Six days after he was signed, defensive lineman Raheem Brock found himself playing a key role on the field during the Seahawks' season-opening victory over San Francisco.
Twenty-four hours before his first game as a Seahawk, Raheem Brock was lost.
This had nothing to do with Brock’s familiarity with Seattle’s playbook or adjusting to his second team in two months after playing the previous eight seasons in Indianapolis.
No, Brock was lost trying to get to the hotel where the Seahawks stay the night before a game, and the GPS device in his rental car was guiding him toward the wrong city. Throw in a few unfamiliar highways and Brock was turned around.
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“Like I-405 or maybe 90,” he said, summarizing his predicament. “It’s just different. I’m just trying to learn my way around.”
Brock found his way not only to the team hotel, but onto the field Sunday as part of Seattle’s defensive line. Six days after signing, he made two tackles during the more than 30 plays he was on the field.
As far as learning curves go, last week was a veritable hairpin turn for Brock and five other players Seattle added to its 53-man roster in the week before the season opener. Four of those players were in uniform Sunday at Qwest Field, and three made significant contributions.
Fullback Michael Robinson caught a 13-yard pass and played on special teams, and defensive tackle Junior Siavii was part of an effort that held Frank Gore to 38 yards rushing.
Brock, who spent August in Tennessee’s training camp, was a main cog of Seattle’s nickel defense, and when the 49ers tried to throw their way back into the game, he was on the field on the defensive line, at times even sliding inside to play a pass-rushing tackle.
“It’s just playing football,” Brock said. “The rules are still the same. Nothing has changed too much.”
He’s being modest. An NFL defense is a lot more complicated than suiting up and chasing whoever happens to be holding the ball. Every play has a formation and every formation has its own verbiage, meaning every team essentially uses its own language.
A term that means one thing in Seattle might mean another in Tennessee, where Brock spent August, and perhaps something entirely different in Indianapolis, which is where Brock played from 2002 through 2009.
The Colts cut him in March. He signed with the Titans on Aug. 12 after Tennessee had a rash of injuries along its defensive line, including rookie first-round pick Derrick Morgan.
Brock wasn’t shocked when the Titans let him go on Sept. 4 when rosters were reduced to 53 players. Two days later, he was on the practice field in Seattle, his signing announced six days before the opener.
So how was he ready?
“To Raheem’s credit, he is a really, really bright guy,” said Dan Quinn, Seattle’s defensive-line coach. “The guy has played a lot of football.”
He also had teammates to help him. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes an entire team to prepare a football player to play six days after joining the team.
“It was a new experience for me,” Brock said. “It was different, but I’m happy here. Everybody is cool. We’ve got a great team and our defense looks great. I think we’re going to just keep getting better.”
And pretty soon, Brock will even know his way around town.