Few weeks have sent Seattle fans into such a sporting dither as March 5-11. The Washington basketball team opened it looking like a lock for the NCAA Tournament, and then the Sounders added to the good vibes by winning their opening CONCACAF Champions League match. But juices really started to pump when the Seahawks were said to preparing a run at legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
But matters largely reverted to Seattle’s normal state of sports disappointment/despondency when the Huskiesy authored new chapter of dubious history, and Manning launched his free agent tour with stops in Denver and Phoenix but not in Seattle. This was the week that was:
TWTWTW: MARCH 5-11
- GOOD WEEK — At the request of Atlanta prosecutors, a drug-possession charge against Seahawks LB Leroy Hill is dismissed (Sportspress Northwest also drops its charge, for now, that Hill is a serial bonehead, but reserves the right to issue new charging documents, if warranted). However, it’s not far-fetched to suppose that Hill, a seven-year member of the Seahawks who had previous arrests and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday, would have been dumped by the club had this latest charge not been expunged.
- BAD WEEK — The Huskies entered the week as the Pac-12’s regular-season champion (21-9, 14-4) and seemed a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. Instead, they made history of a bleaker sort when they became the first BCS regular-season conference winner in modern basketball history to be excluded from the Big Dance, and just the second team in the history of the NCAA Tournament, which dates to 1939, to fail to dance. The other? Washington in 1944.
- EX-SEATTLE SPORTS ALUMS OF THE WEEK — Saints vice president-GM Mickey Loomis, who spent 15 years (1983-98) toiling in the Seattle Seahawks’ front office, apologizes for the scandalous “bounty” program run under his watch. An NFL investigation into the bounty pool further reveals that Saints owner Tom Benson ordered Loomis (now the league’s No. 1 ding-dong) to stop the program, but that Loomis did not. (Tweet Of The Week: Seahawks might not be a .500 franchise if they’d had a “Bounty Coordinator”) . . . Peyton Siva, a Franklin High grad playing for the Louisville Cardinals, is voted MVP of the Big East Conference tournament after averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.8 rebounds in Louisville’s four-game sweep at Madison Square Garden (Siva snubbed UW, Arizona and Kentucky coming out of Frankin).
- SUNDAY, March 11 — After visits to the Broncos in Denver and the Cardinals in Phoenix fliesto his off-season home in Miami, where the Dolphins are eager to make an offer. The Denver Post reported that the Seahawks were not on Manning’s list of home visits. Two other teams took themselves off the list for Manning-love: the Jets signed Mark Sanchez to a contract extension, and the Washington Redskins traded three first-round picks and a second-round pick to St. Louis for the No. 2 pick next month, which they presumably will use on Baylor uber-athlete Robert Griffin III . . . Mariners: Trayvon Robinson goes 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI but it isn’t enough as the Mariners lose 7-5 to the Giants, snapping a 5-game road winning streak in Cactus League.
- SATURDAY, March 10 — First-year league member Colorado holds off Arizona 53-51 and wins the Pac-12 tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles, further compromising UW’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament. In fact, UW’s RPI jumps to an unacceptable 70 after Colorado’s win . . . Mariners: 3-RBI days for Jesus Montero and Munenori Kawasaki and 3 shutout innings for Erasmo Ramirez in a 7-1 win over Arizona; Kyle Seager 2-for-3 with a HR, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers . . . Ex-UW Hoops: George Irvine, who re-wrote the school’s record book during his varsity career (1968-70), is inducted into the Pac-12 Basketball Hall of Honor in Los Angeles, becoming the 11th Husky enshrined (notably absent: James Edwards).
- FRIDAY, March 9 — Fifty one percent of the respondents to a Sportspress Northwest poll say that the Seahawks have enough money and facilities to lure Manning to the Seahawks. Nearly 30 percent argue that Manning will sign with an AFC team and that Seattle is too remote an outpost, leaving the remaining voters to predict Manning will end up in Miami . . . Art Thiel says this whole Manning-Seahawks thing is a bad idea . . . Mariners: 1B Alex Liddi 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored in an 8-5 loss to the D-Backs . . . Storm: Club adds two forwards, 6-foot-1 Rachel Clark and 5-10 Alysha Clark . . . Peyton Manning Watch: Leaves Denver, arrives in Phoenix to chat up the Cardinals (this would not be good for Seahawks fans).
- THURSDAY, March 8— Washington, the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, comes out in a coma, falls into a 15-point hole, rallies late in the second half to lead by eight, and then gags at the foul line — four clanks by Tony Wroten, who had set a UW scoring record for a freshman with 29 points, in the final 18 seconds — and loses to Oregon State, 86-84, throwing their NCAA Tournament aspirations for a loop. “I don’t know,” says Abdul Gaddy. “I’m scared we might not get in” . . . Mariners: Dustin Ackley tie-breaking 3-run HR, Kevin Millwood 1 run in 3.0 IP in a 10-3 win over the Cubs . . . Peyton Manning Watch: Leaves Miami, arrives in Denver for a six-hour chat with John Elway, who has proclaimed too many times to count that Tim Tebow is the Broncos quarterback, no doubt about it.
- WEDNESDAY, March 7 — A relatively paltry (23,433) Clink crowd, given the significance of the match, watches David Estrada score the first goal of his pro career and Sounders FC hold on for a 2-1 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal win over Santos Laguna of the Mexican Premier League. After Brad Evans notches the deciding goal in the 63rd minute, Evans says, “Nobody’s scared of going down there (to Torreon, Mexico, for the second match of the aggregate-goal series), that’s for sure.” . . . Seahawks: Club releases former No. 1 pick Marcus Trufant, the cornerback out of Washington State who represented Seattle in one Pro Bowl (2007) during his Seattle career (2003-11) . . . Mariners: Blake Beavan 4 shutout innings, Vinnie Catricala 2-run HR in 6-4 win over the Angels.
- TUESDAY, March 6 — In a closed Mariners clubhouse, 36-year-old infielder Carlos Guillen rejects pleas from Felix Hernandez to continue his comeback and announces his retirement after 14 seasons, which included three All-Star appearances, all after the Mariners embarrassingly traded him to Detroit for the equivalent of a bag of popcorn and a used rosin bag. Guillen’s exit opens the door for 23-year-old Kyle Seager to make the Opening Day roster . . . Mariners: Felix Hernandez 3s shutout innings, Ichiro 3-for-3, 2 doubles (batting third) in an 8-6 win over the Reds . . . Hoopster Turned Pimpster: Former UW guard Venoy Overton pleads guilty to one count of promoting prostitution in a case involving an 18-year-old woman. According to charging documents, Overton offered the woman detailed instructions on how to work as a hooker, then drove her to Pacific Highway South and told her to get busy. No Tyee Club seating for this creep.
- MONDAY, March 5 — One day after Stanford beat California, handing the University of Washington the Pac-12 basketball title outright, the Huskies reap a rash of league awards: Lorenzo Romar, Pac-12 Coach of the Year; Tony Wroten, Freshman of the Year, first-team All-Pac-12; Terrence Ross, first-team All-Pac-12; Aziz N’Diaye, Pac-12 All-Defensive team; C.J. Wilcox, honorable mention All-Pac-12. It’s the fourth consecutive year that two Washington players have made the all-conference first team. “Obviously, it helps when you win,” Romar says. On his failure to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year award, which went to Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez, Ross says he feels “snubbed” . . . Mariners: Dustin Ackley 3-for-3, 2 doubles in 13-7 rout of Padres . . .Obit: Former Seattle Pilot Don Mincher, 73, dies at his Huntsville, AL., home following a long illness. Mincher hit 25 home runs for the 1969 Pilots, including the first one in franchise history at Sicks’ Stadium.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
In nine seasons with the Seahawks, Marcus Trufant had 612 tackles, 21 interceptions (fifth in Seahawks history) and 2 sacks.
Jazmine Davis, who averaged 16.2 ppg, becomes the first UW woman named conference Feshman of the Year since Karen Deden in 1988.
David Estrada scores career goal No. 1, setting up the Sounders for a 2-1 Champions League triumph over Santos Laguna at the Clink.
Tony Wroten’s 4 missed FTs in the final 18 seconds of the loss to Oregon State in the Pac-12 tournament offset his UW freshman-record 29 points.
Washington is the only school in NCAA basketball history to TWICE win a conference title (1944, 2012) and NOT play in the NCAA Tournament.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Should The Seahawks Pursue Flynn Or Manning?
- “It’s a tough decision for me and my family because I tried to come back, but I can’t.” — CARLOS GUILLEN, announcing his retirement from baseball at the Mariners spring training complex in Peoria.
- “I’m definitely not saying ‘Look out, Pac-12, here we come.’ This is going to be a tough, tough tournament. It’s going to be very difficult, starting out with our first game.” — LORENZO ROMAR, UW basketball coach, before the Huskies met Oregon State in the Pac-12 tournament
- “It’s a character that we displayed last year. It’s a character that still sits within this team.” — SIGI SCHMID, Sounders coach, after Brad Evans answered a Santos goal with one of his own, in the 63rd minute, giving Seattle a 2-1 Champions League victory.
- “Marcus Trufant has done so much for this organization. But because of the changing landscape of the NFL, tough decisions have to be made and this is the correct thing to do at this time.” — JOHN SCHNEIDER, Seahawks GM, after the club released longtome cornerback from Tacoma.
- “If Pete Carroll gives up some of his control and works with Peyton Manning, I think the Seahawks are a perfect fit. Super Bowl contender!” — RAHEEM BROCK, unrestricted free agent and a Seahawk from 2010-11, on his Twitter account.
- “He’s down right now, but he’s a great player with a short memory.” — C.J. WILCOX, UW guard, after teammate Tony Wroten butchered four free throws in the final minute of Washington’s 86-84 loss to Oregon State in the Pac-12 tournament
THE WEEK AHEAD
- Monday: Mariners vs. Rangers (1:05 p.m.)
- Tuesday: Mariners at Brewers (1:05 p.m.)
- Tuesday: NFL free agency period begins
- Tuesday: NIT 1st round — UT Arlington at Washington (7 p.m., ESPNU)
- Tuesday: Start of NCAA Tournament
- Wednesday: Sounders FC at Santos Laguna (5 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel)
- Wednesday: Mariners vs. Royals (7:05 p.m., ROOT Sports)
- Thursday: Mariners vs. Giants (7:05 p.m., ROOT Sports)
- Friday: Mariners at Brewers (split squad, 1:05 p.m.)
- Saturday: Toronto FC at Seattle Sounders FC (7 p.m. KONG)
- Saturday: Mariners at White Sox (1:05 p.m.)