Hawks Notebook | Boulware excited to be starting again
The Michael Boulware Seahawks fans want to remember is the rookie who made several game-saving plays in 2004, and who followed that up a...
Seattle Times staff reporter
KIRKLAND — The Michael Boulware Seahawks fans want to remember is the rookie who made several game-saving plays in 2004, and who followed that up with a solid second year that included interceptions in the NFC title game and the Super Bowl.
The Boulware they want to forget is the one who fell out of the starting lineup after six games this season, replaced by Jordan Babineaux. But football has a way of giving second chances to players with talent.
Boulware is a starter at safety again this week, with the idea he can provide a bigger and more physical presence in defending against the San Diego Chargers' offensive aces, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates.
Boulware learned on Wednesday morning he was a starter again.
"I'm definitely excited about the opportunity to play," he said. "I'm just trying to help my team out."
Boulware was replaced after the Seahawks' loss to Minnesota for being overly aggressive in pass coverage and at times missing assignments. He didn't complain, however, and moved from special-teams playing time to snaps on defense as the season progressed.
"I just have to take advantage of it," he said of his return to the starting lineup.
San Diego @ Seattle,
1:15 p.m., Ch. 7
Good fortune for Mili
Backup tight end Itula Mili hasn't caught a pass in the past six games, but he's just happy to be back practicing again.
Mili suffered a serious concussion against Green Bay on Nov. 27 when Packers linebacker Brady Poppinga leveled him with a hit in pass coverage. Mili missed the Seahawks' next three games.
Mili played through a concussion during the 2003 season, but this year's was worse. It shook his brain, he said.
"This one definitely shook me up pretty good," he said. "I always get hit in the back. That's where I get shaken up the most. But this one was in the front. You only get one brain."
Mili lost sleep for a few days and could only sit around while recuperating. But now he is working his way back to being his normal self.
He has changed his helmet to a streamlined version more players are wearing. And he credited Poppinga with making a good and legal hit.
"I did put him down for the Pro Bowl," Mili said. "Everyone was laughing. He put an impression on me, that's for sure."
Coach Mike Holmgren said he'll decide sometime before Sunday's game if Mili will play.
Best vs. best
The best running back of 2005, Seattle's Shaun Alexander, takes on 2006's top rusher, Tomlinson on Sunday at Qwest Field.
Alexander was last season's most valuable player. Tomlinson is all but assured of winning the honor this season. Both expressed admiration for one another this week.
Alexander found out that Tomlinson broke his season NFL touchdown record via text message.
"It wasn't a big deal," Alexander said with a shrug.
"LaDainian is a good friend of mine and he is a great talent, a great person," Alexander added. "Our careers are so similar in so many ways, people like that you get excited to play against. Of course, we won't be on the field at the same time, but it's cool to play against somebody like that."
When the two talk, it is rarely about football but more how they grew up, Alexander said. Tomlinson recalled how their relationship began.
"Basically just enjoying each other's work on the field," Tomlinson said. "Just trying to keep in contact here and there, talking about football stuff and off-the-field stuff. Just the success he has had over the years and how he has been able to do that, and vice versa."
• For the Chargers, DE Luis Castillo (ankle) and WR Eric Parker (neck) didn't practice Friday; Castillo will not play Sunday, and Parker likely is out, too.
• Seattle LG Floyd Womack and WR Darrell Jackson missed practice. Jackson likely is out and Womack will be a game-day decision.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
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