Seattle Seahawks

Gary Jennings claimed by Miami; highest Seahawks rookie pick waived since 2013 now gone

Gary Jennings makes a catch during drills at the Seattle Seahawks training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash., on Thursday, July 25, 2019.
Gary Jennings makes a catch during drills at the Seattle Seahawks training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash., on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

The Seahawks won’t be keeping their rookie fourth-round draft choice by using the practice squad.

The Miami Dolphins ensured that Wednesday. They claimed Gary Jennings off waivers, per the NFL’s official transactions.

The wide receiver becomes the highest Seahawks rookie draft pick waived earliest in his career without playing a game for them since wide receiver Chris Harper, a fourth-round choice in 2013.

That doesn’t count the failed Malik McDowell. Seattle’s first-round pick from 2017 had his career end before it even began, after one rookie minicamp in the spring then a head injury from an ATV accident.

Offensive tackle Terry Poole was Seattle’s fourth-round pick in 2015 before the team waived him in early September and put him on its practice squad for his rookie season. The Seahawks released Poole the following year.

Seattle waived Jennings Tuesday. That was to make room on the active roster for guard Phil Haynes, another rookie fourth-round pick. He came off the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Since Jennings hasn’t done anything this season to catch another team’s attention, the Seahawks likely expected him to clear waivers without another team claiming him. They then could have signed him back onto their practice squad.

The Dolphins (1-7) signed Jennings for his potential, his size and his speed. It wasn’t for his NFL production.

He didn’t appear in a game for Seattle. The Seahawks made the wide receiver an inactive for every one of their first nine games.

Seattle selected Jennings in the fourth round four places before it took Haynes in April’s NFL draft. They waived Jennings while with an excess of wide receivers. Seattle claimed veteran Josh Gordon off waivers Friday.

Gordon is cleared to practice this week and is poised to make his Seattle debut Monday night at San Francisco.

Jennings had a hamstring injury during organized team activities in June. That set him back through the start of training camp. The injury pushed Jennings further behind fellow rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf. Rookie seventh-round pick John Ursua as a slot receiver also moved ahead of Jennings throughout camp.

In mid-August, the 6-foot-1, 216-pound Jennings, whom West Virginia often used as a big slot receiver with 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash, finally made a couple of nice catches in practice.

After Jennings’ one good workout, quarterback Russell Wilson said: “He really needed it.”

Jennings hasn’t been heard from since. More to the point: the only time he was heard from since was two bad penalties he had in consecutive preseason games in August. He was somewhat of a surprise to make the 53-man roster for the start of the regular season. He has been inactive for all nine of Seattle’s games this season.

The Seahawks appeared to waive Jennings in late September. He missed a practice before the game against Arizona. But because the team did not put the move into the league until the next day, it changed its mind and kept Jennings.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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