The Hammer returns to the field

For the first time in nine months, Number 26, FS Ken Hamlin, took the field and donned his helmet to the roar of the Seahawks faithful standing around the practice fields at Eastern Washington University. He appeared close to being his old self, but he needs to wait a day before the team starts doing what "the Hammer" does best – hit.

"I'm just ready to play," a smiling Hamlin told the assembled media following the team's first workout. "We've got contact tomorrow like everybody else does. It's just another step in the practice and preparation for getting back to playing this season.

"Keep the cameras going, and we'll see how that first hit goes. It's going to be interesting, because I know there is a lot of people interested in seeing how things are going – family, friends and especially you guys. It's going to be interesting. I'm out there just playing, I don't want to take away from the team, but I'm going out there just to get better."

Hamlin was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured skull after being attacked by a fellow bar patron following Seattle's 42-10 victory over Houston at Qwest Field on October 16th. He was placed on injured reserve shortly thereafter and there were some who doubted if he would ever return, but Hamlin wasn't one of them.

"Talking to different people, they are sort of shocked," Hamlin said. "I know me, I know how I feel and I know how I've been feeling.

"I've been doing everything – being in the heat continuously in Houston, just working out. Every type of running you can do, every type of lifting you can do, I've been doing it."

He was a spectator on the sidelines during Seattle's miraculous Super Bowl run and he said it was tough to not be out there with his teammates.

"I'm a competitor," Hamlin said. "I always want to be out there. It was definitely a setback. I'm happy to be back out here, happy to be playing and being back out with the teammates.

"Being out for a little while, you want to get back in the groove of things. Physically, it doesn't feel any different. Just like any other year I got a chip on my shoulder and got something to prove."

Hamlin said he likes the players the Seahawks have added around him and he expects the defense to be even better than it was in 2005.

"We made some great acquisitions (during the offseason), and the guys that are still here are a year older, a year wiser on the field, and you can see it, guys are becoming leaders," Hamlin said. "It's great to be back out there.

"The pressure that we're going to get with those type of guys is great. You sit back, play your responsibilities and wait for the ball to go in the air."

Hamlin said he's been cleared by the doctors to participate fully in camp and he's focusing on the task at hand, which is leading the Seahawks defense to where it needs to go.

"I'm out here at training camp ready to get ready for the season," Hamlin said. "That's my focus, get ready for the season, make this team, make the defense better, and to add whatever I can to our already great defense."

Hamlin seems happy to just be alive, back to his old self and playing the game he loves with the players he loves to play it with.


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