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Published: Wednesday, August 4, 2010, 12:01 a.m.

Friendly competition between Wilson, Jennings

Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings are battling for the starting CB spot opposite Marcus Trufant, but off the field the two are great friends

  • Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson
runs through a drill during a practice on Sunday. Wilson and Kelly Jennings are in a battle for the cornerback spot o...

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson runs through a drill during a practice on Sunday. Wilson and Kelly Jennings are in a battle for the cornerback spot opposite Marcus Trufant.

  • Cornerback Kelly Jennings (left) wraps up on wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Cornerback Kelly Jennings (left) wraps up on wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

  • Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings gestures during a recent practice. Jennings appears to have taken the lead on Josh Wilson for the final starting co...

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings gestures during a recent practice. Jennings appears to have taken the lead on Josh Wilson for the final starting cornerback spot during training camp.

RENTON -- Competition?
What else is new?
The Seahawks under Pete Carroll love to preach about the program's central theme of competition -- and just in case you needed a reminder, the words "Always Compete" are splashed across a new scoreboard at the team's practice facility. The coaches hope to create competition at every position to make players better.
Well in the case of cornerbacks Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings, fighting a position battle is hardly a new concept. While Marcus Trufant has been entrenched as a starting cornerback since 2003, his rookie season, the Seahawks have gone through a handful of players to find their other cornerback.
Ken Lucas was the guy in 2003 and 2004, and the team even tried bringing him back last season, though without great results. In 2005, Kelly Herndon, Andre Dyson and Jordan Babineaux each started games, though it became apparent that finding another starting corner was a need. Jennings was drafted in 2006 late in the first round in an effort to find the long-term answer opposite Trufant. The team then picked Wilson in the second round a year later.
And ever since, there has been a back and forth between the two to win the starting job. Jennings held down the spot for most of 2007, while Wilson got the bulk of the starts in 2008. Last year Lucas was the starter to begin the year, but an injury to Trufant put Wilson in the starting lineup to start the season, and he stayed a starter at Lucas' expense after Trufant returned. Now in training camp, Jennings appears to have taken the spot back from Wilson.
"That's pretty much my life since I was in high school," Wilson said. "I've always had to compete, always had to earn mine, nothing was ever going to me, and I don't want anything given to me. If I go out there and earn it, I get the respect of my teammates, because they know I worked hard for it and it wasn't handed to me in a gift bag. I want everyone to know I put my blood, sweat and tears into it."
Adds Jennings: "It just makes us play better. Knowing he's a great player causes me to up my level, and it's the same for him. It's fun, we embrace that, that's what you want."
But despite constantly battling each other for a job over the past three seasons, Wilson and Jennings are as close as anybody on the team.
"The crazy thing is, the person I talk to most is Kelly," Wilson said. "Kelly and Tru, I do everything with them. I knock on the door, make sure they're awake and ready to go, I come in here and eat breakfast with them. When we're on the road, my roommate is Kelly Jennings. My wife is hanging out with Kelly Jennings' wife.
"We're the closest of friends off the field, there's no animosity. We're both the same way, we're true competitors, we let our play talk. If he's having a better camp than me, a better season than me, I'm going to say glory to him, God blessed him with the skills to go out there and perform, and I'm going to be happy for him. Same thing for him, we're always honest with each other and ourselves."
But even though the two are friends, and even though they've become accustomed to a back-and-forth battle, that doesn't mean either is content to just be battling for a starting job. Eventually, both aspire to become an established starter like Trufant.
"Of course, and that's what you work for," Jennings said. "And I know there's things in my game that need to refine and get better at. Each year I feel more confident that I'm getting better. But I do want to reach that point where it's secure.
"It's my fifth year, I've been going back and forth, and it's now or never pretty much."
Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog


Story tags » Seahawks

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