Twice during the media scrum Monday at Seahawks headquarters around new arrival Sheldon Richardson, the word “crazy” was uttered, once by him and once about him by coach Pete Carroll.
So it case you thought the first week of regular-season ball in Renton was going to be serene, you can park that notion.
“These guys are crazy — in a good way,” said a smiling Richardson, acquired Friday in a trade with the New York Jets for a second-round pick and WR Jermaine Kearse. He was referring to the position-group meetings, in which shenanigans are frequently called.
“The team meetings are nuts . . . a little different,” he said. “They got me today. They cracked a little joke on me. I don’t want to go into it, but it was fun. It’s a fun environment.
“Everybody’s laid back, everybody’s family. They’re real big on that. I’m already used to the locker room.”
Since many families have used the term crazy to describe one or more members, Carroll deployed it when rationalizing the episode in 2015 when Richardson was arrested after driving 140 miles an hour evading police through the suburbs of his native St. Louis with his 12-year-old nephew and two adults in the car. With a loaded gun under the driver’s seat and marijuana smoke in the air.
“That was a pretty crazy situation he was in,” Carroll said. “What I know about it is they went through the (legal) process. All of the things he had to do to take care of business, he did. He responded the way he was supposed to. From that point forward he did an incredible job.”
Richardson was found guilty of reckless driving and resisting arrest (his gun ownership was legal), was put on probation, did community service and paid fines. And Carroll claims the Seahawks did their due diligence.
“Our guys did a lot of homework on him,” he said. “Talked to players who played with him. We did all we needed to do. I know he had issues in the past, but he stood the test of righting the ship.
“Teammates think a lot of him, coaches think a lot of him. He fits in as a very aggressive, uptempo guy with tremendous (position) diversity. He’s hungry, healthy, ready to go and can make an impact.”
Richardson amounts to the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice, because he fills the position booked for Malik McDowell, whom the Seahawks took with their top pick in April, only to have him get busted up in an ATV accident, for which he remains out indefinitely.
Since finding out McDowell was messed up, the Seahawks have been actively searching for his replacement. When Carroll was at USC, he tried to recruit Richardson — too late. But his four-year career in New York, which included a Pro Bowl appearance, kept him on the Seahawks radar.
“We lost Malik — that was an area we were excited about,” Carroll said. “When we realized we weren’t going to have him, we looked in earnest to help that spot. That we came away with Sheldon is a fantastic accomplishment.”
Besides costing Kearse and the draft pick, Richardson, 26, bumped a two-year starter, Ahtyba Rubin, from his job. The Seahawks cut Rubin, 31, Sunday. Another factor in the D-line makeover was the rapid progress of Nazair Jones, the third-round draft choice out of North Carolina who worked his way into the rotation.
The plan is for Richardson and Jones to play the three-technique tackle spot between ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, who will share time with Frank Clark. By rotating snaps, the hope is that the legs of the vets will stay fresher longer, a strategy critical with the 2013 team that went on to win the Super Bowl.
The key, of course, is the keys. When it comes to Seahawks D-linemen, it’s best to give them to someone else to drive.
Why cut Kasen Williams? Special teams, probably
Carroll said all sorts of nice things about Kasen Williams, but wouldn’t directly answer why the former University of Washington star was cut after a highly productive preseason of ball-catching.
“Sometimes you lose guys you hate losing,” Carroll said. “This was a great case.”
Asked directly for the prime reason, Carroll said, “The mixture of the guys we needed to put together for the position.”
Behind Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks have at wide receiver veterans Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson and Tanner McEvoy, as well as rookie Amara Darboh, all of whom have questions about health or experience — as does Williams, who was claimed Sunday on waivers by the Cleveland Browns, the first team to choose.
Nevertheless, there is a sixth player in the mix, J.D. McKissic, who is listed at running back but probably took Williams’ spot. Carroll gushed about the 5-10, 195-pound second-year player from Arkansas State.
“He’s got a versatility that makes him really unique,” Carroll said. “He made tackles downfield (on coverage teams), he returns balls for us. He’s played receiver and running back for us, especially third downs. We had to take note.
“I have accentuate that his plays on special teams were unique.”
The final two or three spots in any position group always have special-teams duties. Both McKissic and McEvoy are better on teams than Williams, whom Carroll semi-damned with faint praise.
“Kasen had done better than he’d done in the past (on special teams),” he said. “I commended him for that.”
So the Seahawks figure they can carry only five wideouts, including rookie Darboh, because McKissic can do multiple things, and McEvoy remains 6-foot-6.