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“I like the fact he’s got background and experience. We’re very young in the backup guys,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’d like to have another guy competing for the spot and Eric has done a lot of playing in his time.”
“It’s definitely luck,” Winston said when asked about the secret to his consecutive-start streak. “But I also like to think I put the work in, and not just in the weight room but also in the training room and staying flexible, staying healthy.
“You’re inevitably going to get caught in a pile and if you’re not flexible something is going to pop. I’ve gotten into some precarious situations and been able to shake it off and walk out of the pile in one piece because I’ve put some of the work in. So I do believe it’s not just luck.”
Winston, 30, also has size (6 feet 6, 310 pounds) to go with all that experience, good fortune and preparation.
He played against the Carroll-coached Seahawks twice last season and quickly admitted, “It will be a lot more fun I think playing with them than playing against them.”
Winston got an immediate taste of why the Seahawks play so fast.
“A lot of teams, the first couple days of camp you’re flying around, everyone’s having fun, but then when you get in the dogs days of camp things slow down and the tempo is not there. You can see why they’re able to maintain it around here.”
Winston is competing against Britt, a second-round pick in May’s NFL Draft; and Bowie, a seven-game starter at right tackle last season who is sidelined with a sore shoulder. But Winston also is willing to help those who are vying for the same job.
“Any time that you become a vet in this league you’ve got an obligation to young guys that come after you, to help them and teach them and obviously to compete against them,” he said. “I had the same when I was coming up in Houston. I had older guys that I was competing against, but at the same time took me under their wing.
“If Britt wants me to do that, then I’ll do that. If he doesn’t want to hear it, then I won’t. But I’ll be here for him and always be here to help him.”