scenes and in the press for their own movies and artists to win Oscars.   With the Heisman, it’s the universities that get down and dirty, campaigning for their star athletes.  Remember how silly the UW looked last year, promoting a not ready for prime time Jake Locker?  
    Do we really want the Husky Athletic Department getting involved in that tacky mess again?  Please, just ignore the ‘hype man trophy’ and let Price do his thing unfettered.

  • Katfish

    The Miami win was my favorite in part because of the 58 game win streak ending but also as I recollect a Miami head coach Dennis-something stated ” the loser of this game should consider the winner the national champion” or words to that effect relating to the shared national title.

  • marcelsees

    This is just journalistic pessimism!  Washington was part of the PAC 8 hinterland until Don James brought the program to something approaching parody with the Southern California Schools in 1978.  So I’m not going to let the record, and all this negative talk harsh my buzz for this Saturday’s match-up.  It’s going to be a proving ground for both teams.  Unfortunately, I don’t see us prevailing in the trenches on either side of the ball.  But ya know, that football is a funny shape, and it doesn’t bounce in any predictable way.  Same can be said for college kids, and that’s why it’s a great game!