Sweezy says he is "100 percent'' healthy as he begins his second tour of duty with the Seahawks.
The negotiations weren’t done once J.R. Sweezy signed a contract to return to the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday.
Even as the ink was drying on that deal, Sweezy was hitting up new teammate Jordan Roos with a request to get his old number 64 back.
“We had a good talk and he gave it to me,’’ said Sweezy of Roos, who is now wearing number 72.
And what was the cost?
“A few dinners, maybe,’’ he said with a laugh.
Sweezy can afford it after having made more than $14 million in two seasons with Tampa Bay after signing with the Bucs as a free agent following four seasons in Seattle from 2012-15, a stint that included starting for the 2013 Super Bowl title team.
But if Tampa Bay was where Sweezy made his money — he earned a little over $3 million in his four seasons with Seahawks after arriving as a seventh-round pick in 2012 — Seattle was where he said his heart remained.
And after Tampa Bay released him in late June in a move that saved the Bucs $6.5 million against the salary cap, Sweezy said he was, well, heartened when one of the first calls he received was from the Seahawks.
“Immediately, immediately,’’ Sweezy said of how quickly Seattle reached out to him. “Which was pretty awesome that they still thought that highly of me. I really respect that.’’
But under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks have shown no reluctance bringing back former players who spent time elsewhere with Sweezy simply the latest example.
And Thursday, he was back on familiar ground at the VMAC, sharing time at right guard with the starting offense with D.J. Fluker, who also signed as a free agent in the offseason.
Sweezy could be seen as a hedge against Fluker’s injury issues — he has been limited at times with a knee issue.
But the Seahawks also might simply view Sweezy as potentially a better option.
“He is competing for the starting job,’’ said first-year Seahawks offensive line coach Mike Solari. “He helps us be better because he brings more competition to the group.’’
Sweezy started all but two games for Seattle from 2013-15 but the Seahawks gave no real thought to matching the offer he got from Tampa Bay — a five-year deal worth $32.5 million (which was later restructured after he missed the 2016 season with a back injury).
Sweezy was due to make $6.5 million in 2018 before Tampa Bay released him. He started 14 games for the Bucs in 2017 before missing the last two when he suffered a broken left fibula. Tampa Bay also then drafted Alex Cappa in the third round to compete for his spot at right guard.
Sweezy, though, said he didn’t see a release coming.
“I guess no one is expecting to be released right?,’’ he said. “So, yeah, I was a little taken aback, if you will. But it is what is. It’s the NFL.’’
Sweezy visited Seattle a few days after his release by Tampa Bay.
But he then waited a little while to see what else might transpire while the Seahawks kept in contact with their interest remaining strong as Fluker’s knee has continued to need some monitoring.
“There was a handful of teams (interested),’’ he said. “Just in my heart, this is where I wanted to be and that’s really how I made my decision.” Full details of Sweezy’s contract have yet to be released but it’s thought likely to be a one-year deal at not much cost to Seattle.
Sweezy’s been gone only two-and-a-half years, but much has changed.
Only one of the 15 offensive linemen currently on the roster was around when Sweezy was — center Justin Britt.
Also gone is offensive line coach Tom Cable, replaced by Mike Solari.
Where Cable ran a scheme based primarily around zone blocking, Solari is implementing an attack that includes ample man blocking.
Sweezy said at first glance that about 50 percent of what is in Seattle’s playbook now is the same as before.
Some have wondered if that would be a good fit for Sweezy’s skill set especially noting Sweezy’s listed weight of 298 — under Solari the Seahawks are emphasizing bigger and stronger.
Sweezy, though, says he’s now up to 310 and thinks the system will suit him just fine.
“A lot of reaching and running,’’ he said. “Running and cutting on the backside. That’s what I do. It’s a perfect fit.’’
Sweezy also says he’s perfectly fit after an injury-riddled Tampa Bay sojourn.
He missed the 2016 season with a disc injury in his back that required surgery. Sweezy said he’s not really sure when or how the injury occurred — he didn’t have any apparent back issues during his Seattle career, playing all but one game in his final season with the Seahawks in 2015, missing the regular season finale against Arizona with a concussion.
The surgery caused him to watch the entire 2016 season from the press box, including a game against Seattle.
“Yeah, hardest year of my life,’’ Sweezy said. “It’s really tough not being able to contribute. They brought me there for a reason and not being able to play and do what I do. But the good thing is, is that’s behind me.’’
He also says he’s 100 percent recovered from the leg injury, which had caused him to sit out Tampa Bay’s offseason program.
Now to see if he can win back his old spot at right guard, the only position he has played as a professional.
Sweezy, though, says no matter.
“I’ll do whatever they want me to do,’’ he said.