After delay, new Seahawks practice for first time

Aug 4, 2011, 8:12 PM | Updated: 10:01 pm

By Liz Mathews

At approximately 2 p.m. on Thursday, NFL players across the country voted to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement, and the league year officially commenced.

With the CBA in place, free agents — who had been waiting patiently on the sidelines — could now practice with their teams.

In anticipation of the ratification, the Seahawks had moved their morning practice to a later start time to allow the full roster to participate. Stalled for 20 minutes or so until the official word had come down from the league, the players were sent to mingle with fans on the sidelines.

Tight end Zach Miller was one of the Seahawks’ free-agent additions who practiced for the first time Thursday. (AP)

“It wasn’t that odd considering what happened the last six months,” said tight end Zach Miller. “So it wasn’t that surprising to have to wait a few more minutes to go.”

Miller, who signed a five-year deal on Wednesday, is well aware of the time crunch and the team’s first preseason game, which is scheduled for Aug. 11 against San Diego.

“Usually you have 15 days before your first preseason game, so going a week really compresses things,” Miller said. “We know you’re going to have to study a lot, you’re going to have to get as many reps as you can because it will come quick.”

As for wide receiver Sidney Rice, he thought the practice delay on Thursday was a joke.

“We thought we were being pranked for a minute, with everybody just standing out there with their pads on,” said Rice, one of the Seahawks’ other big-name free-agent acquisitions. “We kept waiting on phone calls from the coaches’ people, the NFL and also our player reps and things like that. Once we finally got the word we got to get our first full-team breakdown, so it was great.”

Admittedly bored while unable to practice, Rice said that he hated it — but today was a different story.

“It was great,” he said. “It felt good to be out here. We had to sit around for an extra 25 minutes waiting on the word for us to be able to go, but it felt good to get out there with my new teammates and get to work.”

Seahawks starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson couldn’t agree more.

“You know I’ve been here about a week now and it’s been frustrating kind of being on the sideline watching,” said Jackson. “I was out there taking snaps and I didn’t really know and they kind of pulled me off the field and it was like 20 minutes, then 20 more minutes, which is why we kind of pushed it back a little bit. I’m glad they got it done.”

And despite feeling a little rusty, Jackson is happy to be in Seattle.

“It feels good,” he said. “It feels good to be out here today. I’m wanted here. It was a different situation in Minnesota. I learned a lot there. That situation made me a better person as well as a better player, I feel, and I’m going to take that experience and just try to learn from it — what I did learn from it — just take it and run with it.

“I didn’t want it to happen like that but it did and when things get out of hand, we’ve got to just take them as they come. I feel like everything happens for a reason. So those past few years, I use those years to get better and do better things.”

News and notes:

The Seahawks confirmed that the team has reached a one-year agreement with defensive end Raheem Brock.

According to his agent, former Seahawks defensive back Jordan Babineaux will sign a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans.

Under the new CBA ratified today, the NFL will become the first major professional sports league in the U.S. to implement blood testing for human growth hormone (HGH).

The Seahawks will practice at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and the session is open to the public.

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