May 3, 2010 in Sports

Veteran Milloy back with Hawks

Safety expected to mentor Thomas
Tim Booth Associated Press
 

RENTON, Wash. – It took Lawyer Milloy a few seconds to follow the line of questioning. Then he realized the comparison being made: Milloy was 15 years old when Seattle first-round pick Earl Thomas was born.

“You’re trying to date me,” Milloy joked.

Even after 15 seasons in the NFL, the veteran safety still believes he can contribute. That’s why even after spending last year in a humbling reserve role for the Seahawks, Milloy was determined to keep his options open for the 2010 season.

It just happened that his best opportunity was back with Seattle.

Lost in the news of all the moves the Seahawks made around last week’s NFL draft, the team quietly re-signed Milloy on Friday at the start of Seattle’s three-day minicamp. It’s a reunion for Milloy and new Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, who were together in New England during Carroll’s second stop as an NFL head coach.

“Lawyer’s a fantastic pro. He’s one of the toughest guys I ever coached anywhere and he brings that, plus he’s got a sense of the game that can help our guys,” Carroll said.

While Milloy insists he’s back with Seattle because he’ll get a chance to play more than he did a year ago, he also understands that part of his job is to show some young kids the ropes – none more important than Thomas, the No. 14 pick in the draft.

Even if that means taking some good-natured ribbing about the age difference.

“It’s a great feeling knowing somebody that’s been in the league for 15 years,” Thomas said. “He kind of took me under his wing. I sit by him in meetings and if I have any questions, that’d be the first person I ask.”

Milloy returned to Seattle for the 2009 season signed at the last minute and given the chance to play in his hometown for coach Jim Mora, who Milloy played for in Atlanta. But his role was limited at best, mostly reserved for special teams duty and a few spot moments in a forgettable season for the entire franchise.

Milloy started only one game and finished with just 34 tackles.

“I didn’t really like my role last year, but I understood it when I came in,” Milloy said. “Last year was very humbling for me to be on the bench for the first time and be in that role, but I think I took it like a pro. I believed in my abilities and I think I showed it when I was on the field.”

Milloy wasn’t sure what 2010 would bring. He saw his good friend Mora get fired, only to see Seattle turn to another former coach Milloy admired. When Seattle added Jerry Gray as defensive backs coach – Gray was Milloy’s defensive coordinator in Buffalo – the Seahawks jumped to the top of Milloy’s wish list.

Along with his experience, Milloy brings needed depth. He’s one of three safeties still with the team from last season, and one of only three defensive backs on the roster with more than five years of experience.

For now, he’s trying to impart as much knowledge as he can on the youngsters back there with him. While Thomas is the player everyone is focusing on, Milloy said it’s not just the rookie from Texas he’s trying to help.

“I don’t pinpoint one person. That is my approach. I think that is how you lead and how you bring young guys along with you,” Milloy said. “That’s how you show value and probably why this organization thought I could be an asset.”

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