Holmgren won't let players ride bikes during season

Updated: June 13, 2006, 12:16 AM ET
Associated Press

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Mike Holmgren loves his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He often talks about riding it across the desert outside his Arizona offseason home. He even rode it to work last week during a Seahawks minicamp.

But Seattle's coach takes steps to ensure all Seahawks' motor biking ends when each season begins.

Monday, on his way off the practice field, Holmgren was asked about the latest news on Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers' quarterback, who helped beat the Seahawks in February's Super Bowl, suffered a broken jaw and nose in a motorcycle accident in Pittsburgh.

Holmgren, who drove his sedan and not his Harley to work on a rainy Monday morning, declined to comment directly.

Through a team official, Holmgren said he lectures his players at the beginning of each summer's training camp that they are not allowed to drive motorcycles during the season, from July through January.

As for the offseason, the Seahawks said they expect their players to abide by Washington's motor vehicle statutes that require helmets be worn while operating motorcycles.

Roethlisberger reportedly was not wearing a helmet. Pennsylvania does not require motorcycle drivers to do so.

Standard NFL contracts prohibit any activity involving "significant risk of personal injury" apart from football, though many players still ride motorcycles.

In May 2005, Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher warned Roethlisberger about safe riding after Cleveland tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was injured in a motorcycle accident. Winslow tore knee ligaments and was lost for the season.

Other athletes injured on motorcycles during their careers include basketball's Jason Williams, skiing's Hermann Maier and auto racing's Dario Franchitti.

Some professional sports contracts also explicitly prohibit other, potentially injurious pursuits such as skydiving -- and even less obvious ones like playing basketball.

The Seahawks, through a spokesman, declined to discuss whether any players have contracts expressly prohibiting motorcycle use.

All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson was a prominent former Seahawks motorcycle rider. In March, he signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press