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Seahawks notebook: Questionable call nullifies Tharold Simon’s pick-6

An illegal-contact penalty nullified cornerback Tharold Simon's 105-yard interception return. (Photo above and on front page courtesy of Rod Mar/Seahawks)

The record will reflect that the play resulted in a 3-yard gain and a first down for the opponent’s offense.

But as far as Tharold Simon and everyone else on Seattle’s sideline was concerned, it was among the highlights of the Seahawks’ 41-14 preseason win over San Diego.

Simon’s 105-yard interception return in the third quarter would have resulted in a touchdown for Seattle – not to mention a bit of personal redemption for the second-year cornerback – had it not been nullified by an illegal-contact penalty that was unquestionably questionable.

Simon certainly thought so, suggesting the call could have been a reflection of officials making a point of enforcing illegal contact, something the league has declared a point of emphasis this season.

“I think it was a very bad call,” Simon said. “I know for a fact I didn’t initiate (contact). I know he had one hand on me, but I know they’re trying to emphasize their calls and stuff, so it’s okay with me for right now.”

Coach Pete Carroll said he was told by the official that Simon had his hands on the receiver 7 yards down field, beyond the allowable range of 5 yards.

“I’ve got to see it again, but I thought it was a perfectly executed two-hand jam and press and turn and roll with the ball and he made a great play. It was a great play,” Carroll said. “We’ll see if it was 7 yards down the field, I don’t know. If it was, it was a legit call.”

Simon’s performance was a significant improvement from last week, and not only because he played four quarters Friday after his first career preseason game ended with an early ejection for throwing a punch. Simon finished this game with three tackles and a pass breakup, that coming on a near interception in the end zone that he couldn’t quite reel in.

Merely playing has been a first for Simon, who didn’t see a single snap as a rookie – not even in the preseason – because of injuries to both feet. Playing well is especially satisfying.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “I mean, just to get out there and get reps, go out there and prepare for the next play, next game. it’s just fun being here.”

Schofield stands out

The Giants were prepared to give O’Brien Schofield a free-agent deal averaging $4 million a season, which is starter money by NFL linebacker standards.

He sure looked like one Friday.

“He was all over the place,” Carroll said.

Mainly in San Diego’s backfield. Schofield played end primarily while anchoring Seattle’s second-unit defense. He filled up the stat sheet with a sack, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits.

Schofield’s deal with the Giants was reportedly nixed over concerns about his knee. He returned to the Seahawks on a one-year deal and is competing with Benson Mayowa to be one of Seattle’s backup pass rushers, a role that could be especially important if Bruce Irvin doesn’t recover from hip surgery by the beginning of the regular season.

“He’s competing his tail off to make this football team and make his mark here,” Carroll said of Schofield. “It showed up last week and again this week. He’s doing it every day in practice, so I’m really fired up for him.”

Mayowa had two tackles and a half sack Friday.

Coyle taking command

It wasn’t just the eight tackles and the force with which Brock Coyle made them that impressed Carroll.

It’s also how Coyle continues to man the middle of Seattle’s defense in way that belies his inexperience as an undrafted rookie who’s only months into his NFL career.

“He’s playing really good football. We’re really excited about him,” Carroll said. “He’s done nothing but positive stuff in every way. Like I said before, for him to jump in there and command that group on defense and call the calls and make the adjustments and really not have a hitch to it, that’s really a statement of his preparation and smarts and his background. And he’s tough, so we’re really excited about that.”

Coyle has been pressed into action with starter Bobby Wagner nursing a hamstring injury.


• DL Michael Bennett, SS Kam Chancellor, C Max Unger and LT Russell Okung were among the Seahawks starters who did not play.

• Carroll said LB Horace Miller was the only Seahawk to sustain an injury of note. He will undergo an MRI after twisting his knee.

• The Seahawks committed eight penalties for 48 yards Friday, an improvement from last week when they committed 13 for 131.