RENTON, Wash. -- It took Lawyer Milloy a few seconds to follow the line of questioning. Then he realized the comparison being made: Milloy was 15 years old when Seattle Seahawks first-round draft pick Earl Thomas was born.
"You're trying to date me," Milloy jokingly said.
Even after 15 seasons in the NFL, the veteran safety still believes he can contribute. That's why even after spending last season in a humbling reserve role for the Seahawks, Milloy was determined to keep his options open for 2010.
It just happened that his best opportunity was back in Seattle.
Lost in the news of all the moves the Seahawks made around last week's NFL draft, the team quietly re-signed Milloy to a one-year deal Friday at the start of a three-day minicamp. It's a reunion for Milloy and new Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who were together with the New England Patriots during Carroll's second stop as an NFL head coach.
"Lawyer's a fantastic pro," Carroll said. "He's one of the toughest guys I ever coached anywhere, and he brings that, plus he's got a sense of the game that can help our guys."
While Milloy insists he's back in Seattle because he'll have a chance to play more than he did last season, he also understands that part of his job is show some young kids the ropes -- none more important than Thomas, the 14th overall pick in this year's draft.
Even if that means taking some good-natured ribbing about the age difference.
"It's a great feeling knowing somebody that's been in the league for 15 years," Thomas said. "He kind of took me under his wing. I sit by him in meetings, and if I have any questions, that'd be the first person I ask."
Milloy returned to Seattle for the 2009 season, signed at the last minute and given the chance to play in his hometown for coach Jim Mora, whom the safety played for in Atlanta. But Milloy's role was limited at best, mostly reserved for special-teams duty and a few spot moments in a forgettable season for the entire franchise.
Milloy started only one game and finished with just 34 tackles.
"I didn't really like my role last year, but I understood it when I came in," Milloy said. "Last year was very humbling for me to be on the bench for the first time and be in that role, but I think I took it like a pro. I believed in my abilities, and I think I showed it when I was on the field."
Milloy wasn't sure what 2010 would bring. He saw his good friend, Mora, be fired, only to watch the Seahawks turn to another former coach whom Milloy admired. When the team added Jerry Gray as defensive backs coach -- Gray was Milloy's defensive coordinator in Buffalo -- the Seahawks jumped to the top of Milloy's wish list.
Along with his experience, Milloy brings needed depth. He's one of three safeties still with the team from last season and one of only three Seattle defensive backs with more than five years of NFL experience.
For now, he's trying to impart as much knowledge as he can on the youngsters back there with him. While Thomas is the player everyone is focusing on, Milloy said it's not just the rookie from Texas he's trying to help.
"I don't pinpoint one person," Milloy said. "That is my approach. I think that is how you lead and how you bring young guys along with you. That's how you show value and probably why this organization thought I could be an asset."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press