Category Archives: Seattle Seahawks

Update: Big bucks for Wilson ($87.6M) and Wagner ($43M)

NOTE: Some new links and an update on Wagner’s deal have been added.

It’s official.

Russell Wilson signs a four-year, $87.6 million extension with the Seahawks with $60M guaranteed.

That’s an average of $21.9M per year. Only Aaron Rodgers of the Packers has a higher average ($22M). But if you include the $1.5M Wilson is scheduled to earn this year, he’s making $89.1M over five years, or less than $20M a year.

Andrew Brandt of SI.com made a good point in this tweet:

Why deadlines work: good agents know that teams never reveal their best offer until they absolutely have to. #WilsonContract

Brandt compared Wilson’s unique negotiations to other QB negotiations in a story last month.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com explains why Russell Wilson deserves the big bucks. One of  the reasons, besides helping the team win a Super Bowl and get to another one: He’s orchestrated 15 fourth quarter or overtime comebacks in three seasons.

This is what Warren Moon had to say about Wilson’s negotiations the day before the Seahawks signed him.

Wilson and Carroll discuss the QB’s extension after it was announced.

And Sports Illustrated’s Peter King of mmqb.com weighs in on the deal, too.

The Seahawks have done a nice job of taking care of their own. They locked up safety Earl Thomas (4 years, $40M) and cornerback Richard Sherman (4 years, $56M) to big deals. They also came up with a 2-year extension to keep running back Marshawn Lynch happy, paying him $12M for 2015 and another $12M in 2016, providing he comes back for another season.

Safety Kam Chancellor and defensive end Michael Bennett got new deals, but they’re reportedly interested in re-doing them. Chancellor is playing under a 4-year extension he signed in 2013 that pays him an average of $7M a year, but he didn’t report to training camp, which opens Friday.

Bennett, who signed a 4-year $28.5M deal prior to the 2014 season, has threatened to holdout but he is in camp.

Seattle has also locked up defensive end Cliff Averill (4 years, $28.5M) through 2019 and linebacker A.J. Wright (4 years, $27M) through 2019.

The Seahawks can now turn their attention to linebacker Bobby Wagner, who is next in line for a significant pay raise. Russell Okung’s contract also expires after the 2016 season, as does Bruce Irvin’s deal.

Considering the salary cap, can the Seahawks keep everybody happy?

For updated Seahawks’ contract information, go to http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/seattle-seahawks/.

UPDATE: The Seahawks kept Wagner happy, announcing late Saturday the inside linebacker signed a 4-year, $43 million extension. It makes Wagner the highest paid player in the NFL at his position.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com points out that many of the players the Seahawks signed are only 26 or 27, keeping the window open for  potential championships in the coming years.

ICYMI, check out Greg Bishop’s story about Pete Carroll in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. It’s all about grit, his philosophy and moving past the disappointing Super Bowl loss.

“It’s been thrilling to learn from this. It really has,” the always upbeat Carroll said of the offseason.

 

 

Quick hits: Robbins/Jonson, Vettleson, Pumas, Montero/Zunino, QB Wilson

Conner Robbins, former University of Washington golfer and a Central Kitsap grad, tied for second and Bainbridge’s Carl Jonson, who just turned pro after playing four years at UNLV, tied for fourth at the 52nd Lilac City Invitational in Spokane earlier this month. Here’s the story from The Spokesman Review.

The long-hitting Robbins gave the mini-tour grind a while a few years back, took some time off and has played well in the tournaments he’s entered. He’s now playing out of the Tacoma Country Club.

Jonson is playing in this week’s Colorado Open at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver.

Drew Vettleson update: Drew, another Central Kitsap grad, turned 24 on Sunday. The former first-round (42nd overall pick in 2010) of the Tampa Rays, is with the Washington Nationals’ Double-A club in Harrisburg, PA. Vettleson, an outfielder, went on the DL early last season and it took him some time to find his swing. Once again, he found himself on the DL this year after breaking his hamate bone. He is hitting .211 after going 2-for-5 on Saturday. He got off to a slow start, but has had five multi-hit games in his last nine going into Monday.

Harrisburg hitting coach Mark Harris had this to say about Vettleson at the league’s All-Star break:

“Drew missed a lot of time last year as far as experience in this league. … In Drew’s case, I think he’s adjusting to getting pitched a certain way. He’s learning the value of doing something with your pitch to hit when you get it, so you’re not always down in the count all of the time. … With him, I think he just needs to get at-bats.”

Pumas stand for defense:  The Kitsap Pumas start their USL Premier Development League postseason journey on Friday in Tucson, Arizona, where they will play host FC Tucson in a Western Conference semifinal at 8 p.m.. The Pumas (10-0-2) are one of two PDL teams in the 63-team league to finish the season without a loss.

Kitsap surrendered a league-low four goals in its 12 PDL games.

Pumas assistant coach Shaun Scobie praised the defense on the team’s website after its 1-0 win over the Sounders 23 last week:

“To have the best defensive record in the entire league is not a fluke. The boys work hard every day trying to be better than they were the day before and it’s that mentality that’s got us to this point.”

If the Pumas win, they will face the Sounders FC U23-Burlingame (Calif.) Dragons winner on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.. The champion moves on to the PDL’s Final Four. Kitsap won the tournament in 2011 when the Pumas hosted at Memorial Stadium and they were second a year ago to the Michigan Bucks.

On another Pumas’ note, The Sun’s Jeff Graham had an interesting take on owner Robin Waite’s interest in taking the team from the fourth-tier PDL to the third-tier USL.

More Montero, less Zunino: Jim Moore, who writes a weekly column for The Sun, also writes for 710 ESPN Seattle, where he co-hosts an afternoon radio show. Moore’s latest column for ESPN centered on why the Mariners didn’t keep Jesus Montero around. They sent Montero back to Triple-A Tacoma Monday. I’m thinking the same as Moore on this move. Why not send Jesus Sucre to Tacoma and make Montero the backup catcher? Yeah, yeah, he wasn’t much of a defensive catcher in the past, but he’s slimmed down, and according to what everybody is saying, he’s a more dedicated player than in the past. His bat just might be worth any defensive deficiencies he might have. ‘K’unino entered Monday’s game with a .158 batting average and was striking out almost 36 percent of the time. He’s the worst hitter in major league baseball. What do the M’s have to lose by letting Montero catch 2-3 games a week?

Wilson links: The quarterback’s contract-extension negotiations with the Seattle Seahawks has taken on a life of its own. Here are a few recent stories about it:

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk says the time to do a new contract it is now.

During an interview at the ESPYs Wilson said once again that his contract situation “will work out.” 

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrote about Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, and the relationship he has with Seattle’s young star.

Here’s what Pete Carroll had to say about the contract talks between the Seahawks and Wilson. “He’s crucial, as all of our guys are,” Carroll told the media in Los Angeles while accepting an award from ESPN for his humanitarian work. “We love Russell and we want him back playing for us forever. There’s a lot of work being done. It’s underway right now and maybe it happens, I don’t know. We’re hoping for it.”

 

Thursday musings: NFL Draft, Mayweather-Pacquiao, M’s …

Just the numbers, with a little commentary sprinkled in as we head to a big weekend for sports fans:

NFL Draft/Seahawks

9: That’s how many ex-Oregon Ducks are on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster. Somehow, I think head coach Chip Kelly is going to make it No. 10 when the Eagles figure out a way to trade up for the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft. Latest rumors have Cleveland dealing a pair of first-round picks to Tennessee for the No. 2 pick. The Eagles would then package QB Sam Bradford to the Browns and Kelly gets the Duck he really wants. Mariota could be the next Russell Wilson, but he won’t have the same level of talent around him if he winds up in Philly.

11: The number of picks the Seahawks have in this week’s draft. With Seattle reportedly not picking up the option on Bruce Irvin’s contract and rumors of a possible trade with Atlanta, the Hawks might have a serious need for an outsider linebacker. How about former Washington star Shaq Thompson, who could also project as a safety or running back?

Mayweather-Pacquiao

$40,955.25: Someone paid that much for a ticket to Saturday’s fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, according to StubHub.

$6,820: Via StrubHub, the average price for a ticket to a fight that has brought boxing out of the dark ages.

I’m not predicting a winner, but I am predicting a rematch. The fighters are expected to split $300 million this time around, why not do it again?

Mariners

.328/.316: Batting averages of prospects Chris Taylor and Jesus Montero at Triple-A Tacoma.

.229/.205/.194/.192/.121: Batting averages of Austin Jackson, Rickie Weeks, Logan Morrison, Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino.

It’s still early, but if things don’t change by the middle of May, I’m going to figure out a way to get Taylor and Montero in the lineup. Taylor’s a better defensive shortstop than Brad Miller, who should be able to play the outfield or even first base. Montero can be the fulltime DH if you keep Nelson Cruz in RF, or split time at first with Morrison. Release Weeks, try to trade Ackley and hope Jackson and Zunino, both stellar defenders, can figure it out at the plate.

4-0: That’s Felix Hernandez’s record. This is his 10th fulltime season as a starter, and it’s crazy he’s never won 20 games, but that’s because he was part of a lot of bad Seattle teams. He was 19-5 in 2009 when he was second in the Cy Young balloting. He was 13-12 in 2010 when he won the Cy Young and 15-6 a year ago when he should have won the award, but finished second to Cleveland’s Corey Kluber. Prediction: Felix gets to the magical 20-victory mark this season and wins another Cy Young.

10: Numbers of home runs Nelson Cruz has hit thus far. That puts him on pace to hit 77. Here’s a look at his latest blast, measured at 483-feet.

MLB predictions

The Nationals, Mariners, and Indians were among the trendy preseason picks to make a big splash this season. The Nats (9-13) just crawled out of the NL East cellar; the M’s (10-11) are third in the AL West and Cleveland (7-13) is last in the AL Central.

The Astros (14-7) and Yankees (13-9), picked for last-place finishes, are first in the AL West and AL East. Not many of the experts gave the Royals much love after reaching the World Series, but KC (14-7) is proving everybody wrong.

The Dodgers (13-8), Cardinals (14-6) and Tigers (14-7) are among the predicted favorites off to solid starts.

Chambers Bay/U.S. Open

$249: That’s what it’ll cost a Kitsap County resident to play Chambers Bay from May 1-July 12, providing you can get a tee time. Here’s my column after playing Chambers Bay this week.

Chambers Bay is already creating quite a buzz for the uniqueness that it offers.  Ryan Palmer said it wasn’t a championship course.

Kentucky Derby

149: This is the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby. Horse racing is just a blip on the sports radar anymore and the Derby will take a backseat to the fight in Vegas, the NFL Draft and NBA and NHL playoffs. For those of you interested, American Pharaoh is the 5-2 favorite and it’ll break from the No. 18 post position on Saturday. Here’s the derby odds.

20: This is the 20th season of horse racing at Emerald Downs, which opened April 18. There will be racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend at the Auburn track.

 

 

Links: The selling of ‘Beast Mode’ & Shaq & Tark & More

The debates rage about the future of Marshawn Lynch, but there’s no question about his growing brand. The Seahawks’ running back is cashing in off the field.

Lynnley Browning of Newsweek writes about how you market an athlete who doesn’t talk to the media:

The less Lynch speaks to the media, the more his popularity grows. He doesn’t even want to talk about his company right now. Mitch Grossbach, president of M3/Relativity, which oversees the development of BeastModeonline, says Lynch couldn’t speak to Newsweek for this story because he was “in no mood to talk right now. He’s emotionally debilitated by [the loss]—he needs a week to recover.”

In a world of professional athletes happily shilling everything from Cialis to car insurance, Lynch’s verbal striptease is a test case for how to grow an emerging rock-star athlete into a brand worth millions. “He’s maintaining the irony of not talking, and that has made him more marketable and more endearing with fans and consumers,” says Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert who is executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco. “It’s the antithesis of how you would go about becoming a marketable star, and it’s working.”

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Washington Huskies star Shaq Thompson figures to a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB recently caught up with Thompson:

The NFL is still trying to figure out what position best fits Thompson, who wasn’t a good fit for baseball. He went 0- for-39 with 37 strikeouts during his pro baseball career:

King writes:

… In his freshman year at Washington, coaches created a hybrid safety/linebacker position just to get him on the field. Over the next three years, he played five other positions. His mere presence was a weapon. “We put him at personal protector, not only because he’d be good at it,” says Huskies coach Chris Petersen, “but also, teams would be so worried about us snapping the ball to Shaq that they backed off on trying to block our punts.”

That’s the paradox of Shaq Thompson: Nobody knows exactly what he is. They just know they want him.

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Alexander Wolff of Sports Illustrated  writes about Jerry Tarkanian, the former UNLV basketball coach who died Wednesday. He was 84.

The headline says it all: Always A Rebel: Jerry Tarkanian was college sports’ original honest man

Wolff writes:

Tarkanian spent most of his professional life as a poster boy for disreputability. Today, with the NCAA itself in broad disrepute, it’s almost as if he lived just long enough for public opinion to catch up to him. There would be much worse things than if, in death, Tarkanian were to earn something like vindication.

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You want more offense in baseball? Raise the strike zone. MLB is taking a look at doing just that. Read this story by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Passan writes:

At baseball’s GM meetings last November, the room of executives teemed with discussions about how to jolt offense in a game lacking it. Radical ideas were proposed, from putting rules into place on defensive shifts to the possibility of forcing relief pitchers to throw to more than one batter. Generating the most agreement was the problem of the low strike.

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Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes about college football’s most intriguing head coach. Tony Sanchez guided Bishop Gorman HS to an 85-5 record in eight seasons.

Wetzel writes:

Sanchez is a rare breed; the college football coach hired directly from the high school ranks. He’s just the fifth in the modern era – Jim Bradley to New Mexico State in 1973, Bob Commings to Iowa in 1974, Gerry Faust to Notre Dame in 1981 and Todd Dodge to North Texas in 2007.

None lasted very long.

UNLV is arguably the worst program in the country, posting a pathetic eight two-win seasons across the last 11 years. It’s been to four bowl games … ever. The glory days are that time they finished tied for third in their division of the Mountain West.

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Charles Barkley doesn’t like analytics, but analytics like him. Neal Paine of FiveThirtyEight.com compared Barkley to power forward greats Karl Malone and Tim Duncan.

The numbers breakdown came after Barkley ripped Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey for his over-reliance on analytics. Morey in turn ripped Barkley on Twitter:

Best part of being at a TNT game live is it is easy to avoid Charles spewing misinformed biased vitriol disguised as entertainment

Here’s Sir Charles’ words that sparked the debate:

“I’ve always believed analytics was crap. … I never mention the Rockets as legitimate contenders ’cause they’re not. And, listen, I wouldn’t know Daryl Morey if he walked into this room right now.”

“The NBA is about talent,” Barkley added. “All these guys who run these organizations who talk about analytics, they have one thing in common — they’re a bunch of guys who have never played the game, and they never got the girls in high school, and they just want to get in the game.”

Quick hits from the desert: Troy Kelly, Joey Dean, Seahawks, questions & more

Some quick hits on a Tuesday night from Super Bowl country:

TROY KELLY is entered in this week’s Humana Challenge, the PGA Tour event in La Quinta,  Calif. Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad now living in Tacoma, still has PGA status because of a Major Medical Extension he received after going through knee surgery in the 2013 season.

Kelly has 10 starts and needs to make $563,133 or 353.837 FedExCup points to retain his status. I’m not positive, but I think Kelly has to use those 10 starts this season. He missed two PGA cuts earlier in the fall, and took some time off to give an aching body some rest after not playing well. Kelly cashed in just two of nine Web.com Tour starts in 2014.

Kelly, now living in Tacoma, was based out of La Quinta for a few years and is familiar with the Nicklaus and Palmer courses at PGA West.

In case you missed it, Bob Kelly (Troy’s dad) operates Hackers Bar & Grill at Madrona Links in Gig Harbor.

JOEY DEAN is MCing the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet at Kiana Lodge on Saturday (11 a.m. social hour, dinner and program at noon). The 1984 Olympic High state championship baseball team is among the teams being inducted. Dean was in the class of ’83 at Oly and played football and baseball. He’s also got some motorsports history and, of course, remains one of the most popular singer/songwriters in Kitsap County. Nice for Joey to give back to the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, the non-profit that puts on the annual HOF shindig.

PLAYED SOME GOLF Tuesday in Gilbert, Arizona, where the weather was outstanding (76 degrees), and the company even better. The golf game? I’m not talking about mine, but Glenn Carden hit ’em straight and far while shooting a 78 at Western Skies Golf Course.

SOME OF US DEBATED this question on Twitter Sunday night: What’s the greatest game in Seattle sports history. Was it the Seahawks unbelievable NFC Championship comeback victory over the Packers on Sunday, or the Mariners’ win over the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS in 1995?

For me, it’s the football game. It was stunningly, mind-blowing, coming from 12 down with 3 minutes left to win the way they won after playing so poorly on offense. I’m a baseball guy but to be in a position to win back-to-back Super Bowls trumps what Edgar, Junior, Randy and Lou’s Boys did on that magical night in the Kingdome.

What do you think?

IF YOU COULD SPEND an evening with one Seahawk, who would it be? Russell Wilson? Marshawn Lynch? Richard Sherman? Earl Thomas? Jon Ryan? Pete Carroll? Who’s your guy?

PETER KING of mmqb.si.com writes that the Seahawks need to feed the Beast if they want to win Super Bowl 49. I couldn’t agree more.

QUICK, NAME the only team to beat the Seahawks and Patriots this season? Yep, Kansas City.

BROADCASTER BILL WALTON called the Pac-12 basketball game between Utah and Arizona in Tucson on Saturday. Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic tailed Walton at the Pac-12 Networks crew before and during the game.

At one point, Walton wished Muhammad Ali a happy 73rd birthday and shared a favorite Ali quote: “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can surely make something out of you.”

ANOTHER PAC-12 BROADCASTER, MIKE MONTGOMERY, got a call from former South Kitsap athlete and Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote recently. “He said, ‘You’ve got a face for radio’ and hung up,” said Montgomery during a recent broadcast. Heathcote and Montgomery, the former Stanford and Cal coach, are both part of the Montana coaching tree. Heathcote, 87, is still living in Spokane, and remains an avid follower of Gonzaga and college hoops.

I WROTE ABOUT ASHLI PAYNE, sophomore guard at Umpqua CC, last month. I’m glad to see I didn’t jinx the Olympic High grad. She’s eighth in the 32-team Northwest Athletic Conference in scoring (17.28 points), sixth in rebounding (8.83), ninth in assists (4.28), 10th in free-throw shooting (82.3%) and 20th in steals (2.13). You can see why her coach, Dave Stricklin, thinks she’s the best player in the NWAC.

 

 

 

 

Some Super Bowl storylines

Coming to you live from Arizona (no, I’m not staying for the Super Bowl), where the locals seem pretty pumped up about XLIX.

This is Cardinals country, and a lot of Arizona football fans don’t like the Seattle Seahawks, but judging by the comments I heard on Monday and the tone of the reports I’m hearing on the local television stations, there seems to be a lot of respect for the Hawks.

That said here are a few storylines you’ll be reading and hearing about in the days leading up to the Feb. 1 game against New England at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale:

Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson: The Patriots quarterback will play in a record sixth Super Bowl and will be going for his fourth ring. That’s Joe Montana (and Terry Bradshaw) territory. Wilson, meanwhile, is back for this second straight Super Bowl and has a shot to do something no quarterback has ever done: Win two Super Bowls in his first three seasons. It’s the classic drop back passer (Brady) against the elusive play-maker (Wilson) who can beat you with his arm and his legs. A story in USA Today bills it as old-school vs. new-age QBs.

Richard Sherman vs. Tom Brady: Sherman will get more than his share of news, and not all of it will revolve around the elbow injury he played with over the final minutes of Seattle’s OT win against Green Bay. Remember the “You Mad Bro” moment following Seattle’s regular-season upset victory over the Patriots in October of 2012 at CenturyLink? It was, more or less, Sherman’s coming out party as a big-time trash-talker who has shown that he can back up all of that talk.

Former Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner vs. his old team: Browner’s now a cornerback with the Patriot. He was a big part of the LOB, but had to sit out the big game a year ago because of violating the NFL’s substance abuse violation. After Sunday’s games, Browner said he felt all along that a New England-Seattle matchup in Arizona was inevitable. 

Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick: Carroll was fired by Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 1999 after an 8-8 record in his third season.  Kraft then hired Bill Belichick and we all know how that worked out: six Super Bowls in 14 seasons. Carroll went on to turn USC into a powerhouse and now has the Seahawks knocking on dynasty’s door. Carroll’s youthful appearance and emotional coaching style seems the opposite of the dour-looking Patriots’ boss. There’s a mutual respect between the two. “I like Pete. I like him a lot,” Belichick told ESPN.com.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seattle safety Kam Chancellor: Everybody’s waiting for The Collision in the Desert between those two hombres. If it happens, you might feel it back in Seattle.

Finally, Marshawn Lynch vs. the media: Will he talk? You remember Lynch’s memorable Super Bowl Media Day interview with Deion Sanders a year ago in New Jersey? “I’m just about that actin boss?” Can he top that one? Here’ s what I wrote a year ago after listening to that exchange:

Marshawn Lynch lasted 6 minutes, 20 seconds at Super Bowl Media Day before escaping the big stage.

Deion “Prime Time” Sanders of NFL Network hunted Beast Mode down, and the interview with the Seattle Seahawks star was priceless. Here’s a portion of it.

“You look good,” Sanders told Lynch, who was wearing sunglasses and had the hood of his Seahawks’ jacket pulled up.

“(Bleep), so do you,” said Lynch, fingering Prime Time’s suit coat.

Sanders told Lynch it looked like he was ready to play.

Lynch: “Yep, that’s what time it is.”

Sanders then asked if Lynch was a little shy.

Lynch: “I’m just about that action boss. … I ain’t never seen no talk win ya nothing. Been like that since I was a little kid. I was raised like that.”

Asked if he was excited about the game, Lynch, wearing sunglasses, said, “Hell, yeah. … yeaaahh!”

Sanders then said some think the Seahawks will be in trouble if Lynch doesn’t get untracked.

Lynch: “They gonna have to stop all of us. I’m a beast, but we got some dogs.”

Sanders: You don’t like podiums do you? What is your thing?

Lynch: “Lay back, kick back, mind my business, stay in my own lane.”

Sanders: He told Lynch that NFL Network and former star back Marshall Faust loved him.

Lynch: “That’s huge. He’s a great.”

Sanders: “We all love you.”

Lynch then went third-person on us.

“That’s big time. Beast Mode love and appreciate that.”

 

 

Marshawn link; Mariners lineup; Kitsap’s Umpqua connection rolling

A Marshawn Kind of Way: This is an intriguing profile of Beast Mode. Lynch didn’t agree to an interview following the Seattle Seahawks win over the Eagles on Sunday, but MMQB writer Robert Klemko does a pretty good job of telling Marshawn’s story from people who know him and understand him. .

“He’s an introvert, but he doesn’t want to conform,” says former Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. “What made Seattle perfect, and allowed him to flourish, was the fact that Pete Carroll never made him conform. Pete never gave him a dress code. Him talking to the media was not treated like part of the main thing. It’s a set of rules somebody at Park Avenue came up with, and they mean nothing to him.”

“The best teammate I’ve ever had,” said Seattle linebacker Malcomb Smith.

“There are days when I don’t feel like dealing with media,” says Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith, a friend of Lynch’s. “People think he’s hiding something because he doesn’t want to talk. He does his job and does it well, and he’s not interested in other things. There are people who use the media to give false perceptions of who they are. He’s not interested in any of that. He just wants to ball.”

Mariners Lineup

Would you be happy if the Seattle Mariners 2015 Opening Day lineup looked something like this?

1. Austin Jackson, CF

2. Melky Cabrera or Alex Rios, RF

3. Robinson Cano, 2B

4. Nelson Cruz, DH

5. Kyle Seager, 3B

6. Logan Morrison, 1B

7. Dustin Ackley, LF

8. Mike Zunino, C

9. Chris Taylor or Brad Miller, SS

Felix Hernandez, P

Everything’s in place except for the No. 2 spot in the batting order. The Mariners are believed to be the front-runners to sign Cabrera, who is coming off a year in which he hit .301 with 16 home runs and an .808 OPS for Toronto. The switch-hitter seems like an ideal  fit. The M’s are also believed to have targeted Alex Rios, who hit .280 with a .709 OPS for Texas last year. Either would be a significant upgrade, although I’m still intrigued about the upside of James Jones. He stole 27 bases in 108 games a year ago and we saw the excitement he brings to the game when he’s putting the ball in play.

Maybe the M’s will pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade and wind up with Matt Kemp or Justin Upton? Lookout Landing takes a look at which player would provide you with the best value going forward.

Lighting it up for Umpqua

Umpqua Community College’s Ashli Payne (so., Olympic High) had 35 points and 10 rebounds, and Sawyer Kluge (fr., Bremerton) added 16 points and seven rebounds in a 69-63 win over Lane in the championship game of the Bellevue College Bulldog Classic this weekend. Kluge had 31 points and eight rebounds against Big Bend; Payne went for 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists in that game. Umpqua, second at the NWAC Championships a year ago, is off to a 6-0 start. Payne’s averaging 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds; Kluge 16.3 and 5.3.

Sherman, Baldwin mock the NFL

Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin mocked the NFL’s player policies and took the league to task for making players play two games in five days during a skit on Tuesday.

The Stanford guys came to the defense of Seattle Seahawks’ teammate Marshawn Lynch, who was fined $100,000 for not talking to the media.

The two didn’t take any questions after their performance.

Well, done gentlemen. That was pretty creative.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of play this story gets in the national media. Will the No Fun League fine the two Seahawks?

 

 

Get ready for a Thanksgiving treat: Hawks vs. Niners

Thanksgiving might be my favorite day of the year, and the NFL made it even better this year.

They added a third NFL game to the schedule this season and it turned out to be the Seahawks vs. the 49ers. The Thursday game starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised by NBC.

There’s a lot on the line as both teams — the NFC West preseason favorites — are 7-4 and two games back of the Cardinals.

The Seahawks’ defense dominated the Cardinals, 19-3, on Sunday, and San Francisco is coming off a hard-earned 17-13 win over the Redskins.

Neither team has been scary on offense, but the defenses are as good as ever. Seattle’s coming off its best defensive effort of the season at just the right time. San Francisco got to RGIII for five sacks on Sunday, and Russell Wilson was sacked seven times by the Cardinals.

We all remember what happened the last time the Niners and Hawks met. It was the NFC West championship game a year ago at Century Link and it was an emotional game with the momentum swinging back and forth.

I might have to dial it up and watch it again to get ready for Sunday’s Thanksgiving Day matchup.

The game came down to the final possession. San Francisco was driving and looking for the go-ahead touchdown. Richard Sherman came up with the game-saving play, tipping away a pass in the end zone that was intended for Michael Crabtree, and Malcolm Smith came up with the interception. Victory Seahawks, 23-17.

Sherman gave Crabtree a little slap, then tossed in the choke sign for good measure before he went off on Erin Andrews in the that memorable post-game interview.

Here’s Thursday’s schedule, which also includes a couple of college games:

Chicago at Detroit, 9:30 a.m., CBS

Philadelphia at Dallas, 1:30 p.m., FOX

No. 5 TCU at Texas, 4:30 p.m., FOX

LSU at Texas A&M, 4:30 p.m., ESPN

Seattle at San Francisco, 5:30 p.m., NBC