RENTON It’s not often a player who just signed has his agent standing on the edge of his new team’s practice field, explaining publicly how his player got there -- and almost none of the words have to do with contract terms.
Of course, it’s not often that player is an NFL starter who got alleged with domestic violence by the mother of his children, got cut because of that by the only team he’s known in the pros, had all charges dropped, then had an estimated third of the league interested in possibly signing him.
That’s how former San Francisco starter and seven-year 49er Tramaine Brock got onto the Seahawks’ practice field Wednesday as their newest cornerback and nickel back -- and instantly one of their more veteran DBs.
Brock signed a one-year contract on Wednesday for the NFL minimum salary of $900,000, plus a standard bonus of $80,000, agent Ron Slavin said.
Brock, a starter in 31 of San Francisco’s 32 games the last two seasons, is wearing Seahawks jersey number 5 for now.
To hear Slavin tell it, the Seahawks have wanted Brock since April, when he was accused in a police report in Santa Clara, California, of felony domestic assault against the mother of his children. A statement from the Santa Clara Police Department on April 7, the day after the alleged incident, read: “Upon arrival, the officers learned that an adult female had visible injuries and was in a dating relationship with the male suspect. The male was arrested for felony domestic violence (273.5 PC) and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail.”
Prosecutors said when charges were filed the alleged victim also told police that Brock tried to strangle her more than once in a single day while his friend was visiting.
The 49ers released Brock almost immediately. It was a decisive act by new general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan that intended to set a new standard on that team. Felony domestic-assault charges were filed against Brock in June.
Last week the Santa Clara district attorney’s office decided to drop those charges. It cited a lack of evidence and failure of the alleged victim to cooperate.
“Seattle outworked everybody else on it,” Slavin said, adding there were 11 other teams interesting in Brock. “They got involved right when it happened, because of my relationship with (Seahawks general manager) John (Schneider)...
“When (the charges) got filed and we went through that process, they stayed with him,” Slavin said of the Seahawks. “They stayed in contact with him. They sent their investigators to talk to people involved.
“They out-worked everybody.”
In 2015 the Seahawks made Frank Clark their top draft choice months after he was kicked out of the University of Michigan’s football program following an arrest and brief jailing for alleged domestic assault in Ohio. Clark had 10 sacks for Seattle last season. Wednesday, he spoke after Brock did. Clark expressed regret for punching teammate Germain Ifedi during a practice two weeks ago.
Brock spoke following his first practice, in which he watched team scrimmaging that had Jeremy Lane as the starting right cornerback and then, when the Seahawks were in nickel defense, Lane inside as the nickel back and rookie Shaquill Griffin as the right cornerback. Griffin, the third-round pick who was a standout early in training camp, started last weekend’s preseason opener at the Los Angeles Chargers. He had a mixed debut.
Brock called the alleged incident “just a misunderstood situation that, I think, because I wasn’t even at the house at the time.
“But the process and everything is under the rug, so, you know, I’m just moving forward from that situation.”
Asked about the police reporting the woman had “visible injuries,” Slavin, the agent, said the woman had told Brock she would harm herself if Brock did not come home that night.
Brock, again, maintains he was never at the residence at the time of the alleged violence there.
The NFL could still find Brock in violation of its personal-conduct policy and suspend him. Slavin, his agent, said the league only recently contract him and his client to begin an investigation, upon charges being dropped last week.
“I mean, we kind of handled all of the situation,” Brock said. “So, I mean, I really don’t know. But I feel confident that nothing will happen.
“I’m not afraid (of public perception about him). I mean, everybody’s got their opinion. Some people are going to think I did something. Some people are not going to think it.”
When I asked Slavin about any concern the league may still fine Brock, the agent said: “I mean, I can’t ever predict what they’re going to do. I know the information we have, and the things in writing and the things that she’s already admitted will be, I think ... I know he’s going to cooperate (with the NFL’s investigation). I’m going to cooperate. I know she’s going to cooperate.
“So I’m hoping there won’t be (NFL punishment).”
The Seahawks obviously believe there won’t be any, or else they probably wouldn’t have signed him.
Brock called the relationship with the alleged victim an “unhealthy situation, up and down. But the main focus was for my kids. The main focus is for my kids, so that’s why I kind of stayed in it.”
Slavin said the 49ers were discussing with him a possible contract extension for Brock at the time of the alleged incident. Then, after the D.A. dropped the charges last week, Slavin said San Francisco tried to re-sign his client.
By then, Brock said, he was done with the 49ers, for having been done with him.
“I mean, once they released me I was released mentally from the team.”
I asked Brock how he felt about the 49ers releasing him before the charges against him were dropped.
He shook his head.
“I mean, I really don’t want to discuss how I feel about it,” he said. “It is what it is.”
“I just felt like this was the best place for me to end up,” he said of the Seahawks. “I just felt like they were kind of by my side through this whole process.
“I just felt the love that they showed.”
There’s also the fact the Seahawks have been looking for a new starting right cornerback to replace DeShawn Shead. Seattle’s 2016 starter there will be out likely into October and perhaps longer after a major knee injury in January’s playoff loss in Atlanta and then surgery.
“That played a part, too,” Brock said.
Brock doesn’t appear at first glance to fit the Seahawks’ prototype at cornerback. He is 5 feet 10 inches tall, three inches shorter than Griffin and five inches shorter than three-time All-Pro Richard Sherman, the left cornerback. That suggests more of a nickel-back role for Seattle’s defense.
Brock has played nickel more earlier in his seven-year career with the 49ers. In August 2015, he asked the Niners to play him inside at nickel. The last couple seasons he was primarily outside at cornerback, though.
“I know what I’ve got to do,” he said of the final three preseason games, including Friday’s against Minnesota at CenturyLink Field. “I’ve got to come in and make plays that’s going to keep me on the team, that’s going to keep me a starter.”