Andrew McDonald could — no, should — be excused for celebrating his 26th birthday a little more than the previous 25.
On Monday, his birthday, the Seahawks signed the third-year tackle to their active, 53-man roster as a needed backup on the offensive line for Sunday’s game at San Diego — and beyond. They also signed his former Carolina teammate, cornerback Josh Thomas, to fill the roster spot vacated when nickel back Jeremy Lane (groin injury) went on injured reserve Monday with the team’s one-per-season designation to return in eight weeks.
It’s more than the fact Seattle rescued McDonald from the anonymity of the Panthers’ practice squad that McDonald is celebrating. It’s about more than him going from forgotten on the taxi squad of a team that won the NFC South last season onto on the roster of the defending Super Bowl champions, too.
Every other month McDonald undergoes a CT scan and gets his blood checked to ensure the testicular cancer he found himself and then beat in May does not return.
No wonder he said “it’s a huge blessing” to be on the Seahawks.
“To have the opportunity to be on a 53, and to have it here in Seattle, is just a huge blessing in my eyes,” McDonald said at his new locker, sweat still dripping from his face following his first Seahawks practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “Obviously I’m pretty ecstatic about it.”
As McDonald reported to Carolina’s minicamp in May, he found an abnormality. He mentioned it to the Panthers immediately.
“Honestly, I just felt like a little bump. I was like, ‘I better bring this up. You know, there shouldn’t be a bump on one of my testicles,’ ” he said. “So it was brought up at the rookie minicamp physical, thinking it was going to be no big deal — and it was something.
“I’m certainly glad I did, to get it done with.”
The next day, he had surgery to remove what proved to be a cancerous bump. He’s been cancer-free since. No radiation. No medication.
No problems, so far.
“I feel I’m 100 percent,” he said. “I feel great. Ready to go.
“My stepmother passed away from cancer about a year ago. My grandmother passed away from cancer a few months ago. I don’t like to think I have a history of it in my family, you know, but obviously my family has been touched by it and has had to deal with it.
“I’m just glad that’s behind me now and I could move forward from that.”
Given that recent family history and his newfound perspective, he doesn’t want sympathy.
“You know, I put it in my mind that there are a lot more people out there who are going through worse stuff. There are people who have brain tumors. Some people have cancer and are still battling it right now,” he said.
“For me to have a little bit of testicular cancer, and to find it when I did and get it out, I just had the mindset that no matter what, I’m going to beat this, and I’m going to stay positive no matter what. Just having that mindset and staying positive, it wasn’t that bad.”
Seattle had been interested since Carolina waived him Aug. 30 and then put him on its practice squad. On Thursday night, his agent confirmed to McDonald that he was going to be a Seahawk. Per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, he is guaranteed a salary and spot on Seattle’s active roster for a minimum of three weeks.
As for his role here, the Seahawks are thinner at guard and center after Lemuel Jeanpierre went on injured reserve last week. McDonald said the last time he played guard was in a few practices with the Panthers and “just a small little bit” in college at Indiana.
“Obviously, I’m open to it and flexible,” the 6-foot-5, 317-pound McDonald said. “Just trying to learn the scheme and the plays here.”
SHERMAN IS UNION REP
The players had a meeting following practice with DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association. In it, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman was voted to be the Seahawks’ union representative, replacing retired running back Michael Robinson.
Tight end Zach Miller is again an alternate. Defensive end Michael Bennett is another alternate.
NFLPA CHIEF IN TOWN
Smith commented on his way out of Seahawks headquarters on TMZ Sports releasing Monday the already infamous video of Baltimore RB Ray Rice punching and knocking out his fiancée and now wife, then dragging her face-down out of an elevator.
“It’s disturbing to watch,” Smith said. “As a union we have an unshakable position against any violence, certainly domestic violence included.”
Smith was heading into the first of 32 such meetings with individual teams during this season when the news broke of the Ravens cutting Rice and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell changing his two-game suspension of Rice to indefinite.
“It will be a time for us now to catch up with everything else that has occurred (Monday),” said Smith, who has been the NFLPA’s executive director since 2009. “We will gather the facts and find out the next steps.”
The issue with the NFLPA is whether to contest Goodell’s indefinite suspension, which is now based upon video evidence the league is insisting it never saw before Monday or when it issued Rice his original, two-game suspension.
Asked about negotiations between the union and the league on a new drug policy, which could be close to an agreement, Smith said he sent a team of negotiators to New York to meet with NFL executives Monday.
The Seahawks released G David Arkin and S Josh Aubrey from the practice squad and signed back G Nate Isles and S Terrance Parks to the practice squad.