Slow day news-wise for the Seahawks, but I thought I'd throw up some interesting tidbits for you to chew on this afternoon. First of all, Deuce Lutui and his vegan diet have been a popular subject the last few days and quite frankly, I couldn't care less about what he's eating as long as he is at playing weight. I guess that's the point of all this fanfare, spurned by a quick Pete Carroll soundbite, but Mike Sando took it a bit further this afternoon and talked with the former Trojan and Cardinal.
First - I will say now that the Lutui signing is one of the most intriguing moves this front office has made this offseason and could have potential to be a pretty big coup for the team if he proves to be well-motivated. From what I can tell, Lutui didn't really appreciate the gravity of his weight (pun?) situation until failing his physical in Cincinnati after signing a two-year deal there. He's played heavy his whole life - as Sando put it, "Lutui said he weighed 396 pounds upon reporting to USC, where his line coach, Tim Davis, encouraged personal growth with a saying Lutui ate up: "Mass moves ass." Lutui sometimes played at 370 pounds in college, dropping into the 330s for the scouting combine."
Said Lutui in that article, "It has always been a part of me to play big. I had to humble myself to see what coaches are seeing out there." So, it would appear he finally came to the realization that teams needed him lighter, once he was cut by Cincy. It's important to note that the Seahawks were actually interested in Lutui last year but with the lockout and the schenanigans there, they opted to go with Robert Gallery instead because he knew Tom Cable and his system. Lutui went back to Arizona and sat on the bench, mostly. He's now got something to prove - that his career isn't over and that he's still capable of being a dominant guard in the NFL.
When you hear about a guy failing a physical for being overweight, the knee-jerk reaction is typically something akin to "what a lazy-ass." Visions of Bryant McKinnie come to mind - indifference, complacency, whatever it is. I really don't get the impression that this is what happened with Lutui. He simply thought, for a long time, that he was best suited to play at 370+ pounds. It took the Cincinnati situation for him to wake up to the fact that he might be wrong on that. -- Again -- "I had to humble myself to see what coaches are seeing out there."
Keep in mind, as Sando points out - Lutui is an Eagle Scout and former finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He was voted most inspirational by his college teammates at USC. This isn't a guy that 'doesn't give a crap.'
"My strength on the field speaks for itself, but being born 13 pounds, coming from an ancestry of big men, it is definitely -- I have changed my whole life. I come from the land of kings that eat like kings. The first king of Tonga was a 7-footer. My best game weight is 340 and that is still big for a lineman, but for a Tongan, it's pretty small. You check out my other brothers on the field, Haloti Ngata and these guys. They are playing at 350-plus and they're pretty good."
It's worth noting that the Seahawks have a clause in Lutui's contract that stipulates he stay under 350 pounds, so if he didn't already have the internal motivation to stay at weight, his job depends on it. I have to think he'll maintain, and Carroll has given him a new lease on his career. Said Deuce, "He is the only coach in the NFL who really knows who Deuce Lutui is. I came at him at 396 (in college), but he has really honored me for my strengths and I'm going to honor him by playing at a weight that is under the radar. I am stepping into my prime. I haven't even yet scratched he surface of that. I am so optimistic about this year as far as my training has been. I can't wait to prove to this organization who I am and who they are getting."
I am super intrigued, and considering the Seahawks have one starting guard coming off of a torn MCL in John Moffitt, another starting guard released in Robert Gallery, then a mishmash of quality reserves that are about to fight for the a starting guard spot (Paul McQuistan, Lemeul Jeanpierre, Allen Barbre), Lutui certainly has a chance to earn his job see some playing time.
Moving on - after the jump, I've embedded some interviews from today that are worth a listen - Pete Carroll, Tom Cable, and Bret Bielema, Russell Wilson's head coach at Wisconsin.
"You run to win, but you throw to score." - Tom Cable.
Bret Bielema, Russell Wilson's coach at Wisconsin.