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Originally published Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seneca Wallace is a Seahawks QB first, and a lot of other things second

Wallace has played sparingly over the years, but he has won games and shown that he can handle the job when called upon.

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — Seneca Wallace hears it every year. That's how it is for someone with his kind of athletic ability.

So it was hardly much of a surprise to look over and see the sixth-year pro — yes, six years — catching punts Tuesday in practice. Speculation about letting the Seahawks backup quarterback return kicks or play wide receiver has swirled around him since after his rookie season.

But that kind of talk from coaches has subsided as time has gone by. And though he was catching punts, Wallace seems firmly entrenched at quarterback for as long as he remains a Seahawk.

"Catching punts is good. It gets you on the field a little bit," he said. "They're always trying [other positions], but I always know what my role is every year coming into training camp. I just continue to keep trying to push and just stay ready mentally and physically."

Wallace has played sparingly over the years, but he has won games and shown that he can handle the job when called upon. He decided last year that Seattle was where he wanted to be and that being a backup to Matt Hasselbeck offered some job security, signing a contract extension through 2010.

"Them giving me the opportunity to be here for that long is great, and I'm happy to be a part of this organization and still playing quarterback in this league," Wallace said. "Time flies. It goes by fast when you're working and going on six years. I never thought I'd be in the league that long."

As for playing receiver and return man, Wallace is a "security blanket" for coach Mike Holmgren. And the topic of him playing other positions will probably again be revisited.

"If we got injured in a game and I was running out of receivers, I could absolutely put him in the game and he could play," Holmgren said.

Center of attention

Steve Vallos spent all of last season on the Seahawks' practice squad. This week, in his second training camp with the team, he finds himself working at center with the starters on the offensive line.

Injuries to starter Chris Spencer and backup Chris Gray necessitated the move. But Vallos never played the position until the Senior Bowl after college, and with the scout team last season.

The inexperience has shown in some of his snaps, and teammates give Vallos a hard time, Hasselbeck said, because the center position has long been the brunt of ribbing from the Robbie Tobeck days. But low-key Vallos had a better day with exchanges on Tuesday, and can take a joke.

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"It's great experience. You can't get anything better than this. It's so different working with the one unit than the three unit," Vallos admitted. "There's some things that are easier, some things that are harder. Usually you get help on almost every single play, but you have to know everything. You're going to call out all the blocking schemes. You have to make the calls that determine who everyone else blocks."

Vallos was a tackle and guard at Wake Forest before Seattle drafted him in the seventh round in 2007. He's grateful for the chance to move up the depth chart, even if only for a few days.

"Get in where you fit in and do whatever they ask," he said. "That's all I can do right now."

Notes

• WR Courtney Taylor returned to practice Tuesday morning after a slight hamstring injury Monday. But Taylor had an ice bag wrapped around his right hamstring by session's end.

• Rookie RB Justin Forsett was back after missing Monday's special-teams practice.

• LB Wesly Mallard did not practice, and LT Walter Jones got the afternoon practice off.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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