Marshawn Lynch may soon have a huge, new plow in front of him in the Seahawks' backfield.
How huge? About 285 pounds of fullback.
That's how much newly signed Will Tukuafu, a former 49ers defensive end, says he weighs.
"And I actually lost weight. I've lost 10 pounds," he said in front of his new Seahawks locker at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center just before practice this afternoon.
Seattle signed Tukuafu, whom it first signed in 2010 as an undrafted free agent, and promoted linebacker L.J. Fort from its practice squad to fill the open roster spots created by Tuesday's release of wide receiver Phil Bates and tight end Brett Brackett.
The Seahawks have been using tailback Robert Turbin as a replacement fullback for the last two games with starting fullback Derrick Coleman on injured reserve and out for the year because of a broken foot sustained during pregame warmups Oct. 19 at St. Louis. Turbin may get a third go-round there Sunday against Oakland, given Tukuafu is practicing for the first time with the team this afternoon. And he hasn't played since he sustained a concussion Aug. 24 in San Francisco's exhibition game against San Diego. But don't be surprised if offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has at least a short-yardage package of plays for Tukuafu to be the lead blocker on Marshawn Lynch this weekend against the Raiders.
The 49ers put the 30-year-old former Oregon Duck on injured reserve while setting their 53-man roster for Week 1 on Aug. 30. They gave him an injury settlement on Sept. 8, making him a free agent.
He says he's been home in Eugene, Ore., with his wife Krystal, their 20-month-old daughter Naiya and one-month-old son Kingston working out and waiting for a call. I told him he looked wide awake for a father of two babies. He smiled and said, "My wife's a champ. My hat's off to her. I can say my job is easy compared to hers."
That call he'd been waiting for came from the Seahawks last week, inviting him for a tryout, and then again this week just after he got out of the gym, inviting him to join the team.
"Can you be on a plane in an hour and a half? the Seahawks asked him on the phone.
"My bag was packed," Tukuafu said.
And now it's unpacked, for him to be Lynch's vanguard on the approximately 25 percent of the plays per game Bevell has been using a fullback this season.
Cleveland signed Fort as an undrafted free agent in 2012 out of Northern Iowa. Seattle signed him to its practice squad last week. He was living in Denver, the most recent NFL team to release him, and was two hours into a long drive to Missouri to see his seven-year-old daughter there when the Seahawks called. He U-turned immediately, maybe illegally, from east to west to join the Seahawks. A little over a week later, he's on the active roster of the defending Super Bowl champions.
"It's awesome. It's been two years since I've been on an active roster," Fort said. "It's an amazing feeling, and I am extremely grateful."
Fort is moving into a position in flux for the Seahawks.
Wagner doesn't appear to be returning from his turf toe injury anytime soon; he was in a walking boot last week and a cast before that. K.J. Wright has been starting in the middle the last two games for him. But this morning Wright told Seattle's KJR radio he is moving back to outside linebacker this week; Wright backed off that comment in the locker room before this afternoon's practice.
And the agent for undrafted rookie middle linebacker Brock Coyle chimed in with this:
All this came to light after we talked this afternoon to Pete Carroll, so the coach wasn't asked about who is starting at middle linebacker Sunday against Oakland.