By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
KIRKLAND — If it was a form of nepotism, Red Bryant is just fine with that.
The Seattle Seahawks’ fourth-round pick doesn’t care how he got drafted, as long as he gets to play in Seattle. So even if his fiancee’s father, former Seahawk defensive end Jacob Green, had something to do with Bryant getting drafted, the Texas A&M defensive tackle is proud to be a Seahawk.
“I wouldn’t be surprised” if Green had something to do with the decision, Bryant said via conference call from Green’s home in College Station, Texas.
But Green said Sunday afternoon that he didn’t pull any strings for his future son-in-law, who has a February 2009, wedding date with Janelle Green.
“I don’t have any strings up in Seattle,” Green said.
The Seahawks weren’t as concerned with family ties as they were Bryant’s ability. The 320-pounder can fill gaps and is known for his ability as a run stuffer.
“He fits a need for us,” Seahawks team president Tim Ruskell said. “He’s a big man who can stuff the middle. The coaches have been looking for that since I’ve been here, and I think we found him.”
Bryant made quite an impression during the week of the Senior Bowl, showing energy and tenacity on the field. He also impressed the Seahawks’ scouts during interviews, talking openly about how he overcame a poor upbringing and a learning disability known as dyslexia to earn a degree in December.
Bryant also made a name for himself during Senior Bowl week for other reasons. Texas A&M’s 318-pound defensive tackle got into a fight with Vanderbilt offensive lineman Chris Williams while coaches and scouts were watching.
“I play with a lot of intensity, and Chris Williams — as you can see, he was the 14th pick (in the weekend draft) — he played with a lot of intensity,” Bryant said. “I felt like he was trying to take advantage of me. So I had to let him know right from the get-go that it wasn’t going to take place.”
Asked what he was trying to accomplish in the fight, the personable Bryant was open and honest.
“I was trying to break his facemask in two,” Bryant said. “I think I almost broke it. I know he had a headache for about two days.”
Tough customer: Speaking of facemasks, fifth-round pick Owen Schmitt went through quite a few during his career at West Virginia. He broke an unofficial school record by breaking 11 of them, including one that sat on the desk of former Mountaineers head coach Rich Rodriguez.
“It didn’t break; it just bent,” Schmitt explained Sunday afternoon. “For metal to bend, I guess it is pretty intense.”
Like Bryant, Schmitt is quite the character. He is so popular in Morgantown, W.V., that fans often flashed “Schmitt Happens” signs in the stands.
Schmitt got into West Virginia after driving to Morgantown, with his mother, from their tiny hometown of Gilman, Wisc., with game tapes in hand. A former player at Division III Wisconsin-River Falls, Schmitt was offered a chance as a walk-on with the Mountaineers.
Five years later, Schmitt will leave West Virginia with an impressive resume and a cult following. He sports a Mohawk haircut and has been known to sacrifice his body — on and off the football field.
There was the time he stuck his toe in a moving bicycle spoke just to see how it felt. On another occasion, Schmitt jumped from the bleachers and fell 11 feet to the floor while trying to hang from a basketball rim. There’s also an infamous video circulating on YouTube in which Schmitt slams a helmet against his forehead on the sideline of a college game.
When asked about some of his daredevil actions during a Sunday conference call, Schmitt shrugged off the mischief.
“I haven’t done anything bad,” he said. “I might’ve eaten a (drink) coaster or two, but that’s about it.”
Special day: As expected, Day 2 of the NFL draft was mostly about special teams for the Seahawks.
The picks included a long snapper (San Diego State’s Tyler Schmitt), a kicker (Georgia’s Brandon Coutu) and three other players who can contribute on special teams.
Bryant blocked three kicks while at Texas A&M, including one that assured an overtime victory against Oklahoma State. Owen Schmitt played on punt and kickoff coverage teams at West Virginia. California running back Justin Forsett, a seventh-round pick, can return kicks and also worked as a wedge-buster on the Bears’ kickoff coverage unit.
“The path to make the team is special teams or being a specialist,” Ruskell said. “We adjust the filter a little bit (on Day 2). We’re looking for special teams or depth.”
Who’s in charge? Seahawks defensive coordinator John Marshall said it won’t be difficult to work with head-coach-in-waiting Jim Mora this season, even though Marshall is technically his boss.
“He’s still my DB (defensive backs) coach, and that’s all he’ll ever be,” Marshall said, “until the end of the season. Then he’ll be: Mr. Coach, sir.”
Bumpus, Russo signed: Wide receivers Michael Bumpus (Washington State) and Anthony Russo (Washington) were among 12 undrafted players who agreed to terms with the Seahawks after the draft.
The Seahawks also added safety Jamar Adams (Michigan), cornerback Donovan Alexander (North Dakota), wide receiver Travis Brown (New Mexico), linebacker Matt Castelo (San Jose State), guard Dustin Dickinson (Houston), cornerback DeMichael Dizer (Grambling), linebacker David Hawthorne (TCU), safety Kelin Johnson (Georgia), tackle William Robinson (San Diego State) and safety Eric Wicks (West Virginia).
Quick slants: The Seahawks did not take a wide receiver for only the third time in coach Mike Holmgren’s 10 drafts with the team. … Seattle has taken five special teams players the past six drafts: two kickers, two punters and a long snapper. … The selections of Owen Schmitt and Forsett leaves the Seahawks with seven running backs. Veterans Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett, Leonard Weaver, Maurice Morris and David Kirtman are also on the roster.