David King was lying on his couch in his apartment in Northern Kentucky on Tuesday, enjoying the players' day off of his work week on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad. Then his phone buzzed.
One text from his agent and 15 hours later, the second-year defensive end was in a meeting with the Seattle Seahawks' defense.
"Yeah, this is great," King said this afternoon, after the Seahawks announced they had signed him to their active roster and released linebacker Allen Bradford. "I'm now on the best defense in the league."
The Seahawks have told King they want him to be a "five-technique" defensive end, that is, head-up over the offensive tackle and responsible for both the "B" and the "C" gaps, between the guard and tackle and the tackle and tight end. He is here because defensive end Demarcus Dobbs has a "legit" -- in the word of coach Pete Carroll -- ankle sprain. A five-technique defensive end is a position King says he played in college at Oklahoma, until Philadelphia drafted him in the seventh round last year.
King left all his car, his apartment and almost all of his belongings back in that apartment in the Cincinnati suburbs. He is living out of two bags in a hotel near Seahawks' headquarters here in Renton, trying to learn enough of the playbook to contribute for Seattle (9-4) in Sunday's home game against San Francisco (7-6). It will be the first time he's been on an active roster for a game in his two NFL seasons; he spent all of last season on the Bengals' practice squad.
"I'm just blessed and grateful," King said. "It's been a long journey to get here."
Even longer than it seems.
Gladys King raised David -- make that, protected him -- as a single mother in one of Houston's roughest neighborhood's east of downtown She worked so David could attend Strake Jesuit High School, a fancy prep school that gave David a better chance out getting out into a new world and life.
He did get out. But two months after King's freshman season at Oklahoma ended, his mother died after a long deterioration from diabetes.
"She held on long enough to see me get to college," King said today, proudly.
King moved in then with his best friend from high school Jeff McVaney and his parents Stacey and John, with whom he often stayed as a teen. He still goes home to the McVaneys in the football offseasons.
The Daily Oklahoman profiled King's relationship with the McVaneys here.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it back home before she passed," King said of his mother; his rushed fight from Oklahoma City to Houston got delayed.
So, no, getting shoved into a brand-new position on a new team four days before a huge rivalry game with playoff implications doesn't really daunt David King.
"You grow up real quick," he said, "when you are 20 years old, and you've got a house, a car, and you lose your mom."
--The fact the team released Bradford instead of putting Dobbs on injured reserve means that despite his walking boot the Seahawks see a possibility Dobbs can return to play sometime this month or, if they make it, in the playoffs next month.