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RENTON—Reporters got a chance to chat with new Seahawks kicker Ryan Longwell, a Puyallup native, before Wednesday’s practice. The 38-year-old veteran was added to the Seattle roster in place of Steven Hauschka, who was placed on injured reserve due to a calf injury.
Longwell hasn’t played in the NFL this season but stayed in shape, in part, by preparing for the Walt Disney World Marathon this weekend.
Then he got the call from his agent regarding a workout for the Seahawks, which he accepted and turned into a contract.
“It’s obviously a great opportunity,” Longwell said. “The team is hot, they’ve got a lot of good talent, and when you’ve got a hot team, you’ve got something special going. It’s a good thing to be a part of. It’s an awesome opportunity and I feel really blessed to be here. … Kind of growing up a Seahawks fan, and watching games in the Kingdome with my grandpa and stuff, it’s kind of an honor to put on the helmet that you grew up watching.”
Coach Pete Carroll said experience played a big factor in the signing, as the team hosted four kickers in a workout Tuesday.
“When you look at Ryan’s background, the great experience he’s had, the time he’s had in playoff situations and all of that, to make this transition for a younger guy might be more of an issue, and we think he can handle that,” Carroll said. “Some of our coaches have been with him before and knew him very well — a very even-keeled guy, a true professional and all that.”
Longwell said he hit from as far as 55 yards in the workout and feels comfortable from that distance in a dome. Outside of marathon training, he had been doing strength work and kicked about every 10 days or so to keep in rhythm.
The Longwell family lives in Orlando these days, but the Pacific Northwest remains special.
“I told all my teammates in Minnesota when we played out here in the preseason last year or the year before that the highlight of my day was having Chip Hanauer raising the 12th Man flag,” he said. “I grew up here watching the hydroplanes, watching the Seahawks, the Mariners and the Sonics back then. I grew up a huge fan of (Steve) Largent, (Jim) Zorn and those guys, so the opportunity to come back was awesome. Ninth grade we moved down to Oregon and went to high school there, but Damon Huard was my first holder in junior high, in seventh grade at Aylen Junior High. Just weird how all the pieces come together.”