Sports

First Day Sticky For Springs Seahawk Rookie Shows His Stuff, Then Receives Royal Treatment

Shawn Springs’ teammates were glad to see the first-round draft pick in training camp Monday. After practice, they politely assisted Springs with an extensive tape job.

To a blocking dummy. Probably to help him work on a specific coverage technique.

Then they dumped a bucket of ice water on him. You know, to cool him off after a steamy, 98-degree practice in Cheney.

Then Cortez Kennedy gently pushed Springs over and said, “Sit on down.” You bet, take a load off.

Springs, the rookie cornerback from Ohio State, who ended his holdout during the weekend, got the customary hazing from Seahawks veterans on his first day. “Man, being a rookie is like being a freshman again,” he said, grinning.

The razzing of Walter Jones, the Seahawks’ other first-round pick, is on hold. Jones apparently has agreed to terms, but contract language is still being ironed out, Seattle vice president Randy Mueller said Monday evening.

“He still might be in (Cheney Monday night). We expected him Monday,” Mueller said. “It’s a complicated contract and we’re sorting it through with the league office. They want us to make some changes. Obviously, his people want the language to be right.”

“We’ve been waiting a long time,” coach Dennis Erickson shrugged. “I can wait another day.”

In Jones’ absence, Springs got the full dose of the veterans’ attention. He was the guest singer at lunch. His selection: “I don’t want to be a player no more.”

His actions on the field didn’t agree with that song title.

He intercepted two passes, one off a deflection and another with sticky coverage on a short crossing route. He ran stride for stride with Eddie Goines on a deep route. He bumped Robert Wilson out of bounds in one-on-one coverage.

“I felt comfortable with the schemes,” said Springs after freeing himself from the tape and blocking dummy. “You miss the hitting, the sweating, the running. Believe it or not, you do miss it.”

Five minutes into practice, Springs bolted around a double-team block during a special teams drill. “Fresh legs,” defensive backs coach Dave Brown said.

At 6-foot and 195 pounds, Springs is the team’s tallest cornerback and weighs at least 13 pounds more than the others. On his first day, he shined in jamming receivers near the line of scrimmage.

“That’s what we ask all the guys to do,” defensive backs coach Willy Robinson said. “He just has a little bit more athletic (ability) and size to help him do it.”

Springs worked out with the second team. There’s no timeline for his anticipated move to the first string.

“As soon as he plays better than the other guy (Fred Thomas), we’ll move him ahead,” Erickson said.

It might be a bit of a wait.

“After this game (against San Francisco on Saturday), we’ll evaluate them again,” Robinson said. “The last thing we want to do is break up the continuity of that first-team defense. They’ve had three weeks of practice together and two games. Until he (Springs) proves he understands what we’re doing and is familiar with people that he’s working with, we’re not going to make that move quite yet.”

Springs’ debut might come against 49ers receiver Jerry Rice.

“When the time comes, I’ll be ready,” Springs said, “you don’t have to worry about that.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo



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