And he’ll get a chance to prove it in 2009. The Seahawks have anointed the veteran cornerback as a starter heading into the beginning of training camp.
The 30-year-old Lucas says he’s wiser since leaving Seattle in free agency in 2005, accepting a lucrative contract offer from the Carolina Panthers.
“I would like to say I’m a better professional now,” Lucas said in a recent interview with a Seattle-area radio station. “I understand what it takes to play on this level and how to maintain a level of excellence on this level. So with that being said, I’ve come back to my home where I first got my start at. And hopefully I can finish my career here, and go out on top with a Super Bowl ring.”
At 6-foot, 205 pounds, Lucas gives Seattle a bigger option at cornerback. The Seahawks finished last in the league in pass defense in 2008, and seemed to have trouble matching up with big, physical receivers such as Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald.
Both Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings, smaller corners, struggled to fill the role opposite Marcus Trufant. Lucas was a salary cap casualty in Carolina, with the Panthers saving $2.3 million by releasing him. He visited Seattle and Chicago in March, apparently choosing the Seahawks over the Bears.
Picked 40th overall in the second round of the 2001 draft by Seattle,
Lucas developed into a solid cover corner. Once his contract ran out, the Seahawks lost him to Carolina when he signed a six-year, $36 million deal in 2005. Lucas started 49 of 50 games for Carolina and made 13 interceptions.
Lucas played four seasons for the Panthers, but his play slipped a bit last season, and Carolina replaced him on the depth chart with former nickel back Richard Marshall. But even though he’s getting long in the tooth, Lucas is considered a solid cover corner, and fits Seattle’s defensive change to a cover-2 scheme, which calls for more physical cornerbacks who play close to the line of scrimmage.
Lucas said he still has a lot of gas left in the tank.
“Some people feel like I’m old now age-wise,” he said. “But for me, my motivation is to show everybody that I’m not going to let a young guy outwork me, period. I feel like I have a lot of football left in me. I feel like my best is yet to come. So with that being said, I’m only getting better with time. And I feel like I’m faster, quicker, and much wiser than what I used to be when I first went to Carolina.”
Notes and Quotes
–Rookie running back Tyler Roehl reportedly suffered an ACL tear in his knee during a recent practice and will have surgery, ending his season. Team officials have yet to confirm the report.
The former North Dakota State running back suffered the injury during a non-contact drill at the team’s Renton facility during a kickoff coverage drill, according to the report.
“I just planted my foot, my foot stayed and the rest of my body didn’t,” Roehl said. “I knew something was wrong right away.”
Roehl was working as both a fullback and running back for the Seahawks during offseason workouts.
–Pro Bowl offensive lineman Walter Jones continues to progress in his rehabilitation from microfracture surgery on his left knee. Jones said through his twitter account that he was able to get into a football stance this week, and that he plans on being ready for training camp in July.
Jones recently began running wind sprints in the last few weeks and doesn’t seem to be suffering any ill effects from surgery.
–Second-year Seahawks fullback Owen Schmitt is one of three players highlighted in a movie documentary “The Call” directed by Adam Golomb. The
85-minute film documents an unlikely bond formed between a small-town football agent and three up-and-coming rookies heading into the NFL draft. The movie was filmed in 10 cities over five months starring Antoine Cason (San Diego Chargers), Beau Bell (Cleveland Browns) and Schmitt. The film will debut in a film festival in Seattle on Friday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but it is definitely exciting. There is the possibility of playing time here in the near future. But again it’s one of those things where we have a very, very veteran line. And it’s going to be pretty tough to crack the starting lineup here. It’s not to say that it’s easy to play the backup role, but it will be nice to get some non-starting experience I guess here kind of in the early going.” — Seattle rookie offensive lineman Max Unger on the possibility of getting some playing time in his first season in the NFL.