Seahawks "surprised" Chris Clemons absent from minicamp
Seattle coach Pete Carroll says team is willing to negotiate with defensive end.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — For the past two years, the Seahawks have benefited from the pressure Chris Clemons has provided.
Tuesday, the franchise felt some pressure from Clemons as the defensive end was absent for the start of a mandatory three-day minicamp.
"I'm a little bit surprised that he's not here," coach Pete Carroll said.
But not shocked. This is an issue that has simmered on the back burner over the offseason as Clemons was absent from the team's organized team activities the previous three weeks. Although those were voluntary workouts, the Seahawks used a first-round draft choice on defensive end Bruce Irvin as Clemons entered the final year of his contract.
Clemons has made no public statements, and his agent has not returned messages over the past couple of weeks. But Carroll indicated Clemons' absence was related to the lack of a new contract.
"We've had open communications with the agent and with Chris," Carroll said, "and feel like everything is on the up-and-up and very amicable and all that.
"It continues to be one of our priorities. We'd love to get him back, but it doesn't look like he's going to show up for the rest of the camp."
Clemons is under contract for next season, and by missing the first day of mandatory minicamp, he can be fined as much as $10,000. He is subject to an additional $20,000 fine for missing a second day, and $30,000 for a third day, for a maximum of $60,000. No other player on Seattle's 90-man roster was absent.
Clemons' contract, which the Seahawks inherited when they acquired him from Philadelphia in 2010, calls for him to make $4 million in 2012.
The Eagles packaged Clemons with a fourth-round pick to acquire defensive end Darryl Tapp, a restricted free agent. Clemons led the Seahawks in sacks, totaling 11 in each of the past two seasons.
Miami's Cameron Wake has 22 ½ sacks in the same span, only half a sack more than Clemons. Like Clemons, Wake is 30 and this offseason he signed a four-year contract extension with Miami that included a reported $20 million in guaranteed money.
Carroll indicated Seattle is willing to negotiate a new contract for Clemons.
"He's done a very good job for us in the first couple of years," Carroll said. "We're real pleased with his play and his work habits and everything. I'm a little bit surprised we're not able to get further than we are, but we'll see what happens."
For now, Irvin is working with the first unit at defensive end, where Clemons has played the past two years.
"I would have thought going into it that Clem would have helped Bruce," Carroll said, "I think that would have been a better example for him (Irvin), but the other end of it is he's getting the bulk of the work with the first group and all the nickel stuff and so he's getting force-fed, and that doesn't hurt him at all. He can handle it."
This minicamp marks the end of Seattle's offseason training, and players won't return until training camp begins. Carroll was asked if the situation with Clemons would linger until training camp. "I don't know that," he said.
• WR Jermaine Kearse watched practice on crutches, his left foot in a boot. The undrafted free agent from Washington remains on the roster.
• WR Golden Tate is still recovering from a small fracture in his right hand, and while he's able to run some routes, he won't be catching any passes during this minicamp. He is expected to be ready when training camp starts.
• WR Sidney Rice has not been cleared to participate in team drills as he recovers from offseason surgery on both shoulders, but he said he expects to be ready and available when the regular season starts.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil
|What a rush|
|Chris Clemons is one of the league's leading pass rushers in the two years since Seattle acquired him and one of only seven players with a double-digit sack total each of the previous two years:|
|DeMarcus Ware, Dallas||19.5||15.5||35|
|Jared Allen, Minnesota||22||11||33|
|Jason Babin, Phil. and Tenn.||18||12.5||30.5|
|Tamba Hali, Kansas City||12||14.5||26.5|
|Terrell Suggs, Baltimore||14||11||25|
|Cameron Wake, Miami||8.5||14||22.5|
|John Abraham, Atlanta||9.5||13||22.5|
|Chris Clemons, Seattle||11||11||22|
|Chris Long, St. Louis||13||8.5||21.5|
|Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants||16.5||4.5||21|
|Trent Cole, Philadelphia||11||10||21|