Seattle Seahawks give new starts to White, Washington

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll continued to practice what they call the central philosophy of their organization on Saturday, bringing in two talented running backs looking to re-establish their careers in Tennessee’s LenDale White and the New York Jets’ Leon Washington.

“I’m really excited,” Schneider said. “The competition thing is real. … It’s how anybody in any profession strives to be the best, is when you have people competing. And so, yeah, we’re really excited about that group that we have.”

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Seattle swapped fourth- and sixth-round picks with the Titans for White and Tennessee defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. A round later, the Seahawks traded one of their two fifth-round selections to the Jets for their seventh-rounder and Washington.

Both should be motivated, as they will be playing for new contracts for 2011.

White and Vickerson were restricted free agents who both signed one-year tenders with Tennessee.

White, 25, was productive the last two seasons leading up to 2009. He finished with 200 carries for 773 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008. In 2007 he totaled 303 carries for 1,110 yards. However, in 2009 White fell victim to the success of backfield mate Chris Johnson, who broke the 2,000-yard barrier. White carried the ball only eight times in the final eight games and finished with 222 yards.

White also had issues with motivation and weight; he ballooned to 260 pounds at one point during his Titans career.

But Carroll said he believes his former running back at USC has turned the corner, and plans on using him as a short-yardage back in Seattle.

“LenDale gives you a hardball attitude, which we think is unique for us,” he said.

Washington, considered one of the most dynamic runners and returners in the league, suffered a broken leg against Oakland on Oct. 25 and played in only seven games last season. Washington said he’s running now and hopes to be ready for training camp at the end of July.

“The Jets were gracious enough to have their doctors communicate with our doctors,” Schneider said. “And so we were able to come to a certain comfort level with where he is, and obviously we’re comfortable enough to be able to make that move. The risk versus the reward is just too great with a player like this.”

Washington said he was actually getting ready for a fishing trip off the coast of Long Island, N.Y., with former Jets teammate Chris Baker, now a tight end with Seattle, when he heard about the trade.

“It’s kind of weird,” Washington said. “I was like, ‘Dude, we’re teammates now.’ So he told me I’d be very pleased about Seattle. He said everybody out there is great, and they’re a good organization looking to get back on track, and get back to a winning tradition. And I’m just happy to be a part of that.”

Washington, a restricted free agent who signed his one-year, $1.76 million second-round tender with the Jets a week before the draft, understood there was a chance he would be dealt this week.

Washington and White join a crowded backfield in Seattle that includes Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, Quinton Ganther and Louis Rankin. But Carroll believes everything will sort itself out.

“It has to be tough and competitive to make you elevate your game, and that’s what this is going to do,” he said. “And it’s going to bring up the best in our guys. In time, the roster will be pared down accordingly.”