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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



March 18, 2010 at 2:33 PM

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Charlie Whitehurst unveiled

Posted by Danny O'Neil

As far as introductions go, this one was rather informal.

Charlie Whitehurst wore a blue long-sleeved shirt and sweats.

Pete Carroll had on a sweatshirt, general manager John Schneider wore khakis.

Seattle introduced its new quarterback in the media room, not the auditorium.

Whitehurst may be a new face for Seattle's franchise. He's just not the new face of the franchise. Not yet.

"We've gone about this looking for a quarterback that we thought could be in the program for a long time," Carroll said. "Charlie is fit, he's athletic. He's got a big future ahead of him. We're hoping he'll be with us for a long time."

So will it be an open competition for the starting job? What's the pecking order with regard to Matt Hasselbeck.

"Well, it's clear to us that Matt has paid his dues," Carroll said. "And he's done a great job in the program. We're excited about him coming and leading this program, but in all phases of our program, in every aspect of it, we're trying to make it as competitive as possible.

"So Charlie is coming in here to battle. He's going to show where he fits into the whole thing. He doesn't have a lot of playing time in the regular season, but he has logged a lot of time in the preseason ... We would not have done this if we didn't think we were bringing in a highly competitive player.

"We're counting on Matt to lead this thing, and Charlie is going to take his shot at it every turn."

Whitehurst is a quarterback Seattle brought in to develop.

Someone with four seasons in the NFL, but not significant regular-season experience.

This is a player who has not attempted a pass in a regular-season NFL game, none of Seattle's coaches have worked with him in the pros, so why did Seattle feel comfortable giving up everything it did both in terms of cash and draft-day position to acquire him?

Well, first there was the background of scouting Whitehurst when he entered the draft in 2006. Then came 15 games of exhibition-game experience.

"We thought we saw enough," Carroll said. "The fact that he is such a good athlete, that he does run so well, that he's got very good feet and just generally good speed for the quarterback position that we think enhances the style of play that we intend to put out there. We felt good enough about that evaluation."

"We took our time, now. We didn't rush through this judgment at all. We looked at everything. We've seen every snap he's had about three different times."

Schneider referred to scouting Whitehurst at a workout in 2005 at Clemson and watching him play against Georgia Tech a year later.

"When you see somebody like this, you've got to take your shot," Schneider said.

Was it tough to give up so much in terms of draft compensation?

"I wouldn't say it was difficult," Schneider said. "Obviously we value draft choices, but we would consider Charlie part of our draft class."

Schneider was clear that this didn't rule out Seattle choosing a quarterback with one of the two first-round picks in next year's draft.

"Where we are now, a new culture here and everything coach Carroll and his staff are preaching, we're going to be looking at everything," Schneider said.

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