Team reactions stun Houshmandzadeh

Updated: November 6, 2009, 7:09 PM ET
Associated Press

RENTON, Wash. -- No one in Seattle will ever confuse T.J. Houshmandzadeh with Steve Largent.

The outspoken Houshmandzadeh is "shocked" with the fuss being made in his first Seahawks season over his angry gestures and comments about not getting the ball enough, in a city where people are used to their star receivers being quiet yet ultra-productive -- like Largent. Seattle's Hall of Famer was so understated he wouldn't even spike the ball following any of his 101 career touchdowns.

Declaring "I like myself, man, I really do," Houshmandzadeh said Friday he's been hearing all week from those inside and outside Seahawks headquarters, from former teammates in Cincinnati, even from his two daughters at home.

Last weekend in Dallas, he angrily gestured toward Matt Hasselbeck to throw the ball with more loft immediately after he tried to zing a ball to the tightly guarded receiver near the Cowboys' goal line in the first quarter.

The discussion between the two players continued at the bench. Both made gestures but did not appear to be arguing so much as explaining themselves.

Then in the third quarter, Houshmandzadeh was seen angrily shouting on the sidelines following the end of another possession in Seattle's eventual blowout loss.

The day ended with the NFL's leading receiver the previous three seasons, before he signed a $40 million, five-year contract with Seattle last spring, owning just 35 receptions in seven games -- and with Seattle (2-5) absorbing consecutive losses of 20-plus points for the first time since 2001.

"From what he told me, it didn't affect him, it didn't bother him," Houshmandzadeh said of Hasselbeck. "But I guess other people felt otherwise."

Coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp both said they've talked to Houshmandzadeh this week and that all is well.

"Man, I've been doing that my whole career. Guys from Cincinnati texted me and told me they were surprised it took me until Game 7 to do it," Houshmandzadeh said of his stomping and griping.

"Whether I was right or wrong -- which, you know, [I was] probably wrong -- it was just the competitor in me. I didn't mean no harm by it. I was just upset by the course of the game, which I would hope everybody is. People express themselves differently, obviously, but it never got this much attention before.

"I'm shocked," he said.

Houshmandzadeh said he felt compelled to approach his three-time Pro Bowl passer this week and tell Hasselbeck: "Br', if I've got a problem with you I will tell you.'

"That's just how I am. I don't send subliminal messages. If I've got a problem with Matt, I will tell Matt. And I didn't have a problem with Matt, at the time. I just wanted the ball. We were losing the game, and it was a big third down. Had we completed it, I would have been fine," he said.

Monday, Hasselbeck said of Houshmandzadeh's fire: "That's kind of his demeanor. There's no issue there. The issue is, we have to complete more passes."

Hasselbeck made a point of mentioning he nominated Houshmandzadeh to be the team's player representative for this season.

Houshmandzadeh sought comfort this week in those who know him best. He talked for an hour on Tuesday with Carson Palmer. Houshmandzadeh said his old Bengals quarterback never had a problem with his antics because Palmer "knew me, knew I was a team guy."

Wednesday, he commiserated with Bengals receiver and friend Chad Ochocinco.

Asked to assess his season, Houshmandzadeh quickly replied, "Oh, terrible."

"People lie. Numbers don't. As of right now, I'm not doing anything. I don't know why it is like that. ... I like myself man, I really do. I feel like I'm always open. And there's times that I'm not open, and I'm supposed to feel like I'm open," he said.

Yes, Houshmandzadeh thinks he should get the ball on every pass play.

"You watch the tape, you'll see the same thing I'm seeing," he said. "That's why I'm optimistic.

"Hey, there's games left. I've just got to build Matt's trust and confidence with me," he said.

This receiver who may be more than the usually staid Seahawks bargained for also had an opinion on his team cutting Edgerrin James, the league's fading active leading rusher who was hugely popular with his new teammates. The move came Tuesday, two days after Mora told his players if he had to fire guys to turn the season around he would.

"It was a shock what happened, the guys who were released, especially Edge because he's just a good dude, you know what I'm saying?" Houshmandzadeh said. "Teams should just have him in the locker room -- even if he can't play, so they think. Just have him in the locker room because he's cool. I mean, he's good for [the] team.

"That's my opinion, and I think that the opinion of a lot of guys. But we've just got to just play," he said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press