The Seahawks kicked off a three-day minicamp on Tuesday, and head coach Pete Carroll was impressed by what he saw, in particular when it came to the conditioning of his players in an offseason in which most of the team's veterans didn't report for voluntary offseason workouts until last week.
"Our guys showed up in incredible shape, across the board, every position," Carroll said… "It's a fantastic statement that our guys have made that they have been committed."
In addition to players exceeding Carroll's expectations with their conditioning, here are five things we learned on Day 1 of minicamp:
1. Contract negotiations with Jamal Adams are ongoing, but he was absent for family reasons.
The Seahawks and Jamal Adams have been involved in contract negotiations this offseason with the All-Pro safety heading into the final year of his rookie contract, but Adams is absent this week due to what Carroll described as a family situation.
"He's got a family thing that he's working on that he needed to be there," Carroll said of Adams' excused absence.
As for the contract negotiations, Carroll sounded confident something will get done at some point to keep Adams in Seattle for the long run.
"It's been ongoing and it's been amicable throughout," he said. "We recognize that he's a fantastic football player. It's a big contract process, but I know he knows he's been treated with a lot of respect, and he's been very respectful towards the club as well. They've been good talks, and just hasn't been able to get settled at this point, but it's coming. We expect him for camp and everything, it should be fine."
Asked if he expected a deal to be finalized before the start of camp, Carroll said, "I don't know that, but I know we're counting on him being back at camp, and he wants to be at camp too, so we're going do everything to make that happen."
Carroll also noted that even if Adams were at the VMAC this week, he likely would only be going through walkthroughs and not full-speed work as he continues to rehab offseason surgeries on broken fingers and on a torn labrum in his shoulder."
2. If Duane Brown wants to play beyond 2021, Carroll would love for it to be in Seattle.
Veteran left tackle Duane Brown is heading into the final year of his contract and will turn 36 later this summer, but based off the way he played last season, he is showing no signs of slowing down. According to a report from the NFL Network, Brown is interested in a new contract, and if his plan is indeed to keep playing beyond 2021, Carroll would love for that to happen in Seattle.
"He's a remarkable player and a remarkable athlete, and he takes great care of himself and has given himself to have an extended career beyond where most guys can make it," Carroll said. "We love him, he's a big part of what we're doing, and we're counting on him being with us. We'll look down the road together and we'll see what's the right thing to do coming up. He has just been a great part of our program and his leadership, his toughness, what he stands for as man, he's just a remarkable guy. So we would love for him to be with us. If he wants to keep playing, we want him to keep playing."
As for Brown being present but not practicing Tuesday, Carroll said, "We're helping Duane get through a great offseason. He's doing terrific right now, we're just going to keep cruising on through it and make sure that he's at his very best. We're always talking about the business stuff, so that's always something that's topical, because he is in his last year coming up, but everything is going great and he's had a great offseason so far. It's better than it was last year, he's ahead of schedule, so he's in good shape."
3. Absences and injury updates.
In addition to Adams, two other players were not present Tuesday, and Carroll said the absences of both running back Chris Carson and defensive end Aldon Smith were excused. Carroll gave no further details on Smith, but said Carson was gone because he "is working on bringing a baby into the world, so he has to be there."
Three other players were held out due to injury, rookie receiver D'Wayne Eskridge and running backs Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer.
Carroll said Penny had "a little something cleaned up" in the knee he injured late in the 2019 season and is "working out, doing a ton of stuff, but not quite ready to be out there where he's reacting yet. He had a little work done, so not quite ready yet, but we should be fine for camp."
Carroll said Homer, who has a calf injury, should also be ready for camp.
Eskridge, meanwhile, has a "big toe issue that's bothering him, so we're just making sure he doesn't overdo it early."
4. A COVID-19 vaccination update.
When Carroll was asked about the COVID-19 vaccination rate among players, he said, "We're kind of right in the pack of the teams. We're a couple numbers away from being in the top echelon of having as many guys as anybody in the league, so we're in pretty good shape right now."
Carroll noted that he hopes to see that number increase over the next couple of weeks so players have time to be fully vaccinated by the start of camp.
"There's a couple of crucial weeks coming up. The next two weeks, two weeks from Friday I believe it is, will be kind of the time to start the process if you're going to make it by camp, and our guys are aware of that. There are a lot of guys who haven't been vaccinated who just want to wait as long as they can to get all the information that they can, which they deserve to do."
Carroll wants his players to get vaccinated first and foremost so that they can stay safe, but noted there are also football-related incentives for players to do so.
"We're just trying to pull guys along with us, as many as we can, to make it as safe as possible," he said. "The situation that guys face is that if a guy who is not vaccinated gets exposed to somebody, whether they get it or not, if they get exposed, they're going to get quarantined, whereas a guy who is vaccinated that gets exposed is not. So an unvaccinated player could lose playtime, they could they could lose access to the team, so that's an issue that they have to deal with as they make their final choices here on how they handle it."
5. "Still Friends"
Both Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson have done their best to make it clear that any offseason drama surrounding the quarterback is in the past, but just in case there were still any doubts, Wilson playfully interrupted Carroll's press conference on Tuesday, putting his arm around his coach saying, "Just letting everybody know we're still friends," with general manager John Schneider even making a very brief cameo to flash a peace sign.