The city of Renton is gearing up for another National Football League season thanks in part to the end of the 136-day lockout. City employees were quick to mount the Seahawks banners around The Landing as the city prepares for the arrival of an estimated 20,000 fans for training camp starting Saturday July 30 at 9 a.m. and ending on August 15.
“We couldn’t be more excited that ‘football is back’ and Training Camp is opening in Renton. I encourage fans to spread the Seahawks Spirit throughout the city,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. Mayor Law hopes those 20,000 fans will enjoy all that Renton has to offer, such as shopping, a variety of restaurants, parks and recreational activities.
Seahawks Vice President of Community Relations Mike Flood encourages fans to cheer on the hawks as the players gear up for the season.
"This is a unique opportunity for fans to see the players and coaches up-close, enjoy the setting on the shore of Lake Washington, and soak in the great hospitality that Renton has to offer," Flood said.
This year marks the Seakhawks third year training in Renton at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, a fact not missed by City officials the business community.
"The Seahawks training camp provides a great spark for our local economy since fans and visitors patronize local restaurants, shops and hotels," said Bill Taylor, President and CEO, Renton Chamber of Commerce.
City officials are not the only ones preparing for training camp. Despite no official announcement from the Seahawks, free agent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will not be re-signed. However reports out of Tennessee early this morning state the 35-year-old Hasselbeck has signed an agreement with them. This provides the Titans with two strong quarterbacks, with the other being former Husky Jake Locker in his rookie season.
But just as fast as Hasselbeck was out, Seahawks reached a tentative deal with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tavaris Jackson. Disclosure of the agreement is not yet available as players cannot sign contacts until Friday. Another concern coming from camp this morning with reports kicker Oline Mare has agreed to terms with Carolina Panthers. Mare, who hit a club-record 30 consecutive field goals during the 2009-10 season will receive a reported four-year, $12 million deal, and the move also allows him to play closer to his home in Florida, according to Seahawks.com.
The web site is also reporting this afternoon that the Hawks have agreed to terms with Auburn’s Wes Byrum, the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer, who kicked the game-winner in the Tigers’ 22-19 win over Oregon in the BCS title game. But he was not selected in the April NFL Draft. Linebacker Will Herring has agreed terms with New Orleans Saints.
As with those who go, there are also many players who’ve elected to choose Seattle, including former Oakland Raider Robert Gallery who will fill big shoes at left guard, a three-year deal. The Hawks also signed 19 undrafted rookies on Tuesday. Changes are coming in fast as the Friday’s deadline for free agency comes.
The Seahawks open their 2011 preseason Aug. 11 in San Diego against the Chargers.
Schedule change for training camp
The Seahawks.com is reporting they have altered their schedule for Bing training camp, which also changes which practices will be open to the public during the first five days.
Both practices Friday are now closed, and the weekend schedule has been flipped – with two sessions now on Saturday and one on Sunday. All three practices are open to fans. Anyone who already registered for one of these practices will be contacted.
Also, the open practice on Monday, Aug. 1, is now at 1:30 p.m., rather than 9 a.m. Registration will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and fans 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Only fans that register through seahawks.com will be allowed at attend practice.
Show your Seahawks Spirit
Seahawk fans can download cheer cards from the city’s website at rentonwa.gov. Everyone is being asked to wear blue and green colors and put on their “12” button on August 5, 11, and 19 to show their support. Businesses are also encouraged to use their own reader boards to celebrate Seahawks Training Camp 2011 in Renton.