Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu tried coaxing the ball down the fairway, but instead his errant drive found the branch of a nearby Evergreen.
Unfortunately, this scene repeated itself for Tatupu and fellow Seahawk Golden Tate out at Tacoma Golf and Country Club.
The duo played in a charity golf event on Monday hosted by PGA pro and Olympia native Andres Gonzales.
After watching both hack it up for five holes, the nicest thing I can say about their golf games is it’s a good thing their day jobs are starting tomorrow.
“You didn’t see the first 13 holes,” protested Tatupu. “Ask my man right here. Did I hit it that bad?”
Yes, you did Lofa, on the rare occasion you made contact.
As for Tate, he looked the part, decked out in Notre Dame colors, right down to the Leprechaun head cover for his driver.
But at least Tate was honest about his golf game.
“I’ve been playing a lot but it seems like I’m not getting any better,” Tate said. “I still seem like I’m staying the same, and I’m not used to that in any sport. So I’m glad I’m done playing golf for awhile.”
Conversation turned back to football, and I asked Tatupu his thoughts about the pending free agency of teammates Matt Hasselbeck and Brandon Mebane.
Tatupu still believes Hasselbeck can be an effective quarterback if protected with a stout offensive line and a solid running game, and hopes he returns to Seattle for another season.
Like his teammates, Tatupu believes that Seattle could compete for another NFC West title with Hasselbeck back in the fold.
“Absolutely,” he said. “With the knowledge he has and our new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell coming in and his scheme, it kind of takes him back to from what I’ve heard the Holgren era, and puts him in that true West Coast system, where he gets to his timing routes.
“And there’s nobody better than Hasselbeck when you give him protection and a running game, which from my feeling with what we did in the draft, with our first two picks being offensive linemen, I think they are building on trying to get him that protection and get him comfortable. As far as I’m concerned, when you get him protection and get him in his zone, I don’t think there’s much better.”
But he also believes that Tarvaris Jackson, rumored to be a target of Seattle in free agency, could be a solid contributor if brought in to compete for the starting quarterback job with Charlie Whitehurst.
“I don’t think he’s a bad quarterback,” said Tatupu about Jackson, who’s only played against him in preseason games. “I don’t know exactly what’s gone on as far as what he’s gone through. He had a couple coaching changes, and all of a sudden they brought in Favre, so that kind of detoured him. But he’s a fine athlete, and a very capable quarterback.
“But you never know until they get a year or two into the system. And when he did, they brought in Favre.”
Tatupu also had high praise for Mebane.
“They threw him into the fire after Chuck Darby got hurt his rookie season,” Tatupu said. “And from that standpoint, we had a talk and everything, and he did what was asked of him.
“But then the next year coaches asked him, make the penetration and get your get off, and we saw tremendous strides. From my standpoint, I think he’s one of the most valuable cogs in the system. I think he’s one of the most valuable players on our team.”
Tate said he’s been working on his fitness level back in Nashville, where he regularly attended workouts with Tennessee Titans’ players.
“I’ve just been trying to work on my endurance, and I’ve been running routes,” he said. “But it’s kind of hard. I didn’t really have anyone to kind of teach me the little things just because everyone is doing their own thing elsewhere, so I’ve just kind of been trying to get my wind up for the most part.
“It’s so hard because we haven’t been doing game speed. I’ve been conditioning, running 100-yard dashes. But I’m not really getting to cut against a defender or have Lawyer Milloy coming at me full speed. So nothing has been simulated to football speed.
“I’m sure we’ve all been training and running and lifting weights, but there’s nothing at the end of the day that’s like going against a cornerback with pads on.”
Seattle players under contract will be allowed into the team’s facility for physicals and voluntary workouts beginning Tuesday. The Seahawks are scheduled to hold a team meeting on Wednesday, followed by walk-through workouts on Thursday and a full practice schedule on Friday.
The Seahawks again will open some practices to the public, but have not announced the schedule.
Seattle general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll also have reportedly made several offers to undrafted rookie free agents, although these reports have not been confirmed and will not be official until the rookies can sign a contract tomorrow once they arrive at the team’s facility.
But players who have reportedly agreed to join Seattle include Fort Valley State receiver Richardo Lockette, Boise State strong safety Jeron Johnson, Harvard offensive tackle Brent Osborne, Nebraska safety Rickey Thenarse, Eastern Washington safety Jesse Hoffman, South Carolina defensive lineman Ladi Ajiboye, Newberry College safety Ron Parker, USC linebacker Michael Morgan and Stanford receiver Doug Baldwin.