This morning on the Mitch in the Morning show on KJR (950 AM, Seattle), host Mitch Levy interviewed Seahawks head coach Jim Mora. Although several things were discussed during the interview, the comments that Mora made regarding the Leroy Hill situation stood out the most.
From the interview, according to Mora, “I’m hoping that Leroy is here this weekend for our minicamp, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he might be.”
Shortly after, Mora went on to reveal, “In talking to Leroy, as much as I have, is that he’ll be wearing a Seattle Seahawks uniform next year. I feel very confident of that.”
The 12th Man seems to be collectively excited about this interview; hope and optimism for Leroy Hill’s return to Seattle is high. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I feel that removing the franchise tag from Hill was the right move and a very shrewd decision financially. I’m a big fan of bringing back Hill, but only if the price is right. Tim Ruskell’s personnel decisions over the past couple of weeks have been nothing less than brilliant.
In the interview, Mora shed light on the decision to designate Hill the franchise player, and then the thought process that resulted in the designation being withdrawn. According to Mora, “We put the tag on Leroy and we indicated at the very beginning that we did not want to lose him and that we did want to sign him to a long term deal; that we did want him to be a Seattle Seahawk. And we felt like by putting the franchise tag on him we ensured that under almost every scenario he would be a Seattle Seahawk. But that wasn’t happening, we weren’t getting anything done. Negotiations weren’t progressing.”
Mora continued by explaining the incentive to remove the franchise tag from Hill, saying, “We have an entirely new defensive scheme … and I shouldn’t say entirely new, but a majority of what we’re doing on defense, terminology-wise and assignment-wise, will be different than what Leroy has done his first four years here. So he is missing valuable time when he’s not here in order for him to be a productive football player for us on the field next fall. To ask a guy to come in in a new scheme the week before the first regular season game and be productive is a pipe dream – it just doesn’t happen.”
After hearing Mora’s comments on KJR, I’m even more optimistic that we’ll be able to retain the productive linebacker. If for whatever reason we aren’t, several options are still available: D.D. Lewis is a capable starter and Will Herring is a quality backup, and there are other free agents available. But I find myself extremely excited about the potential of seeing Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry, and Hill all on the field at once in Seahawk uniforms.
I’d like to solicit feedback from everyone. What is your opinion of the Hill scenario? Are you excited? Optimistic or pessimistic?
On another note, a few other things were revealed from the interview.
According to Mora, Ken Lucas will be the starter opposite Marcus Trufant at cornerback, but open competition will continue through camps. This isn’t a complete surprise to most, as Lucas is a proven veteran who brings size and experience to a position that has been lacking.
On special teams, Jim Mora said that the Ken Lucas signing will allow Josh Wilson to return kicks. Adding quality depth to the cornerback position makes the coaches feel secure enough to let Wilson contribute on special teams. Rookie Deon Butler, a speedy receiver drafted in the third round last weekend, will be given the opportunity to return punts.
The entire interview from this morning with Jim Mora can be found here.
Tags: 12th Man Aaron Curry D.D. Lewis Defense Deon Butler Head Coach Interview Jim Mora Jim Mora Jr. Josh Wilson Ken Lucas KJR LeRoy Hill Lofa Tatupu Marcus Trufant Mitch In The Morning Mitch Levy Seattle Seahawks Special Teams Tim Ruskell Will Herring