Former coaches had no doubt of Washington’s ability

Published on October 2, 2010 by     Seahawks.Com News (Feed)

To understand the significance of Leon Washington’s two touchdowns on Sunday you must go back to the beginning.

Go back before he fielded either of the kickoffs he returned for scores against San Diego, and rewind past the grisly leg injury that ended his season with the Jets last year.

Go all the way back to the roots of his football career, back in 2000 in Jacksonville, Fla., to the first time he touched a football at Andrew Jackson High School. Washington was a junior who played everything from running back to defensive back to receiver, but the first time he touched the ball was as a punter against Orange Park. Not the punt returner — the punter. And Washington managed to make even that position exciting.

“The first time he touched the ball, it was snapped it over his head,” said Kevin Sullivan, Washington’s high-school coach. “He scooped it, turned around and took off, 99 yards. That was it.”

Washington remembers it a little differently.

“I was kind of looking to the left,” he said. “They didn’t have anybody over there. I used my instincts, caught the ball and took off.”

Two facts are beyond dispute, however: 1) The play resulted in a touchdown; and 2) Washington has been running away from opponents ever since.

He was named Mr. Football in the state of Florida as a senior, recruited to Florida State and drafted into the NFL, where he became a Pro Bowl returner with the Jets in 2008 before suffering a compound fracture in his leg last year.

So when Washington logged the two longest kickoff returns in Seahawks history Sunday, his high-school coach just shook his head. He’s past being surprised by Washington.

“He’s just going to do what he’s got to do,” said Sullivan, who now coaches at Atlantic Coast High School. “He has such a strong work ethic and is very confident in his ability. There was no doubt in our minds that he would bounce back, just because of the type of person that he is.”

Sullivan first saw that in the two seasons Washington played for him. That resolve only became stronger when Washington was recruited to Florida State, and the Seminoles wanted him to play defensive back.

Washington said that he would be willing to play defense if it was best for the team, asking only that he be allowed a fair chance to compete at running back first. If the two other recruits the Seminoles had at running back were better, he would switch to defense without a complaint. He wanted the chance to compete, though, and when he got it, he never left the offense.

A fourth-round pick by the Jets in 2006, he made the Pro Bowl his third season in the league. And until suffering the injury last season, Washington was an explosive part of what turned out to be the league’s top rushing game.

The Jets weren’t just willing to part with him after the leg injury; they almost gave up on him. They traded him to turn a seventh-round pick in the April draft into a fifth-round pick.

“I couldn’t believe we had a chance to get him,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

Three weeks into the season, Washington has already won a game for the Seahawks and answered any question of whether his explosiveness was gone. The next step is finding other ways to involve Washington.

“It would be nice to get the ball in his hands a few more times to see if he can do that again on offense,” Carroll said.

All Washington needs is a chance. He has shown that since he was a kid. He began playing Pop Warner football at age 11 after John Mike, a local youth coach, came looking for the fastest kid in the neighborhood.

That was Washington, no doubt about it.

“He just blew everybody away,” said Mike, an officer at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office until he retired earlier this year.

Mike had to talk Washington into playing, though, his first steps in a career that is once again gaining speed. When Washington was chosen to the Pro Bowl in 2008, he brought both Sullivan and Mike to Hawaii for the game, all expenses paid.

The way this season started, Washington could be making another trip to Hawaii.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

REMEMBERING A LEGEND!

LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS

141124wagner660

Bobby Wagner goes from not playing for five games to playing all but one play vs Cardinals

After missing five games with a toe injury, Bobby Wagner was back at middle linebacker for Sunday’s win ...
141125-nfcwest-660

Know Your Enemy: NFC West Update on 49ers, Rams, Cardinals

Seattle's Week 12 win over the Arizona Cardinals should make for a more interesting stretch-run in the hyper-competitive ...
141124mmm660

Russell Wilson’s impromptu plays paved way for important victory

This one, as it turned, also was on Russell Wilson. After a week in which the Seahawks’ third-year quarterback ...
141123wagner660a

Seahawks cut Cardinals’ lead in NFC West to two games

In a game they had to have, the Seahawks regained their swagger and recaptured their dominating ways in ...
140904glance660

Seahawks play like the champs, roll Packers, 36-16

So this is what defending a Super Bowl championship looks like. Actually, it looked plenty like how the Seahawks ...
140902britt600

The Avril affect has played into Justin Britt’s development

If Pete Carroll has said it once, the Seahawks’ coach has said it just about every time he ...
140828walters600

Seahawks re-sign WR Bryan Walters, waive WR Phil Bates

Bryan Walters’ weekend was a lot like his performance in the Seahawks’ preseason finale on Thursday night. It ...
20140901upnext600

Up next: Green Bay Packers

As Super Bowl champions, the Seahawks will host the NFL regular-season opener at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night. ...

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com

lat-noise-wre0011368363-20130915

WELCOME TO THE SEAHAWKS 12TH MAN ARMY.

WE TAKE PRIDE IN GIVING SEAHAWKS FANS AROUND THE CLOCK UPDATES,  ALL SEAHAWKS ALL THE TIME. SO IF YOU WANT THE LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS DELIVERED FOR FREE RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL BOX ONCE A WEEK, SIGN UP AND ENJOY!

WE HAVE BEEN PROUDLY SERVING DIEHARD SEAHAWKS FANS SINCE 2004.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz