Troubled TE Stevens appears on way out of Seattle
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell confirms what was quickly becoming a foregone conclusion: Jerramy Stevens' days with the Seahawks are done.
"I would say it's probably a time for a change of scenery and to move on," Ruskell said Tuesday.
Speaking at the muddy worksite of the Seahawks new headquarters -- scheduled to open in the summer of 2008 -- Ruskell verified Seattle's lack of interest in retaining Stevens, an unrestricted free agent who spent his first five seasons with the Seahawks.
That interest sank last week when Stevens was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana in Scottsdale, Ariz. A Scottsdale police officer noticed Stevens driving erratically around 2:15 a.m., and Stevens reportedly told the officer he had "four of five margaritas" at Salty Seniorita, a downtown Scottsdale bar.
In a police report, the officer said he smelled alcohol and noticed Stevens' eyes were "bloodshot and watery and half-closed. Spoke with slow, slurred speech."
"I was disappointed. I feel bad for him and his family," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. "I've come under the gun in years past about not taking a harder line with some of our players, but people don't know what goes on behind the scenes.
"I really wish him well and I hope things work out for him."
Stevens had previous off-the-field problems, pleading guilty and serving two days in jail for reckless driving in 2003. He also was convicted on a hit-and-run charge in 2000 after driving into a nursing home while a student at Washington.
Stevens was a first-round draft pick by the Seahawks in 2002. He had a career-best 45 catches for 554 yards, a record for Seattle tight ends, in the Seahawks' 2005 Super Bowl season. But that season ended unceremoniously when Stevens verbally sparred with Pittsburgh's Joey Porter leading up to the Super Bowl, then dropped three passes in the championship game.
Last season, Stevens caught 22 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns, but struggled with injuries and was considered the instigator when Oakland's Tyler Brayton tried to knee Stevens in the groin during a nationally televised Monday night game.
Hours after Stevens' arrest on March 13, the Seahawks signed veteran Marcus Pollard, giving them four tight ends under contract. Stevens' agent, Marvin Demoff, didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
"I think we're in good shape," Ruskell said.
Ruskell also very briefly touched on the situation surrounding Patrick Kerney, Seattle's new defensive end. Police are investigating a woman's report that she was sexually assaulted at Kerney's Atlanta home early Sunday, although Kerney is not a suspect. In a statement released Monday, Kerney said an assault occurred at this house while he was asleep. He said he could not comment further "out of respect for my friend who was assaulted and the police officers who are diligently working to apprehend the offenders."
Earlier this month, Kerney signed a six-year, $39.5 million contract with the Seahawks after spending his first eight seasons with the Falcons.
"It's an unfortunate situation. They are still investigating it," Ruskell said. "Our concern would be for the woman who was allegedly assaulted."
Seattle's major free-agent activity should be complete, Ruskell said, although the team is trying to re-sign veteran wide receiver Bobby Engram and is waiting to see if offensive lineman Chris Gray wants to return. The offensive line is the one area where Ruskell would like to see more depth added, with both free agents and draft picks.
"We still don't have our numbers yet. Even if we were to draft one or two we still wouldn't be at our numbers," Ruskell said.
As for the team's headquarters, construction has been under way for about two months and remains on schedule. The 200,000-square-foot facility located on the shore of Lake Washington will include three outdoor fields and an indoor facility.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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