Thirty-one NFL teams restocked their rosters with college prospects, whereas the Seahawks spent the weekend adopting a pack of cheetahs.
While speed was the single common thread, the front office of the Seahawks also continued, in a few cases, to display its willingness to offer opportunities to those whose off-field behavior raised red flags with other clubs.
As general manager John Schneider explained before the draft, certain offenses are non-negotiable and there are obligations to the franchise for responsible behavior. But the brain trust also preached the value of second chances for the worthy.
It’s part of the post-Ruskell reality that the Seahawks are not putting together a Scout Troop.
Before the citizenry breaks out in palm sweats over what kind of people the Seahawks are introducing to the community, it’s fair to point out that Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have earned some latitude on the matter.
We may remember that Marshawn Lynch was considered such an iffy character that the Bills traded him away for a couple of mid-round draft picks. He’s not only stayed out of trouble, he’s gone a long way to changing the competitive nature of the entire team.
Note that the thumbnail bios of Seahawks draftees such as Utah State running back Robert Turbin and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson offer evidence of high character suited to plots for Hallmark films.
But at least three of the players drafted last weekend have some unsightly legal blemishes. However, it’s one thing to see a raw list of indiscretions pop up on a search engine, but another when you talk to them and hear explanations and mitigations.
A quick online search after the Seahawks drafted North Carolina State’s J.R. Sweezy drew instant groans as stories told of underage drinking, pot possession and an altercation with a 65-year-old shuttle-bus driver.
It’s hard to put a positive spin on an altercation with an old man, except that the charges were dismissed and the incident happened two years ago.
But in a teleconference with reporters, Sweezy met his background head-on with a surprising statement.
“That was the best month of my life,” he said. “I may have been headed down the wrong path … that month made me turn over a new leaf; it made me change who I was. It made me realize that if I want to pursue football as a job, and be a professional athlete, I can’t do these things.
“It made me grow up a lot,” he said. “I’m actually glad it happened because I wouldn’t be here today, I don’t think, if I wouldn’t have gone through that.”
(Lets pause here for a disclaimer: You kids at home shouldn’t think that muscling up on bus drivers is your ticket to the NFL).
The bio on Louisville defensive end Greg Scruggs, the Seahawks’ last pick in the draft, also included warning flags. A DUI charge led to his suspension for the Cardinals’ bowl game last winter.
Stories in greater depth cited Scruggs as a model student and a dedicated team leader. He was driving someone home in the early morning after graduation, ran into a light pole, and his blood-alcohol content registered at .116.
“You look back and learn and think about the things you could have done differently,” Scruggs said. “I’ve just got to move forward.”
The biggest character question marks of the entire draft arose when the Seahawks took West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin with the 15th overall pick.
He’d been a high-school dropout, spent time in jail and faced other serious charges – including one for disorderly conduct as recently as this spring.
And then you learn the stories of his troubled youth and homelessness, and the significance of some of the decisions he made to get back on a productive path.
Carroll, who has known him for years, saw Irvin as well worth the risk. Carroll was eager, he said, for Irvin “to prove to people that if you get a second opportunity, a second chance, sometimes you really can make it work out in a great fashion. And he’s going to stand for that.”Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com