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 Seahawk when he was claimed off waivers from the Colts.
Becoming a Seahawk and playing 45 minutes from where he grew up is a “unique and special opportunity.”
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 the 2020 draft after one season at the University of Washington. Many analysts expected he’d go a lot higher.
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.”
The Colts had hoped Eason would slide through waivers, so they could re-sign him to the practice squad.
The Seahawks 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. Jake Luton is likely to be the backup again this week as the team is 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. And Carroll said it’s unrealistic to expect Eason to be the backup this week. But he could compete with Luton for that role in a week or two, depending on how long Wilson is out. And in the big picture it seems pretty obvious that they want to take a look and see if there was something the Colts missed and if Eason can be a young QB to develop for the long term. Carroll noted Thursday that there were reasons Eason was regarded as one of the top recruits in the country in 2015.
Eason played in just one regular-season game for the Colts in Week Two against the Rams, going 2 of 5 for 25 yards with an interception.
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 cited those games — which the Seahawks scouted to prepare for the Colts — as a reason they wanted to claim him.
Eason completed 41 of 62 passes for 389 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in the preseason.
Colts coach Frank Reich cited Ehlinger’s 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 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 quarterback. They played against each other in high school (Luton attending Marysville Pilchuck) and college (Luton attending Oregon State).
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.”
Cooler still would be rewarding the faith that the Seahawks have shown in him to give him another shot.
Eason said he learned with the Colts that his biggest area of needed improvement are “the areas beyond just throwing and catching the football. … My football IQ’s gone up, but there’s still a ton of room for improvement. So that’s the cool thing about this is I’m in another situation where I got tremendous people around me to continue that development.”
Collins sits outs again
Running back Alex Collins sat out practice again Friday with what is being listed as a groin injury. Collins did not have a carry in the final six minutes of regulation and overtime of the loss to the Steelers with Carroll saying he was nursing glute and hip injuries. Carroll said Thursday that Collins went through the walk-through that day and that he would practice.
The Seahawks will have to make a game declaration for Collins and other players on Saturday for Monday night’s contest against the Saints. Collins started the last two games at running back in place of Chris Carson, who is on IR with a neck injury and must sit out at least two more games. Collins led the Seahawks with 101 yards on 20 carries against Pittsburgh.
If Collins can’t play, the running-back duties will fall to Rashaad Penny, who returned to practice off IR on Thursday, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer. Penny has taken part in practice the last two days and said before Friday’s practice he did not feel he would have any limitations against the Saints. The Seahawks will have to make a roster move to get Penny on the 53-man roster.
Collins was one of four players to sit out practice Friday along with WR DK Metcalf (foot), defensive end Darrell Taylor (neck) and guard Damien Lewis (shoulder).
Taylor and Lewis were injured against the Steelers, and Carroll said Thursday there is hope each can play against the Saints.
Metcalf has nursed a sore foot since before the 49ers game but has continued to play through it.
The Seahawks listed tackle Brandon Shell (ankle) as limited.
Every other player was listed as a full participant including cornerback Sidney Jones, who left the game against the Steelers with a concussion and was replaced for most of the second half by rookie Tre Brown.