T.J. Houshmandzadeh back on field for Seahawks
The veteran receiver has returned to the field after an injury-riddled season as the Seahawks conclude offseason training this week.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — T.J. Houshmandzadeh is as fearless with his opinions as he is going over the middle after a pass.
The man doesn't have many unspoken thoughts, which made the first three minutes of Houshmandzadeh's interview after the Seahawks' practice on Tuesday kind of a letdown.
Courteous and soft-spoken, he was almost boring as he talked about his return from a sports hernia — the first surgery in his nine-year NFL career — and his expectations for this offense.
Only when the interview took a World Cup detour did Houshmandzadeh really get rolling. Last week's controversial 2-2 U.S. draw against Slovenia, when an apparent U.S. goal was disallowed, got under his skin.
"They got cheated," Houshmandzadeh said. "It happens. Like y'all got cheated in the Super Bowl."
That's more like it, even if he's preaching to the choir in Seattle when it comes to criticism of the officiating during the Seahawks' Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh four years ago.
Houshmandzadeh is brazen and he is back, returning to the field after an injury-riddled season as the Seahawks conclude offseason training this week. Three broken ribs bothered the veteran receiver the first six weeks of the season, and the sports hernia ultimately required surgery. Through it all, he caught a team-high 79 passes.
"I've never really had an injury before," Houshmandzadeh said. "Not to this extent, anyway."
He isn't the only player Seattle is welcoming back. Receiver Deion Branch is back after arthroscopic knee surgery, and new running back Leon Washington was very limited in practice as he returns from a broken leg suffered last year with the Jets.
"It's just great to see these guys back in," coach Pete Carroll said, "so we have a feel for them."
Their return also provides a little foreshadowing for what promises to be fiercely, wide-open competition for playing time next season.
After losing Nate Burleson as a free agent to Detroit, the Seahawks spent two months looking for able-bodied receivers. They believe they found a top-shelf playmaker, drafting Golden Tate out of Notre Dame. They found potential gold in the recycle bin, signing former first-round pick Mike Williams, who has been impressive this offseason. And they are giving former Husky Isaiah Stanback a look, too.
Throw in the development of Deon Butler and Ben Obomanu, along with the return of Houshmandzadeh and Branch, and there's a mix of alternatives.
"It's going to be a very competitive camp," Carroll said. "Let the games begin and see how everyone battles it out."
What's missing is an established and defined No. 1 receiver.
"We don't have that luxury yet," Carroll said.
Instead, Seattle has a cast of characters that ranges from the big-bodied Williams, at 240 pounds, to the explosive Tate to the fearless Houshmandzadeh.
"Everybody is different," Houshmandzadeh said. "That's what sticks out to me. No two guys are really alike."
And now everybody is back, Houshmandzadeh and Branch hoping to be full-go when training camp begins July 31.
• The Seahawks claimed safety Kevin Ellison off waivers from San Diego, releasing defensive lineman Will Tukuafu to make room. Ellison was a sixth-round pick who played for Carroll at USC, was chosen in the sixth round by San Diego last year, but released following a May arrest on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance. Police said he was found with 100 painkiller pills.
• Seattle hired Scot McCloughan, former 49ers general manager, and named him a senior personnel executive. McCloughan worked five seasons in Seattle's front office from 2000 to 2004 before leaving for the 49ers.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
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