Notebook: Simmons snatches Kirkland's dance card

On the Philadelphia Eagles' first play from scrimmage yesterday, Seahawks linebacker Anthony Simmons wrapped up running back Duce Staley and tossed him down for a 3-yard loss.

What followed was what wrestling fans know as a "Spinerooni," a patented move of WWE wrestler Booker T.

Simmons got down on one knee, then held his hand over his face and shook his head.

Levon Kirkland watched from the Philadelphia sideline, looking at a dance he says he copyrighted when he played for the Seahawks last season.

"That's my boy," Kirkland said. "If anybody's going to do it, he can do it. He's taking my copyrights right now, though."

Good thing the two are good friends, because Kirkland takes his celebrating rights seriously. The two even ate at Daniel's Broiler on Friday, but Kirkland said Simmons never mentioned his plans.

"It was a surprise, but he knew what was going on once he saw it," Simmons said. "I was antagonizing him, getting after him a little bit, egging him on, that's all."

Kirkland finished with six tackles and a defensed pass in his return to Seattle. Simmons grabbed his first interception of the season (followed by another Spinerooni) and made six tackles.

Kirkland didn't get to dance that much, but his Eagles are 10-3 and likely headed for the playoffs. Simmons' Seahawks?

"I feel for them," Kirkland said. "I really do."

Palepoi makes first start

Anton Palepoi, a rookie from UNLV, made his first career start, playing left defensive end in place of the injured Lamar King.

Palepoi, who has played in every game this season, took over when King decided to have season-ending knee surgery on Friday. Yesterday, the second-round draft choice had only one tackle and was flagged for a roughing-the-passer penalty during Philadelphia's first touchdown drive.

Palepoi was unable to finish the game, however, as he sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and never returned.

Banking on Blackmon

The Seahawks entered yesterday's game already thin at cornerback, with injuries to Willie Williams and Kris Richard leaving only second-year pro Harold Blackmon to serve as the sixth defensive, or dime, back.

But a neck injury suffered by Ken Lucas, the starter at right cornerback, in the first quarter forced Blackmon to move into Lucas' position and alternate there with Doug Evans, the only other available cornerback besides starter Shawn Springs.

Blackmon gave up a touchdown to the Eagles' Todd Pinkston in the third quarter, despite committing an illegal-use-of-hands penalty on the play. Blackmon, a 5-foot-11, 216-pounder from Northwestern, said he could learn from the experience.

Feeley the gets job done

His line was rather pedestrian: 21 completions, 35 attempts, 190 yards and two touchdowns. But save a Simmons interception, former Oregon Duck A.J. Feeley did what the Eagles asked of him.

He didn't make many mistakes. He ran the offense. And Philadelphia escaped with its second win in as many weeks with Feeley as the starter.

He better enjoy it while it lasts, because Eagles' Coach Andy Reid said yesterday that should Koy Detmer return next week, he'll be the starter.

Hilliard gets shot

With Palepoi down, John Hilliard, a third-year defensive lineman, got the call and finished the game at left defensive end.

Hilliard played in all 16 games last season, with eight starts, but had seen action in just two games this season until yesterday. The 6-foot-2, 296-pound former Mississippi State player whom the Seahawks drafted in the sixth round in 2000 had been healthy but not activated for the past eight games.

"You have to re-focus, and recognize what's going on on the field faster," Hilliard said of the speed of live-game action. "I thought I would have problems with the tempo of the game, but my teammates gave me a pat on the back and helped me adjust."

Big Kirk's big play

The top reason the Seahawks didn't keep Kirkland was his enormous waistline, which rolled out the bottom of his Eagles jersey yesterday. And the reason the weight bothered Seattle so much is that no one thought he would be able to defend passes while pulling along his 275-plus pounds.

So when the Seahawks had an important fourth-and-two play at the start of the fourth quarter, it was no surprise that they went straight at Kirkland. This time, he made the play, swallowing up tight end Jerramy Stevens and knocking the ball away at the same time.

"I knew they were going to come after me a little bit," Kirkland said about Seattle's plan to attack him with the pass. "But I did a good job of covering my guys. That's a perception that a lot of people are going to have. I don't make any more mistakes than any other middle linebacker who gets burned, but I will cover my guys five times out of six."

While the Seahawks screamed that Kirkland was holding Stevens on the play, Kirkland just smiled.

"I know people thought it was holding, but if you know the rules of football, you know you can hold within 5 yards," he said.


• Seahawks T Floyd Womack, unable to play with a sprained right ankle, was watching the game in an end-zone suite with family members when the Eagles scored their second touchdown.

Philadelphia RB Duce Staley, who had just run for a 21-yard score, flipped the ball into the suite where Womack was seated. One of those in Womack's party caught the ball, then handed it to Womack, who promptly tossed it back onto the field. The moment drew cheers from fans.

Curt Kramme, who led the Lynden Lions back to the Class 3A state football title game last Friday, was named the Seahawks High School Coach of the Year in a pregame ceremony.

Neil Hart, a Hawks fan known as Kilt Man for his game-day attire, was inducted into the NFL's Visa Hall of Fans. The Hall honors fans in each NFL city.