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Coach Craves Draftees Slow Progress In Negotiations Leaves Erickson Feeling Edgy

Mon., July 28, 1997

Seattle lost an NFL preseason game on Saturday. Coach Dennis Erickson can deal with that, review videotape, make corrections, etc.

Away from the field, the Seahawks made no inroads toward signing first-round draft picks Shawn Springs and Walter Jones.

Erickson’s patience appears to be wearing thin. A few days ago, he held out hope that the duo would be in training camp by today. He had hoped the Seahawks and Springs’ camp would have face-to-face meetings in Canton, Ohio, site of the Seahawks’ 28-26 loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

Neither occurred.

“I thought we were a lot closer than we are,” he said Sunday in Cheney.

Erickson was under the impression that one of Springs’ agents, David Ware, skipped a meeting in Canton with Seahawks vice president Randy Mueller. Erickson wanted to be included in those discussions.

However, Mueller clarified later Sunday that no meeting was scheduled. In fact, there was no weekend dialogue between the two sides.

Executive vice president Mickey Loomis reported no movement in talks with Jones.

Said Erickson: “I don’t know what to say, other than what I’ve said before. They need to get in here. It’s amazing about agents sometimes. They hurt the player, the player doesn’t show up and it ends up hurting the team. I don’t quite understand that.”

Ajili Hodari, another Springs’ agent, didn’t return a phone message. Hodari said on Friday he was drafting a response to Seattle proposals and intended to fax it to the Seahawks either before their departure or at their team hotel in Ohio.

Mueller said Sunday no correspondence was received.

After further review

Erickson scanned the video of Saturday’s game and was disturbed by numerous missed tackles, and weak punt and kick return coverage.

He was encouraged by the small injury list (reserve defensive end Pat Riley will miss about a week with a foot injury) and the play of World Leaguers Jon Kitna and Tyree Davis. The former Barcelona teammates were sharp. Kitna enhanced his candidacy for No. 3 quarterback by completing 14 of 14 for 105 yards and one touchdown. Davis had six catches for 70 yards and two TDs. He added 103 yards on punt and kick returns.

On Kitna’s first series, he was sacked and fumbled when the right tackle missed a blocking assignment. Minnesota recovered and returned the ball for a TD.

“The thing I liked is after he got hit, he didn’t lose his composure,” Erickson said.

Meanwhile, John Friesz was 3 of 6 and was intercepted on the first play of the game. Warren Moon was just 3 of 7 for 25 yards.

“Offensively we blocked pretty good but we couldn’t get any continuity because we weren’t on the field enough,” Erickson said.

First- and second-team players will see more time on Saturday when Arizona visits the Kingdome, Erickson said.

Frank Beede and James Atkins, battling at right guard, “were decent,” Erickson said. “They were about the same.”

Moon’s son is OK

Warren Moon left Saturday’s game at halftime, catching a flight to Houston to be with his son, Joshua, who was involved in an auto accident.

Joshua apparently had a brief checkup at the hospital Saturday night and was released.

Erickson wasn’t sure if Moon would return for Monday’s practice.

Upcoming schedule

Seattle will practice today, Wednesday and Thursday at 3 p.m. The Seahawks practice twice Tuesday, at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The team will hold a Friday walk-through and fly out on Saturday for a 7 p.m. date with Arizona.

Swilling calls off retirement

According to wire reports, Pat Swilling returned to the Oakland Raiders’ camp, three days after the defensive end departed abruptly and told teammates he was retiring.

The Raiders also moved to add depth at the position, signing Greg Townsend, a Pro Bowl player for the Raiders in 1991-92.

Swilling, 32, the NFL defensive player of the year in 1989 with New Orleans, returned to camp for Sunday’s practice and will accompany the team to Austin, Texas, today for practices with the Dallas Cowboys.

, DataTimes

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