Pete Carroll and his cadre of mad scientists are at it again: conducting yet another experiment.
And why not? That's what camp is for, especially with guys who are trying to make the team however they can.
Phil Bates, a fringe receiver, is being tried at fullback -- a move that means nothing for now but could be helpful for the future if it works.
Bates is taking a similar path as Michael Robinson. Both were college quarterbacks. Robinson, a QB at Penn State, morphed into a fullback in San Francisco, and the Hawks picked him up just before the 2010 season after the 49ers got tired of him always being injured. He has been a key role player on offense and special teams for Seattle.
Bates, a part-time QB at Ohio, came into the NFL as a receiver and was on the practice squad as a rookie in 2012.
Fullbacks who can catch are hard to come by -- you could argue the Hawks have not had a good one since John L. Williams, who was one of the 10 best backfield receivers in NFL history (Larry Centers 827 receptions, Marshall Faulk 767, LaDainian Tomlinson 624, Keith Byars 610, Marcus Allen 587, Tiki Barber 586, Ronnie Harmon 582, Roger Craig 566, Williams 546).
Carroll and Tom Cable want to try to develop Bates into one -- as Cable did with former Husky receiver Marcel Reese in Oakland.
"We love that he's really fast, and he's a terrific catcher," Carroll said of Bates. "If he could work out, then we might be able to develop a player."
Just add Bates to a list of Carroll conversions that already includes Red Bryant (DT to DE), J.R. Sweezy (DL to OG), Allen Bradford (RB to LB) and Jared Smith (DL to OL).
It's hard to see Bates making the team during this conversion -- the RB and WR positions are stacked against him -- but he could spend the season on the practice squad and compete for a spot next year.