By John Boyle
The Seahawks plan to sign Patrick Chukwurah, a pass rusher who has been out of the NFL since 2008, to replace defensive end Chris Clemons, who will be placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in Sunday’s win over Washington.
And if you read that and though, “Who?” you’re far from alone. Chukwurah last played an NFL regular season game in 2007, though he was with Tampa Bay during training camp the following year before being cut, then re-signed late in the season. Chukwurah then spent two years in the UFL, leading the league in sacks both seasons, but that league folded, leaving him out of football all together.
According to Chukwurah’s agent, he has been working as a personal trainer, so coming in out of shape isn’t a concern, and it’s not as if Chukwurah, 33, was the only player Seattle looked at. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Seahawks also worked out Aaron Maybin, Ray Edwards, and C.J. LaBoy, so Chukwurah must have come in and had one impressive workout.
And while Chukwurah is taking Clemons’ roster spot, he won’t exactly be replacing him. Rookie Bruce Irvin, who to this point played mostly as a pass rusher on passing downs, will take over Clemons’ role as the starting “Leo” end. Chukwurah is expected to provide help as an addition pass rusher, perhaps in a role similar to what Irvin had been doing, and also play special teams. And obviously it remains to be seen if he’ll be up to speed after three days of practice to the point that the Seahawks feel comfortable throwing him into game action.
Chukwurah, who is from Nigeria and played at Wyoming, was drafted by Minnesota in the fifth round of the 2001 draft. His best season came in 2006 with Denver when he had 25 tackles and 4.5 sacks. And if you’re wondering how the Seahawks even thought to look at Chukwurah, it probably had something to do with the fact that current Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and defensive line coach Todd Wash were both assistants in Tampa Bay during Chukwurah’s time there.