Tucked beneath the bulky cast that protects Eddie Goines’ left knee are two nasty and lengthy scars, courtesy of separate ligament-repairing surgeries.
His knee is constantly bloated with fluid since having the second operation. He reinjured the hinge during the Seahawks ‘96 training camp.
He would love to say he feels no soreness after two-hour practices in Cheney, but he can’t. His knee does ache. He concedes the knee is probably as close as it will ever be to 100 percent.
He would love to believe that he’ll be a Seahawk when the team faces the New York Jets on Aug. 31 in the Kingdome. But it would be premature.
These are facts and, it should be noted, not complaints from Goines.
“When you climb a hill and get toward the top and get knocked all the way back down again, it’s tough to get up,” he admits. “But that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Two extensive rehabilitations later, Goines has won respect from his peers and coaches. Four receivers, including Goines, are battling for the sixth and last receivers slot on the club.
He helped his cause on Sunday afternoon with consecutive catches, one on a sideline route and the other on a deep fade pattern, that drew applause from sun-baked spectators.
“I’m not out here (just) to make the team and I don’t mind letting that be known,” the North Carolina State grad said. “I want to play receiver.
“I’ll do what I have to on special teams, but I don’t want to be a guy who plays 10 years in the league and you hardly know who he is. I want to make an impact.”
The Seahawks’ top three receivers have already done so. Joey Galloway is the swift superstar. Brian Blades and Mike Pritchard are sure-handed, accomplished veterans.
The fourth and fifth spots appear to be Ronnie Harris’ and James McKnight’s to lose. Harris is a hard-nosed special teams player. Both are enjoying solid camps.
Goines initially injured his knee late in his senior season at N.C. State. The Seahawks selected Goines in the sixth round of the ‘95 draft.
“If he hadn’t been hurt, he would have been early second round or late first round,” said offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski. “He was explosive, real good speed, real good size.”
The 6-foot Goines basically spent his first year on the mend. Then came the second knee blowout in training camp last year.
“I was like, ‘No, not again,”’ he said. “But for anyone who reads this article, it’s just life and you’re going to get dealt bad hands sometimes.”
Goines backs up such talk with actions. After the injury, Goines continued to write a camp diary for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. Once when the players had a rare day off, Goines hobbled on his crutches to deliver his article to a P-I reporter.
“That guy’s gone through more stuff than I can imagine,” Harris said.
A piece of Goines’ hamstring has been relocated to stabilize his knee. “It’s supposed to be four times stronger,” Goines smiled. “That’s what they say.”
“It’s tough. It’s very tough mentally,” he said. “But it (the NFL) has been my dream all my life and I’m still out here pursuing it.”
Something for Joey
Joey Galloway, meet the football. The Seahawks insist they’re trying more ways to put the ball in Galloway’s creative hands. He’ll play more as the inside receiver, which should lead to more touches.
“Brian (Blades) is still going to be a big part of our schemes, but we need to increase the catches Joey gets,” Bratkowski said. “That will knock down some of the catches Brian gets, but that will enable us to keep Brian healthy through the year, too.”
Galloway and Pritchard will be the wide outs in tworeceiver sets.
The Seahawks have avoided serious injuries to any of their key players. “We’re in pretty good shape so far,” coach Dennis Erickson said.
The entire offense has been implemented, Erickson said. “The reason we did it is mentally it tests them. Monday and Tuesday we’ll go back to what we’ll run against the Vikings (on Saturday), which is pretty much the bare minimum because we’ll be playing a lot of the younger guys.”
The Seahawks practice twice today, at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., once Tuesday, twice Wednesday and once Thursday. The one-a-day practices are at 3.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
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