DEFENSIVE END RED BRYANT
WHEN DRAFTED: 2008, 4th round, 121st overall
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 2008-13
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: Bryant (above in a Dean Rutz photo) maybe could be placed higher on this list — a fourth-round pick who ended up as a captain and starter on the team’s first Super Bowl winner.
Certainly, Bryant will always have a big place in Seahawks history.
As has been well-documented, though, Bryant didn’t do a lot his first three seasons until Pete Carroll arrived and along with Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley changed the scheme to fit his talents as a run stuffer, moving him from tackle to end — the reason the team drafted him initially.
That changed sparked Bryant’s career and he started the last 54 games he played for the team from 2010 on after starting just one his first two seasons, teaming with Brandon Mebane in the middle the last two years to give Seattle an imposing run defense.
He also was awarded with a big contract prior to the 2012 season that included $14.5 million guaranteed.
That sort of proved his undoing in Seattle when the team decided after the 2013 season he was making too much for what was becoming a more limited role as an early-down run stuffer — he was on the field for just 46 percent of available snaps last season.
Bryant’s emergence the last few years helped salvage a 2008 draft class that isn’t one of Seattle’s best — Lawrence Jackson and John Carlson were the top two picks, and Owen Schmitt and Justin Forsett also contributed for a few years. Only Bryant was still around for the Super Bowl. Now, only Mebane remains of players drafted during the Mike Holmgren era.
Still, that doesn’t detract from all that Bryant meant to the team as Carroll and crew turned it around the last four years. As evidenced by being elected a team captain by teammates the last two years, he had uncommon respect among his peers, and a big leadership role in the locker room. He may be missed as much for that as anything else in 2014.