ALAMEDA, Calif. – T.J. Houshmandzadeh didn’t play in Seattle’s final exhibition game Thursday night, a loss against the Oakland Raiders.
That wasn’t a surprise. Many of Seattle’s veterans got the day off, including quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, linebacker Lofa Tatupu and cornerback Marcus Trufant.
The surprise is that Houshmandzadeh’s next game as a Seahawk has become an unknown after a report on the league’s official Website that said Seattle was looking for trade opportunities. The Seahawks, who don’t comment on personnel discussions, must trim their roster to 53 players by Saturday afternoon.
Will Houshmandzadeh be on it? It’s a question that overshadowed the 27-24 result of a fourth exhibition game, which featured few Seattle starters and a slew of problems.
Seattle went 9 minutes without gaining a first down and fell behind 17-3. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst nearly led Seattle back in the second quarter, only to have Oakland pull away.
Houshmandzadeh led Seattle with 79 catches last season and totaled 373 receptions over the previous four years. The emergence of split end Mike Williams and Seattle’s commitment to Deion Branch in the slot raises the possibility that doesn’t leave a role for Houshmandzadeh, who might not suffer silently.
The catch is Houshmandzadeh’s contract. Signed in 2009, his salary of $7 million this season is guaranteed, leaving Seattle on the hook should it cut him. Reports of potential trades are a long way from a divorce, but it will be a hot spot.
It was certainly more compelling than the game, which was played in a stadium more than 80 percent empty. The Seahawks needed 9 minutes and three possessions to earn a first down. They gave up a touchdown on the opponent’s opening drive for the third time in four exhibition games – this time a 41-yard screen pass to a fullback – and when Seattle finally forced a punt, it couldn’t field it. Justin Forsett muffed the ball, which the Raiders converted into their second touchdown to take a 17-3 lead.
Anyone worried about the departure of cornerback Josh Wilson via trade was treated to a 38-yard pass-interference call against Kelly Jennings, now the starter, and a 32-yard completion against Walter Thurmond, who was promoted to the nickel corner. Thurmond also gave up a 16-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Seattle nearly came back behind Whitehurst. He completed passes of more than 30 yards to Deon Butler, Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu in the first half. He threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Butler, who made several defenders miss. Butler caught seven passes for 103 yards.
Raiders 27, Seahawks 24
Oak—Tonga 32 pass from Gradkowski (Waters kick), 11:26.
Oak—FG Waters 41, 8:29.
Sea—FG Mare 43, 7:00.
Oak—Higgins 9 pass from Gradkowski (Waters kick), 3:50.
Sea—FG Mare 36, 14:12.
Sea—Butler 26 pass from Whitehurst (Mare kick), 7:43.
Sea—FG Mare 46, 1:11.
Oak—N.Miller 16 pass from Boller (Waters kick), 9:07.
Oak—FG Waters 29, 12:23.
Sea—Rankin 99 kickoff return (Martin pass from Losman), 12:10.
|Total Net Yards||294||428|
|Time of Possession||23:41||36:19|
RUSHING—Seattle, Forsett 6-31, J.Jones 6-18, Losman 1-16, Rankin 3-7, Whitehurst 2-7, Tate 1-(minus 2). Oakland, Bennett 25-92, Cartwright 12-39, Boller 7-17, Higgins 1-1.
PASSING—Seattle, Whitehurst 11-22-0-210, Losman 3-9-0-9. Oakland, Boller 7-13-0-157, Gradkowski 7-14-0-128.
RECEIVING—Seattle, Butler 7-101, Tate 2-37, Williams 2-28, Obomanu 1-37, Forsett 1-10, B.Jones 1-6. Oakland, Cartwright 3-45, Bodiford 2-27, Higgins 2-24, Ford 1-62, Heyward-Bey 1-34, Tonga 1-32, Owens 1-18, N.Miller 1-16, Figurs 1-14, Myers 1-13.
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