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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


One of the hardest parts of the NFL experience is dealing with the knock on the door

Former Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner started all 26 games he played while a member of the Seahawks. (Associated Press)
Former Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner started all 26 games he played while a member of the Seahawks. (Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • If you have ever watched “Hard Knocks,” you know the pressure cut days have on professional football players. Twice during preseason camp the players on the bubble have to wait and see if their bosses have decided they aren’t good enough. Read on,


• It’s like layoffs at a major corporation, except it happens all the time. Not only does it affect the player himself, but his family as well. That’s where the poignancy of “Hard Knocks” comes in. The little girl or boy who has his or her life disrupted because daddy has to find a new job. There are a bunch of those stories playing out today throughout the NFL, with rookies and veterans all in the same circumstance. The deadline is at 1 p.m. (PDT), but the decisions have been made and many of them announced. The Hawks cut some guys you may not know, sure, but they also decided the bring-home-Brandon-Browner experiment didn’t work all that well. The veteran defensive back was let go relatively early, probably to give him as much time as possible to find other employment. It’s a sign of respect for a guy who helped them win their Super Bowl rings. But Browner was probably easy. Pete Carroll and John Schneider evaluated his abilities right now, decided if he could help this year and pulled the trigger. For younger guys, the process takes a bit longer. There are more variables. How will he develop? What’s his work ethic like? Can we release him and get him through waivers, making him eligible of our practice squad? Sometimes Player A is kept and Player B is let go on that last criterion alone. It’s a way to build depth and to give a younger player a chance to develop in your system. But sometimes the front office misjudges the demand and someone you want to keep on the practice squad is snatched up. The Hawks like to do the same to other teams. And then there is the player the coaches miss on. That’s what Kristjan Sokoli’s agent said the Seahawks did. Sokoli, a 2015 draft choice as a defensive lineman, was converted to the offensive side last year. According to his agent, he’s been cut. And needs to find a team that will play him on defense. Maybe he will. And maybe he will be a star someday. But for now he and every other NFL player who has been or will be let go is out looking for a new home. For themselves and for their family.


• WSU: Kind of quiet on the Pullman front as the Cougars begin Eastern week. School is in session – there is always the debate about semester vs. quarter schools and how that affects football preparation – and the Eagles are on the horizon (that last part sounds like a “Lord of the Rings” mention). Jacob Thorpe has his first look at EWU and in a new format. He also has a story in which he predicts each Washington State game – except the Pac-12 championship and the Rose Bowl. ... The depth chart is out and the Times' Stefanie Loh takes a look at it. ... Elsewhere in the conference, Jon Wilner looks at the media landscape for the Pac-12 and still doesn’t see any hope of a DirecTV deal. ... Stanford will be missing a backup running back this week. ... Alabama and USC has some coaching connections. ... California is on a bye week after opening up early. ... Oregon State opens with a powerhouse: Minnesota. OK. ... Oregon’s offensive line welcomes youngsters. ... Just who is going to start at quarterback for Arizona anyway? ... The Huskies lost a player for a few games for a violation of team rules. ... Arizona State knows Northern Arizona has an explosive offense. ... Balance is important for this Utah defensive lineman.

• Gonzaga: It’s also soccer season and Jim Allen previews the men’s seasons around here. Spoiler alert: There are only two colleges in the area that offer men’s soccer. ... A GU men's player was the WCC player of the week.

• EWU: The Eagles released their depth chart for the Washington State game and there we a few surprises. Jim Allen looked it over and explains what the “or” designation really means.

• Indians: The 10-game losing streak ended last night as Spokane routed Hillsboro, 12-1. It was a battle of two teams who have already clinched postseason berths. Josh Horton has the game story along with a notebook that focuses on what the Indians did to try to lighten the pressure. ... Eugene got past Tri-City to set a franchise record for wins. ... Boise rallied to hand Everett a rare loss.

• Mariners: Late August, when starting pitchers begin to either find a second gear or break down. Hisashi Iwakuma did the latter last night in Texas, though the symptoms of his breakdown were lack of command, not anything physical. The Rangers took advantage and handed the M’s a 6-3 loss. ... Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte threw for the M’s and made my wife do a double take. Right-handed one hitter, left-handed the next.

• Seahawks: Other than the cuts announced already, there is only a little news as the Hawks prep for the usually anti-climatic final preseason game. Richard Sherman did weigh in on the controversy de jour, saying while he agrees with Colin Kaepernick’s views, he feels the San Francisco quarterback could have picked a better forum to address them.


• Layoffs in any industry are awful no matter the reason. But professional football players, and their loved ones, are better prepared for the trauma than most. After all, except for a few stars, the sword hangs over each and every one almost every week. ... By the way, so long to Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (or Fronkensteen, if you prefer). Gene Wilder died yesterday but his comedic talents will live on through his films. My favorite, as you might have guessed, is "Young Frankenstein." It helped me discover the key to the sweet mysteries of life: laughter. Until later ...

Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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