RENTON, Wash. (AP) – It’s not exactly “Give Me the Damn Ball!” that old autobiography by Keyshawn Johnson, the outspoken former New York Jets receiver. Yet each week, Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh spews more dissatisfaction with his first season with Seattle.
“I just got to get these coaches to realize, throw me the ball,” Houshmandzadeh said Friday, another variation on a public request he’s had for weeks.
“Maybe I’ve said it too much,” he said. “I just got to show them now.”
Houshmandzadeh was the prime free-agent receiver last spring, finally available for king’s riches following seasons of 90, 112 and 92 receptions with the Cincinnati Bengals the previous three years – the most in the NFL in that span.
He has 27 catches this season, 10th in the league, months after he signed a five-year contract that is believed to be worth $40 million with $15 million guaranteed.
That’s his fewest receptions through five games since 2005. His first two touchdowns with Seattle didn’t come until last week; he admitted he exhaled when they finally came.
He let off more steam Friday. He spent the week running on both the starting offense and the scout team to prepare for Sunday’s game against Arizona.
“I’m trying to earn my money one way or the other, man. If I don’t earn it on Sunday, I’ll earn it during the week,” Houshmandzadeh said with a big smile.
Houshmandzadeh missed some practices during training camp and into the first week of the regular season with what the team called back spasms. He inferred that feeling less than fully healthy is one of the reasons his production is down this season.
“If I was watching myself and I had to cover me, I’d say, ‘I can cover this guy.’ I didn’t like the way I looked,” he said. “I’m feeling pretty good now. I haven’t felt like this since probably the opening of training camp. I’ve had some problems here and there you all don’t know about, and I’m just starting to feel better.
“Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve got to get my game back to where it needs to be.”
NOTES: Coach Jim Mora said DE Patrick Kerney’s strained groin has improved enough for him to start Sunday. He also said he will have to see how CB Ken Lucas is upon his return from burying his father in Mississippi on Friday before he knows if Lucas will start as planned. Lucas played last weekend, two days after his dad died unexpectedly. … The coach said backup C Steve Vallos is likely to split plays with Mansfield Wrotto at LG Sunday. Both are filling in for Rob Sims, who is out with a high ankle sprain. … OT Damion McIntosh, signed Tuesday, six weeks after Kansas City released its former starter, will be active simply because he’s healthy and provides needed depth. Mora said McIntosh still needs to learn the plays before contributing much.