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Originally published June 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 22, 2007 at 9:03 PM

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Hawks Notebook | Pollard is pressure- proof at TE

It was just another practice drill, the linebackers covering the tight ends. Marcus Pollard, the new Seahawks tight end, lined up against...

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — It was just another practice drill, the linebackers covering the tight ends.

Marcus Pollard, the new Seahawks tight end, lined up against veteran linebacker Kevin Bentley. Right after the ball was snapped, Pollard put together a series of twists and cutbacks that left Bentley tied up in knots.

Pollard caught the ball, getting such good separation that even a bad ball would have been a touchdown.

All Bentley could do was catch up at the end of the play and bear-hug Pollard in appreciation.

"I'd say a combination of my basketball athletic ability and also experience," the 13-year veteran and former Bradley University basketball player said, describing his moves last week.

"I know he's really anxious and hungry to really make a play on me," Pollard said. "Because he's so overzealous, I give him what he thinks he's getting and I serve him a little side dish, and that's what happened on that play."

All in good fun and competition among teammates, of course.

"People like that really make me better," Pollard said. He appreciates that Seahawks linebackers approach with him questions about what to do in tight-end coverage.

As for being the projected No. 1 tight end this season in an offense that utilizes the position regularly, Pollard feels no pressure.

At 35, he's seen quite a bit.

"To me, pressure is when somebody asks you to do something, and you don't know what you're doing," Pollard said. "If somebody asks me to do brain surgery, now that's pressure. But this is what I've been doing for so long, so I don't look at it as pressure, I just look at it as an opportunity to help a team get back to where it deserves to be."

Pollard spent the past two seasons in Detroit after 11 with the Indianapolis Colts. He watched Super Bowl XLI between Indy and Chicago with mixed feelings.

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"It was a little bit tough," Pollard said. "If [Indy] had lost the AFC Championship Game I'd have been 'All right, cool.' But once they got [to the Super Bowl], I really wanted them to win because a lot of guys put in a lot of years just like I had ... They really deserved it, and I was pulling for them."

Gray goes west

Chris Gray re-signed with the Seahawks in the offseason for two years, which might be the soon-to-be 37-year-old right guard's last two in the NFL.

With that in mind, Gray decided to move his wife, Julie, and two kids, Grace and Matthew, permanently to Kirkland from Birmingham, Ala. He missed practices last week.

"Everything happened so fast," Gray said. "Our house here is about half the size as it is in Alabama so we had to get rid of a lot of stuff we didn't need."

For four years, the Grays have split time between Kirkland and Birmingham. But it became increasingly difficult for them to shuttle back and forth. "We got tired with the kids going back and forth to school," Gray said. "It just got hard on them and my wife, packing up twice a year."

The chance remains they could return to Alabama, where most of their relatives live.

Gray, a 15-year veteran, started 121 consecutive regular-season games until missing last season's finale with a thigh injury.

Notes

• CB Pete Hunter injured a hamstring trying to cover Deion Branch during a one-on-one drill in Tuesday's practice, and did not return.

• RB Shaun Alexander missed practice and is not expected to return for the final two days of minicamp, today and Thursday.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com.

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