Mychal Kendricks says he feels “blessed.”
The desperate Seahawks feel the same way about him being able to play immediately on their decimated defense.
It appears the starting weakside linebacker in February’s Super Bowl, before federal charges for insider trading to which Kendricks has admitted, is going to be Seattle’s starting weakside linebacker Monday night at Chicago.
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“It’s been pretty hard. It’s been very hard,” the 27-year-old Kendricks said of his week and his life since Cleveland released him hours after he was charged with insider trading late last month. “But, I’ll overcome this. And I’ll overcome just like I’ve overcome other obstacles in my life.
“Like I said, I’m very blessed to have this opportunity, so I treated it as such. But, football is helping me a lot.”
Wright had arthroscopic knee surgery 19 days ago and remains out indefinitely. Coach Pete Carroll said Wright began running again this week and impressed him. Carroll said Wright has a chance to play next weekend’s home opener against Dallas.’
Last week in their opening loss at Denver, the Seahawks started rookie Shaquem Griffin at weakside linebacker. That did not go well. Griffin struggled in pass coverage and run defense. Confusion between him and fellow rookie Tre Flowers at right cornerback caused a Broncos running back to be alone in the left flat for an easy, 30-yard touchdown in the first half.
By the second quarter, Seattle’s coaches replaced Griffin on early downs with Austin Calitro, a second-year free agent who is on the roster as the backup middle linebacker to All-Pro Bobby Wagner.
Wagner is out for Monday night’s game because of a groin injury he got at the end of the Broncos game when he played all 74 defensive snaps. Chcago will be his first missed game in three years. Calitro will likely start for Wagner. That is why Seattle needed another weakside linebacker.
What made Kendricks attractive to the Seahawks? He started in the same position in Philadelphia’s 4-3 scheme through February’s Super Bowl. Plus, it’s past week one. That means Seattle doesn’t have to guarantee the vested veterans entire salary for this season. Only veterans on active rosters during week one have their entire pays guaranteed. The Seahawks can essentially pay (rent) Kendricks by the week, at least until Wright returns.
The NFL could suspend Kendricks for violating its personal-conduct policy, though the league has told the Seahawks he can play Monday. Beyond that, Kendricks says he doesn’t know, and the Seahawks aren’t saying.
“No, I’m not too sure. That’s something I leave up to my counsel and my agent,” Kendricks said. “I’m sure that everything will be worked out accordingly.
“As of right now, I have the opportunity and I want to make the most of that.”
Carroll said about the NFL Saturday: “We talked to them (at the league office) extensively, John (Schneider, the general manager) and Matt Thomas (the team’s vice president of football administration) have, and there’s nothing that we can really report on it. We have to respect the process right now and just wait it out.”
Kendricks’ signing wasn’t for Seattle’s November or December. It’s for the Seahawks’ near-desperate now. Earl Thomas and Jarran Reed are the only returning veterans who aren’t injured and are starting Monday.
Kendricks’ sentencing hearing is supposed to be in January. Per reported sentencing guidelines for first-time offenders in the eastern district of Pennsylvania where Kendricks was charged, he is facing a possible 2 1/2 to 3 years in prison.
He says his new Seahawks teammates, opponents of his when he sacked Russell Wilson in Seattle’s win pver the Eagles at CenturyLink Field in December, have welcomed him this week.
“Everyone’s real cool. It’s definitely a West Coast vibe here,” the former University of California Golden Bear said. “I was on the East Coast for the past seven years. This is my year seven, actually. Everyone here is really, really kind, including the people of Seattle and Washington. Everyone’s been so kind. People are embracing me with open arms and it feels good.”