Former Husky Kearse trying to catch on with Seahawks
By Bill Swartz
He was a star athlete at Lakes High School in Pierce County, and Jake Locker’s favorite big-play target at the University of Washington. At Seahawks training camp, Jermaine Kearse is battling to get noticed in a deep and varied group of receivers.
Kearse was hoping to hear his name called in the NFL draft, but instead had to shop his talents through free agency. Not the tallest or fastest, he’s relying on instincts to win himself a job in pro football.
Jermaine Kearse, pictured during an OTA practice in May, is back on the field after injuring his foot. (AP)
“Attention to detail, that’s what the coaches want to see,” Kearse said Thursday. “They want to see you do things right, and I’m trying to do that.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound receiver had a flare for the dramatic when he helped the Huskies produce some upset victories over USC. The knock on Kearse was his occasional lack of focus on the easier catches.
Kearse started this Seahawks camp with a foot injury that earned him a spot on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. He spent extra time with the trainer to get on the field as quick as possible, which he did Thursday for the first time since the injury.
“I was out a couple of days, so I have to get going and pick it up and catch up with the fellas,” he said. “I’ve been studying and watching the other guys on film, so I feel like I’ll be all right.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has a diverse group of pass catchers in camp competing for six or seven spots. There is tall, rangy rookie Lavasier Tuinei from Oregon, and newly signed veterans Antonio Bryant and Braylon Edwards. Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Ben Obomanu have all produced for Seattle in the past. Golden Tate, Kris Durham, Ricardo Lockette and undrafted rookie Phil Bates have all made nice grabs in the first week of drills.
Kearse showed up with an unfamiliar number 8 on his blue Seahawks jersey.
“This is brand new for me, because I had number 2 in high school and 15 in college. I didn’t choose it. Hopefully it looks good.”
Kearse will have to show the Seahawks’ coaches he can play special teams as well. The more you can do, the better chance you have for a place in the NFL.