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Seahawks' Watters Still Hurting

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Seahawks' Watters Still Hurting

Seahawks' Watters Still Hurting

January 10, 2000
KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Ricky Watters watched the Wednesday afternoon practice in the Seattle Seahawks' practice bubble with a hood drawn tightly over his head.

The star running back wasn't part of Wednesday's workout because he's still bothered by a sprained right knee.

Coach Mike Holmgren, looking for a running attack to go with quarterback Jon Kitna in Sunday's playoff game against Miami, hopes to have Watters practice today and Friday.

Watters was asked Wednesday if he was going to play.

``Is that a question?' he asked. ``I played last Sunday. You know I'm going to play this Sunday.'

He promised to be a different player Sunday than the Watters who showed up at Giants Stadium in a regular season-ending loss against the New York Jets. He had 30 yards on nine carries in a 19-9 defeat.

``I'm definitely going to be effective,' he said. ``I heard that last time. It was like, `He's not effective, he wasn't effective.' Come on, coach didn't want to get me hurt. It had nothing to do with me being effective. I still could have done it.'

Watters said he would like to play without a knee brace against the Dolphins. He used a brace last week, but found it too bulky. If he does have to wear one, he'd like to find a lighter one.

Watters expects Holmgren to go exclusively with him, not backup Ahman Green.

``I think he knows what time it is: It's the playoffs and we've got to do it. I've got to go out there and I've got to do it,' Watters said.

During the regular season, Watters rushed for 1,210 yards and five touchdowns on 325 carries, the sixth career 1,000-yard rushing season for the five-time Pro Bowl running back.

Beset by fumbling problems and injuries, Green had 120 yards on 26 carries, with no touchdowns. Against the Jets, he got one carry.

Holmgren sounded less than certain about Watters' status.

``I think he will be better than he was last week, but he's not going to be 100 percent,' he said.

Holmgren said Watters will start against the Dolphins, but will be yanked quickly if he can't produce. Holmgren then will turn to Green, a second-year back from Nebraska.

``Ricky wanted to play last week,' Holmgren said. ``Our medical people said he could play. In some respects, I kick myself. He could have played a little bit and then I should have taken him out and let Ahman play.

``If that's the way it is this week, I told Ricky already that I would do that. So everyone's on alert.'

It will take a strong running game to beat the Dolphins, so Holmgren doesn't want turn quarterback Kitna loose. Kitna passed a career-high 45 times against the Jets.

``That's not the best way for us to win the game,' Holmgren said. ``I wouldn't anticipate doing that.'

The Seahawks lost five of their last six games, but made the playoffs as AFC West champs when Kansas City lost in overtime to Oakland. They hope to redeem themselves in their first playoff game since 1988.

``It's a brand new season,' Holmgren said. ``You're three games away from the Super Bowl and you're two games away from the AFC championship game. If you can't get a spark and get fired up about that kind of stuff, something's wrong. Then, quite honestly, those players aren't going to be around here very long.'

In Green Bay, where Holmgren coached for seven seasons, his Packers went to two Super Bowls and to the playoffs six times. They compiled a 9-5 record in the playoffs, including 5-0 at home.

Holmgren had cold weather on his side in Green Bay. He will have the Kingdome's noise as an ally Sunday.

Sunday's game will be the final one for the Kingdome, which is scheduled to be demolished after the season to make way for an outdoor football stadium for the Seahawks. The Seahawks will play two seasons at Washington's Husky Stadium before their stadium is ready for the 2002 season.

Image courtesy of PicturesNow.com

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