Fred Thomas appears to be between a rock (trying to cover Joey Galloway in training camp) and a hard place (awaiting the signing of Shawn Springs).
It’s like being an office temp, except Thomas is filling in at left cornerback until Seattle comes to terms with Springs. It’s seemingly a no-win situation.
Unless you talk to Thomas.
“There’s no fear that Shawn will come in and be the No. 1 guy,” he said.
“I’ve learned to live with the situation. It doesn’t bother me anytime a guy can come in and help the team. I’ve just got to keep pushing, play my role and try to help the team.”
The Seahawks thought enough of Thomas to make him a second-round selection last year. The team still believes in his ability.
“It’s a tough spot to be in,” secondary coach Dave Brown said. “He knows, probably, there will be someone that comes in and will end up being the starter, but I don’t think that has affected his mental preparation, which is really outstanding. To be on a championship football team, you need a lot of good players. Fred is displaying that he’s one of those kinds of players that can help you win championships.”
Thomas wasn’t pleased with his performance in Saturday’s preseason loss to Minnesota. Despite being in good coverage position, he was victimized on a couple of long gainers by Jake Reed and Cris Carter. The Vikings receivers basically outjumped the 5-foot-9 Thomas.
“My performance was poor,” Thomas said.
“Going into the game it was all about staying focused and I didn’t hold up the deal on my end.
“Their guy was just being competitive and you’ve gotta go be competitive with him. If I would have turned my head sooner and jumped for the ball it would have been a better situation for me. I was slow reacting on the ball.”
Thomas is making the best of his unexpected time in the spotlight. “Anytime you get a chance to go with the first team, you know you’ve got to go up a level,” he said.
He’s done so, say teammates and coaches.
“Like night and day,” receiver Mike Pritchard said of Thomas’ improvement from last year to this season. “He wants to play and he’s proven to the coaches and to a lot of the players he can play.”
“He’s made strides, more on the mental part of the game,” Brown said. “He’s hard on himself and he knows there are things he could have done better (vs. Minnesota). Thank God, you have another opportunity to prepare and play again.” That opportunity comes against Arizona on Saturday night in the Kingdome.
“It’s been a tough camp, tough for all of us, trying to get mentally and physically ready,” Thomas said. “I just have to be focused.”
Ballard is hurtin’
Right tackle Howard “House” Ballard will be in Seattle today to have his ailing right knee examined. He sat out the last two days of practice.
“It’s bothering him a little more (than last year) so obviously there’s something wrong,” coach Dennis Erickson said. “We can’t do it (an MRI) here because they don’t have a big enough deal to put him in.”
Erickson doesn’t think the injury is too severe. If surgery is necessary, Erickson wants it performed quickly so Ballard could return for the regular-season opener on Aug. 31.
Grant Williams is Ballard’s replacement.
Linebacker/end Chad Brown and defensive tackle Matt LaBounty missed Tuesday’s practices with the flu. Receiver Ronnie Harris and safety Darryl Williams also had the bug, but they were well enough to practice.
Harris, meanwhile, made consecutive one-handed catches in the morning session. He also made a diving reception in the corner of the end zone, but was ruled out of bounds by defensive backs coach Willy Robinson. Harris offered a mild protest.
Shawn Springs’ agents sent a proposal on Monday night to Seahawks’ officials that was quickly dismissed. “I wouldn’t say it got us closer at all,” vice president Randy Mueller said. “We’re working more with Walter Jones (the Seahawks’ other first-round holdout) right now.”
Receiver James McKnight and defensive back Jay Bellamy, both slowed by hamstring injuries, are questionable for Saturday’s game. Defensive end Phillip Daniels (migraine headaches) missed workouts for a second straight day.
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