Cutting down Seahawks’ roster can be difficult on everyone
Players, coaches ready to move on after emotional departure of some players
Seattle Times staff reporter
This is one breakfast Derrick Coleman will always remember.
The Seahawks’ second-year running back was eating banana pancakes with teammate Chandler Fenner on Saturday morning when he got a call from his agent and realized he had made Seattle’s opening-day 53-man roster.
Coleman, an undrafted free agent who was cut by Minnesota last year and signed to Seattle’s practice squad last December, celebrated briefly, then said he realized, “I’ve got to keep working because it doesn’t stop here.’’
Coleman will be listed as Seattle’s starting fullback for the opener Sunday at Carolina, supplanting Michael Robinson, who was the victim of maybe the most surprising cut of the weekend as the Seahawks pared their roster from 75 to 53.
Robinson, who had been with Seattle since 2010 and was named to the Pro Bowl two years ago, was due to make $2.5 million this year compared to Coleman’s $405,000, which likely was a factor.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll, though, said the decision — as well as others, such as cutting veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield — was further proof the Seahawks truly live by their “always compete’’ mantra.
“We are all about what we had said, about competing, and those guys earned their way,’’ Carroll said.
“We had a lot of tough decisions and Mike was one of them. Mike’s been with us a long time. It’s all these guys that left that hurt us in a sense because they bought in and had given us everything they had, and Mike was a very instrumental guy on this football team as it was coming along, so these were all very tough decisions.’’
Robinson was particularly popular in the Seahawks’ locker room, and Seattle players rushed to Twitter on Friday night when the news of his release leaked out to express their surprise and sympathy.
Receiver Doug Baldwin, though, said such emotion doesn’t last long, players understanding it’s simply a reality of what they do.
“I mean it does (cause a reaction) to some degree,’’ Baldwin said. “But then it’s very quick because of the fact that we can’t really put too much energy into that. We’ve got to focus on ourselves and who is here.
“Unfortunately we become close to some of those guys, (tight end) Sean McGrath being another one of those guys. The whole team kind of surrounded ourselves around them and brings them into our family and then they are not here, so it’s kind of difficult. But it was a quick reaction because we’ve got to control what we can control.’’
Winfield was another surprise as Seattle had signed the 14-year veteran in the offseason with the thought he would be the starting nickelback. Winfield missed the past two games with a knee injury, and announced Saturday he would retire. But Carroll said he also was beaten out by Walter Thurmond.
“He ran up against Walter Thurmond and Walter had a great camp and did a fantastic job for us,’’ Carroll said. “As much as I love Antoine, I’m really excited for Walter to come through like he did.’’
McGrath’s release also raised some eyebrows as it leaves Seattle with just two listed tight ends in Zach Miller and Luke Willson. Carroll, though, noted offensive lineman Mike Person has been used as a tight end the past two weeks.
All part of the tough calls to try to get to a Super Bowl.
“You become slightly desensitized to it (over the years),’’ said Baldwin, now in his third season. “It’s just a fact that we have so many talented guys on this team, guys that you see how they are talented and you become close to them and you know most likely they are not going to be here. It’s always tough, but I think at some point you realize it’s just part of the business.’’
• Carroll said defensive end Chris Clemons, who has not practiced since suffering an ACL injury in January, will return to practice Wednesday. He won’t play Sunday.
• Receiver Chris Harper, Seattle’s fourth-round draft choice, was signed off Seattle’s practice squad to San Francisco’s active roster Monday and apparently will be tried as a tight end. Carroll called cutting Harper “a gamble that you take, and they picked up a good football player.’’
• WR Stephen Williams was out after being tested for a concussion after the Oakland game, but Carroll said he will practice Wednesday. WR Sidney Rice also sat out, but Carroll said he will be back Wednesday.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.