RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks released linebacker/defensive end Shaquem Griffin and terminated the contract of veteran wide receiver Paul Richardson among their cuts on Saturday to reach the 53-man roster limit.
Griffin and Richardson were the most notable among Seattle’s cuts, although if previous years are an indicator, the Seahawks will likely be active over the next day in finalizing their roster for Week 1 when they face Atlanta.
Griffin is one of the feel-good stories in the NFL in recent seasons and became an inspiration for many. He was drafted by Seattle in 2018 joining his twin brother Shaquill, and made the roster the past two seasons, despite having lost his left hand as a child.
Griffin was a major contributor on special teams during his first two seasons in Seattle, but finding a consistent role on defense has been difficult. He started the first game of his career two years ago in Denver at outside linebacker, but struggled with defending bigger tight ends at the position.
Griffin transitioned into more of a pass rusher midway through last season as Seattle hoped to use his speed off the edge against slower offensive linemen. Griffin had the only sack of his career in Seattle’s playoff loss to Green Bay.
Seattle defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said recently that Griffin was the backup at strongside linebacker. But the additions of Bruce Irvin and rookie first-round pick Jordyn Brooks to a talented linebacker group may have squeezed Griffin out.
Richardson signed with Seattle last week but was never able to participate in a full practice. Richardson was a second-round pick of the Seahawks in 2014 and spent his first four seasons in the NFL with Seattle, capped with a career-high 44 catches and six touchdowns in the 2017 season. He signed with Washington before the 2018 season, but lasted just two years and appeared in just 17 games.
Seattle also terminated the contract of fullback Nick Bellore, although last year Bellore was let go on cut day and later re-signed.
Other notable players released by Seattle include former sixth-round draft pick defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas, wide receivers Perry Hart and Cody Thompson, 2019 seventh-round pick Stephen Sullivan and quarterback Danny Etling and Anthony Gordon. The release of both quarterbacks leaves Geno Smith as the only backup to Russell Wilson on the roster.
As expected, the Seahawks kept running back Rashaad Penny on the physically unable to perform list while he continues to recover from a torn ACL late last season. Rookies Darrell Taylor and Colby Parkinson, and D.J. Reed were placed on the non-football injury list. Offensive lineman Kyle Fuller was placed on the suspended list and will miss the first two games of the season after being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.