RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Dwight Freeney was on the verge of giving up on the 2017 season.
Growing tired of going to the gym and going through the same workout routine in the hopes of getting a phone call from an interested team, Freeney had given himself one more week before deciding the rest of the season would likely be spent on the golf course.
“I was like if I don’t get a call now I can’t go into that same gym and work out doing that same workout again,” Freeney said Wednesday after signing a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks. “Thank God those guys called me and said they had interest so it pushed me another week to work out and get going.”
Freeney’s addition could be a midseason coup. He’s a three-time All-Pro, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and even last year in the twilight of his career was a contributor in helping Atlanta reach the Super Bowl.
Seattle needed a defensive end after Cliff Avril was placed on injured reserve due to a neck injury. Frank Clark has stepped in as the starter and will get the bulk of the playing time moving forward. But Freeney’s experience and availability was a combination the Seahawks couldn’t pass up even at age 37.
“This is an extraordinarily savvy guy. He’s so smart and so well-schooled,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Got tremendous discipline about his part of the game and rushing the passer that it’s going to help guys just being around him. He’s very aggressive, he was very active last year, made a lot of things happen and the film looked great. He’s been sitting out kind of waiting for an opportunity.”
Freeney was hopeful for a return to Atlanta, where he played in 15 regular-season games and had three sacks a season ago. But when an opportunity with the Falcons never materialized, Freeney waited. And waited. He attended Peyton Manning’s statue dedication in Indianapolis, still hoping for a shot at playing this season while many of his former teammates were already happily retired.
“Kind of made me feel bad in a sense that they are all retired and I’m the only one still playing,” Freeney said.
Seattle reached out to Freeney soon after it determined that Avril’s injury was significant and would require a lengthy absence. Seattle is unsure at this point if Avril has a chance to return this season.
Freeney pulled off a similar move joining Arizona around midseason two years ago. But this transition should be significantly easier as the terminology and schemes used by the Seahawks and Falcons are similar. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn was previously Seattle’s defensive coordinator.
“That’s another reason why I decided to come here because it wouldn’t be a whole-stock change where I had to completely reinvent the wheel here as far as learning what is going on,” Freeney said. “There is a lot of similar things I did last year so I should be able to help these guys rather quickly.”
That is Carroll’s expectation. While he wouldn’t say how much, Seattle’s coach expects Freeney to play Sunday against Houston.
“We’ve got a thought. You guys will see. Let us show you that when we get to game time,” Carroll said.
NOTES: DE Dion Jordan was activated from the physically unable to perform list Wednesday and was eligible to begin practicing with the team. Jordan was sidelined during the preseason by knee issues. Jordan, a former No. 3 overall pick, hasn’t played in a game since the 2014 season due to injury and suspension. … Carroll said rookie DT Malik McDowell is going through more extensive workouts as he continues to recover from injuries suffered in an ATV accident in July. But Carroll refused to speculate whether McDowell would have any chance of playing this season. … C Justin Britt remains uncertain for this week with an ankle injury. Carroll is optimistic that Britt will play but won’t likely know until Friday.