RENTON — A walk down the hallway at the VMAC when Jacob Eason arrived Thursday turned into a stroll down memory lane.
Adorning the hallway are large pictures of many of the greatest moments of the Pete Carroll era — Jermaine Kearse’s TD catch to win the 2015 NFC title game, the trophy presentation following the Super Bowl win the year before, Richard Sherman’s tip, Kam Chancellor’s interception against Carolina in the 2015 playoffs, and on and on.
“I remember each of those specific plays and every game,” said Eason, who on Wednesday officially became a Seattle Seahawk himself when he was claimed off waivers from the Colts.
Becoming a Seahawk and playing 45 minutes from where he grew up is “a really unique and special opportunity,” said the Lake Stevens High School alum.
It’s also a chance to get his NFL career truly off the ground.
Some viewed him as a potential QB of the future for the Colts when he was taken in the fourth round in 2020 after one season at the University of Washington, many draft analysts expecting he’d go a lot higher.
Instead, his Indy career lasted barely 17 months as the team decided this week to keep veteran Brett Hundley and rookie Sam Ehlinger as backups behind Carson Wentz and let Eason go.
“It’s a business up here,” Eason said of the Colts’ decision. “Things like that happen. It’s a reality check, definitely. It doesn’t ever feel good to be the guy that gets cut. But you know, now we’re here and I got a new opportunity to go and grow. One thing leads to another and now we’re here.”
The Colts had hoped Eason would slide through waivers and re-sign him to the practice squad.
Instead, Seattle claimed him and for now he is the only other QB on the 53-man roster behind Geno Smith, who is the starter as long as Russell Wilson is on the injured reserve. Marysville Pilchuck alum Jake Luton is likely to be the backup again this week behind Smith, however, with the team able to elevate him off the practice squad in time for Monday night’s game against the Saints.
Eason said he hasn’t been told what his role will be with the Seahawks. But it seems pretty obvious that Seattle wants to take a look and see if there was something the Colts missed, with Carroll noting on Thursday that there were reasons Eason was regarded as one of the top recruits in the country in 2015.
Eason played in only one regular-season game for the Colts in Week 2 against the Rams, going 2-for-5 for 25 yards with an interception.
But he played in three preseason games, starting two, when the Colts were unsure if Wentz would be available for the opener against the Seahawks. Carroll this week cited those games — which the Seahawks scouted avidly to prepare for the Colts — as a reason Seattle wanted to claim him.
Eason completed 41 of 62 passes for 389 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in the preseason, during which he shared time with Ehlinger at QB.
Colts coach Frank Reich cited Ehlinger’s vast starting experience at Texas — 43 games — as a reason for keeping him instead of Eason. Eason started 26 games in his college career at Georgia and Washington.
With no preseason in 2020, the preseason games this year were the first live action Eason had seen since his days at UW.
“I thought I went out there and did some good things,” he said. “Being my own biggest critic, there’s a lot of things I wish I could go back and fix up.”
He expressed no hard feelings toward the Colts when he spoke with the media Friday, saying, “I have nothing but love and respect for the staff and the locker room in Indy. Those guys are a special group, a great group. But sometimes things happen.”
Along with being intimately familiar with the Seahawks’ history, he also knows a few of the players. He was a teammate with Luton on the Lake Stevens Bengals flag football team years ago, playing tackle and protecting Luton, who was a year older and the team’s quarterback. The two then played against each other in high school and college (Luton attending Oregon State).
And in 2015, Bobby Wagner presented Eason with his trophy for being named the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
He recalled Friday that Wagner said at the time “something about playing against or playing with in the future. …. You look back on that and all of the sudden we’re on the same team. It’s pretty cool how it’s all turning out.”