The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 31, 2014

Practice players ignored but vital

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — They don’t get much attention, this week or any other.

Yet they’re a vital part of a team’s preparation.

They are the practice squad.

The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos each brought along eight extra players for Super Bowl week, but none will be allowed to suit up Sunday. Their main duty is to work on the scout team in practice, attempting to give the starters an idea of what they’ll face from the opposing team.

Yep, their satisfaction comes from how well they impersonate others.

“If (the Seattle defenders) go out and do a good job, I’ll feel pretty good about myself,” said Arceto Clark, a rookie receiver on the Seahawks’ practice squad.

During media appearances this week, the practice squad guys drew little attention, usually standing off in a corner by themselves while everyone crowded around stars such as Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman.

But their teammates sure appreciate what they bring.

Especially Seahawks receiver Bryan Walters, a former practice-squader who got promoted to the 53-man roster during the season.

“They are as much a part of this as we are,” Walters said. “They do everything we do.”

Boat’s a rockin’: The Denver Broncos might’ve been a little seasick during their final media appearance before the big game.

The Broncos are staying at a Jersey City hotel that juts into the Hudson River, and their sessions with reporters took place on a luxury yacht anchored next to their rooms.

On Thursday, that big boat was rockin’ pretty good.

“My stomach is not too good on stuff like that,” defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. “I’m trying to be mentally tough right now, but it’s bothering me a little bit.”

He didn’t expect to need his sea legs at the Super Bowl, and some of his teammates were more vocal in their complaints — especially those who can’t swim. The whole experience was a little disconcerting for them.

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