Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks’ latest unique way to signing a free agent: Because Tony McDaniel was kayaking in Leavenworth

Tony McDaniel, here recovering a fumble in a playoff win over Carolina on Jan. 10, 2015, returned to the Seahawks Monday in the team’s latest, unusual way to sign a free agent.
Tony McDaniel, here recovering a fumble in a playoff win over Carolina on Jan. 10, 2015, returned to the Seahawks Monday in the team’s latest, unusual way to sign a free agent. Staff photographer

RENTON To what lengths do the Seahawks go to sign players for positions of need?

So far this month they have signed a fullback because of a roadblock for Seattle’s Seafair summer festival -- and now a veteran defensive tackle who wouldn’t have been at his first practice Tuesday if he hadn’t been enjoying the glorious recreational opportunities in and around Leavenworth, Washington.

And if his agent didn’t follow him on social media.

“I was down in Leavenworth,” Tony McDaniel said after Tuesday’s final practice of the training-camp portion of Seattle’s preseason, “hiking and kayaking.”

That had to have been one mammoth kayak. Imagine seeing the McDaniel kayaking down the Wenatchee River. He is 6 feet 7 and 305 pounds.

I asked McDaniel how the Seahawks got a hold of him while he was kayaking and hiking on the eastern slopes of the Cascades. I mean, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is not well-known because of its cellular service.

“My agent saw me on Snapchat and realized that I was in Washington,” McDaniel, 31, said. “So he contacted the Seahawks and asked them to bring me in for a workout.

“That’s how that happened. It’s amazing how social media is, how you can use social media to help you out.”

McDaniel’s timing was exquisite. The team had signed Sealver Siliga in the offseason to be the veteran backup defensive tackle. But Siliga missed the first two weeks of training camp with a calf injury, returned for about one day, then hurt his calf again. On Monday coach Pete Carroll made it sound as if Siliga won’t be on the roster when the preseason ends in two weeks.

So Seattle had a need for a veteran. And McDaniel knows the defense better than Siliga -- or any other veteran defensive tackle available out there. Even those that might be hiking and kayaking at some mountain resort town somewhere.

McDaniel was in the woods as a free agent during NFL training-camp time because his phone wasn’t exactly ringing off the hook.

“I got a few phone calls, but I wouldn’t really call them ‘options,’” he said.

“My number one option was coming back here. You know, being here for back-to-back Super Bowls, being under Pete Carroll, he think he’s got the recipe for a team to win. He takes care of his players, so Seattle was definitely on my wish list.”

McDaniel said “honestly, I was surprised” to get a second chance with the Seahawks.

So in a matter of days, McDaniel has gone from the Der Ritterhof Motor Inn in Leavenworth -- “it had a knight out front...it wasn’t even a hotel, it was a motel” -- to what been the league’s top-ranked defense the last four seasons.

“God answered my prayers, dream come true -- all of that,” he said.

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