By Tim Booth | AP Sports Writer
RENTON — Whenever the Seattle Seahawks finally get together in person, Duane Brown will see plenty of unfamiliar faces on the offensive line.
Gone is Justin Britt, Seattle’s anchor at center, released to save salary cap space. Same goes for guard D.J. Fluker. Also gone is right tackle Germain Ifedi, who seemed destined for a new locale after a rocky tenure in Seattle.
Should the season begin in September as scheduled, the Seahawks could have three or four new starters on the offensive line. And for a group tasked with protecting the highest-paid player in the NFL, having such a major overhaul during an offseason where the learning and relationship building is being done virtually is a massive challenge.
“Once we go to training camp, that’s the most intense part of the offseason, so you don’t really have a buildup,” Brown said via video conference this week. “You don’t have a buildup of workouts and meetings and kind of a walkthrough, jog through tempo of practice, and then going straight to pads and full speed. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, but we’re all competitors, we’re professionals and we’ll get it done.”
Brown appears to be the one certain holdover from last season. Seattle signed B.J. Finney, Brandon Shell, Chance Warmack and Cedric Ogbuehi in free agency, then drafted Damien Lewis in the third-round out of LSU.
Finney is likely to take over at center with Shell the likely candidate at right tackle. Seattle did bring back veteran Mike Iupati, who started next to Brown at left guard last season, so there could be some continuity on that side of the line.
“We just have to try to shorten the learning curve as much as possible to get that continuity,” Brown said. “Again, we have a lot of guys that were in the system last year so it won’t be probably as drastic as it seems. But it still takes a little bit of time just to get that going and OTAs and mini camp, things like that are essential.”
Brown is entering his 13th season and will turn 35 years old before the start of the regular season. He would like to avoid the injuries that hampered him last season. Brown suffered a biceps injury early that caused him to miss two games then had a knee problem pop up in December that required surgery. Brown missed the final two games of the regular season and Seattle’s wild-card-round win over Philadelphia before playing in the divisional-round loss at Green Bay.
Brown is signed through the 2021 season and isn’t giving much thought yet to how much longer he wants to play.
“I don’t want to put a number on when I want to walk away,” he said. “I’m enjoying it. This year my goal is to stay healthy as possible, be out there every Sunday, and that’s all I’m really concerned with.”