Seahawks Prepared To Move Forward Without LeRoy Hill


I think everyone was a little shocked when the Seahawks parted ways with running back LenDale White last week. After obtaining the former Trojan-standout on draft day, a lot of analysts assumed White would be a featured component of Seattle’s running attack.

White’s release proves this new regime, like its predecessors, considers character when making personnel decisions. White was facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, but the Seahawks reportedly knew about this when they acquired him in April.

It was White’s poor attitude and lack of commitment that triggered Seattle’s decision to move forward without him. According to several sources, White had problems “making meetings on time, appeared to have a sense of entitlement, and was not coachable.”

At least Seattle didn’t give up much to obtain White – dropping seven spots in the fourth round and nine spots in the sixth round was a bargain. And remember, Seattle also received defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson in the deal.

White’s release was shocking, but does it offer any foresight of what will happen to LeRoy Hill?

I don’t think LeRoy Hill is a bad influence in the team’s locker room. I don’t think he is a selfish player, at least on the field and as a teammate. But considering Hill’s large salary and his recent history of poor decision-making, is his departure from Seattle imminent?

Don’t kid yourself: the Seahawks didn’t ask LeRoy Hill to stay away from minicamps and OTAs because they wanted to give him an opportunity to “deal with personal issues.” Hill hasn’t been allowed to participate because if he shows up and suffers a season-long injury, the Seahawks will owe him his entire $6 million salary.

When Tim Ruskell re-signed LeRoy Hill, he brilliantly added (or at least approved) language that allows Seattle to void the contract if Hill is suspended, among other things. Remember, Ruskell was high on character and Hill had just been charged with marijuana possession following a traffic stop in Georgia.

With a four-game suspension looming, Seattle should have the opportunity to void Hill’s contract and part ways without penalty. Assuming, of course, Hill remains healthy and on Seattle’s roster until he is suspended.

It is unfortunate when Seattle loses out on potential talent because of immaturity and poor decision-making. LenDale White had an opportunity to be a factor in Seattle’s offense – there are better options, but White could have possibly resurrected his career under Pete Carroll.

LeRoy Hill is a talented linebacker who is probably worth his contract if he is actually on the field and healthy. Considering his lack of durability and imminent suspension, the Seahawks are better off moving forward without him. Fortunately, linebacker is a position of depth and there are several capable replacements waiting for an opportunity.

If the LenDale White was anything but a surprise, it was a forecast of how important unselfishness, maturity, and character is to the new front office. John Schneider and Pete Carroll are ready to win, but sometimes winning requires more than just talent.

Shaun Dolence:
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