News & Notes: Henderson Hit No Accident?

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck thinks Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson took him out of the game Sunday with an intentional blow to the knee. He said the Seahawks would never have taken a similar shot on Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson.

The Seahawks expect Hasselbeck to miss the next three games with a Grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament in his right knee. "I'm sure he didn't try to put me out for a long period of time," Hasselbeck said, "but they didn't want me to finish the game, either."

Henderson denied any intent to injure Hasselbeck.

Replays showed that Seattle fullback Mack Strong pushed Hasselbeck while working in pass protection. Henderson went to the ground and rolled into the side of Hasselbeck's knees. "I'm very aware of people around my feet," Hasselbeck said. "It was a certain amount of time after the throw. I was aware and then I relaxed and that is what happens when you relax on a football field; bad stuff like that can happen."

Hasselbeck's pass was already reaching its intended target when Henderson slammed into the knee. "I don't think it was unavoidable," Hasselbeck said, "but only he would know. Who knows? He does."
Officials did not flag Henderson on the play. Hasselbeck said he thinks the league has enough rules in place to protect quarterbacks.

"I think it's a point of emphasis and in fact some of the penalties that are called for hitting the quarterback are ridiculous," Hasselbeck said. "We are football players too. It is almost embarrassing sometimes the flags that are thrown.

"But I understand the emphasis of protecting the quarterback. You look at the play with Carson palmer last year and you look at E.J. Henderson and me this past week. Hey, whatever."
Hasselbeck said he initially thought the injury might be much worse.

"I feel very lucky," he said. "Now I just gotta get better." Coach Mike Holmgren declined to discuss the play. It was clear he felt Henderson acted with malice, but Holmgren apparently feels as though he's talked enough about officiating since Super Bowl XL.

Seneca Wallace will start in Hasselbeck's place.


--Seneca Wallace's first start for Iowa State was at Arrowhead Stadium. His first NFL start will be there as well. Seattle will be without Matt Hasselbeck for the next three games, leaving Wallace in charge of the offense.

"I welcome all challenges," Wallace said. "This is what my job is. I have to step up to the plate and produce. I have played there before and it is not going to worry me at all." The Chiefs will surely try to exploit Wallace's lack of NFL experience.

"You have to look for them doing some different things knowing that you are a young guy, maybe throwing a lot of different fronts and coverages at you," Wallace said. "You can't worry about that, you have to step in and play your game."

--Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said he thinks the NFL should scrap its intentional-grounding rule. Holmgren made the argument several times during his years on the NFL's competition committee. He thinks quarterbacks should be allowed to throw away the ball in the interests of self-preservation.

Changing the rule would not have spared Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck from injury Sunday. Holmgren was discussing the issue in the broader context of how the league can protect its most important players.

--Holmgren put members of the secondary on alert this week by suggesting possible lineup changes if the team doesn't make strides in eliminating big plays. Holmgren said players are straying from what the coaches are preaching, to the detriment of the team. Free safety Ken Hamlin and strong safety Michael Boulware appeared most culpable in allowing two key pass plays against the Vikings on Sunday.
Boulware and cornerback Kelly Jennings were out of position on a 40-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Hamlin strayed from Vikings tight end Jermaine Higgins later in the game, allowing Minnesota to complete a halfback pass for a 15-yard touchdown.

--Shaun Alexander keeps saying he's ready to play, but the Seahawks will probably keep the league MVP on the sideline for another week. "Shaun is on track," Holmgren said. "That is a medical call. From what they are telling me, I think he has a good chance to play against Oakland (in two weeks)."

Holmgren said there's no temptation to rush Alexander along now that Seattle is without injured quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. "It's really a medical decision," he reiterated. "I could tell you I want him to play this week. The doctors will say, 'No, he's not.' "


--QB Matt Hasselbeck will probably miss the next three games after suffering a Grade 2 sprain of the medial-collateral ligament in his right knee. The injury prevented Hasselbeck from finishing Seattle's 31-13 home loss to Minnesota on Sunday. The score was tied 10-10 when Hasselbeck left the game early in the third quarter. Hasselbeck said he thought Vikings LB E.J. Henderson was trying to knock him out of the game with a dirty hit.

--QB Seneca Wallace becomes the Seahawks' starting quarterback while QB Matt Hasselbeck recovers from a sprained knee. Wallace lacks experience. He has great mobility and can run for first downs if pressured, but the offense will not be the same without Hasselbeck. Seattle will be much less dynamic offensively in terms of its audible game and reading defenses. Wallace simply lacks the experience to make that aspect of the offense work effectively.

--WR Bobby Engram could practice some this week but the team still doesn't know if he will play at Kansas City. The Seahawks will wait until later in the week before determining whether Engram will return from a thyroid problem this week.

--RB Shaun Alexander could get some practice time this week, but coach Mike Holmgren said he thinks Alexander will miss at least one more game with a broken foot. Top Stories