Originally created 11/10/99

Seattle's star wide receiver finally reports



KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Joey Galloway says he decided to end his season-long holdout and return to the Seattle Seahawks because he missed playing in the NFL.

"I realized that playing football is what I wanted to do," the star wide receiver said after reporting and passing his physical examination Tuesday.

He came to Seattle two weeks ago to check out his house and see some friends before returning to his home in Dublin, Ohio.

"I had a chance to hang out with some teammates and I got closer to the situation," Galloway said. "It bothered me when I got on the plane to go back to Ohio. It bothered me that I wasn't joining the team, that I wasn't playing football."

His holdout began when he missed the start of training camp Aug. 1. It cost him $1.047 million: $837,117 in lost salary and $210,000 in fines. During the holdout, the Seahawks took off the table their $35 million, seven-year contract offer, including a $7 million signing bonus.

Without Galloway, new coach-general manager Mike Holmgren has the Seahawks off to a 6-2 start and in first place in the AFC West. The Seahawks play Denver in the Kingdome on Sunday night.

Galloway said he was ready to help his team right away, but wasn't sure when Holmgren will use him. On Monday, Holmgren said it would be difficult for Galloway to begin playing right away. Holmgren, who did not talk to reporters on Tuesday, can use a two-week roster exemption for Galloway. He did give Galloway a thick playbook Tuesday.

Players had Tuesday as their day off. They return to practice on Wednesday.

"I'm going to give it everything I have," Galloway said. "I want to play as soon as possible. The coach will have to make a decision later on in the week whether he thinks I'm ready to play or not."

In Galloway, the Seahawks are getting back their best offensive player. With blazing speed, he gives starting quarterback Jon Kitna a deep threat to stretch defenses, taking the pressure off veteran running back Ricky Watters.

Galloway will play under the terms of the final year of his five-year contract for $1.585 million, minus his fines and $93,235 for each week missed. In order to become a free agent in March, he needed to be on the roster for the final six games of the regular season.

The Seahawks still can declare Galloway their franchise player. It's unclear whether Holmgren will try to retain Galloway, although he said throughout the holdout he wanted to keep him.

Galloway was the clear loser in his confrontation with Holmgren, who arrived in Seattle from Green Bay in January. But he handled a 10-minute interview session the way he handles some NFL cornerbacks: smoothly and efficiently.

"I don't think it was hard at all, but I was a little anxious coming in today," he admitted. "I don't look at it from a money standpoint right now. I want to move forward and play football. I'm not going to sit and say, `Gee, I wish I had that money. I wish I had played."'

He said his meeting with Holmgren went well.

"I think both sides are going to have some hard feelings," Galloway said. "But, hopefully, those hard feelings are left outside. I know mine were."

Galloway said Seattle's best start since 1984 played a pivotal role in ending his holdout.

"A lot of people say, `Is it tough to come back?' I reply, `Why would it be tough to come back to a team that's 6-2 and playing the way these guys are playing?' Hopefully, I can help out.

"From the very beginning of this, I've wanted to sign a long-term deal in Seattle," he said. "That's been my goal the whole time. There's been a lot of reports that I want to go back to Ohio. That is very untrue."