Former Seahawk cornerback Byron Maxwell makes his first return to CenturyLink Field Sunday as a member of the Miami Dolphins after a rugged 2015 season with the Eagles.
Byron Maxwell returns Sunday to a city he never really wanted to leave.
But in one of the more frank admissions you may ever hear from a player about the process of picking a team, the former Seahawks cornerback said earlier this week that the reason he chose to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2014 season was “cash flow, all day.’’
Maxwell, in fact, signed a six-year deal with the Eagles worth $63 million overall with $25 million guaranteed after becoming a free agent after having started just one full season as a cornerback in Seattle in 2014.
Wednesday, Maxwell expanded on that comment during a conference call with Seattle reporters saying he felt he had no choice but to choose the practicality of cashing in on what could well turn out to be the most leverage he would ever have in his career versus staying with a team and city he had grown fond of.
Most Read Sports Stories
- The Seahawks have questions as training camp opens, we have some answers | Analysis
- Storm’s Natasha Howard denies domestic-abuse allegations, accuses wife of stabbing her and taking nearly $600,000
- Famously calm Edgar Martinez begins to feel nerves ahead of long-awaited Hall of Fame induction | Larry Stone
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
- For Mariners fans and teammates alike, why the connection to Edgar Martinez is so deep and so emotional | Larry Stone
“At the end of the day we all love this game, there is no doubt,’’ Maxwell said. “We put so much time into it. You want to be compensated. You want to feel like—you want to get paid like everyone else. That’s all it really was. Of course I didn’t want to leave but sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do.”
The Seahawks have acknowledged that while they wanted to keep Maxwell, they simply could not match the Eagles’ offer in an off-season when they knew they had to save salary cap room for deals for quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner, and also having just traded for tight end Jimmy Graham.
“There was a time, a couple phone calls right there at the end of it, when we thought maybe there was a chance,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday. “He did what he needed to do and he got a beautiful contract and it’s really a great statement about what he had done before to get that done. We’re proud of him and happy to see him get what he wanted.”
Maxwell had a rough first season in Philadelphia, though, where the Eagles didn’t employ some of the unique fundamentals of the Seahawks secondary that Maxwell had success with in Seattle.
Specifically, Maxwell implied that a Seattle defense that is known for its relative simplicity was a better fit than an Eagles’ scheme that was more complicated
“Seahawks you’re in charge of one thing, the fade,’’ Maxwell said. “. .. Philly was a little different. You had a lot to think about before the play. What’s my assignment and stuff like that.”
The Eagles ranked 28th in the NFL in pass defense, and while there were many factors at play, Maxwell — and his big contract — bore the brunt of criticism and after the season coach Chip Kelly was fired.
Maxwell, though, said he didn’t regret the decision to leave.
“No. No. No, it is what it is,’’ he said. “You take the good with the bad. Looking back at it, was definitely a learning experience. You have to hopefully learn from every situation you’re in.”
With a new team running things with the Eagles, Maxwell was traded in the off-season to Miami, which he says already appears to be a much better fit.
“It was a lot of things in Philly (that he had to adjust to),’’ Maxwell said. “Just the players we got here. We have a lot of depth in Miami. That’s going to work wonders for us. We definitely do things that are corner friendly.”
Maxwell’s coach in Miami, Adam Gase, was the offensive coordinator for Denver when the Seahawks beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Gase joked that Maxwell “reminds me too much’’ of that game and a couple of other Seattle wins over the Broncos.
Gase said he expects Maxwell, who entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2011. to bounce back this season after the rocky Philly tenure.
“He went through a tough spot last year and these guys have seen him battle back, he was so good in the offseason as far as competing, kind of bringing a different mentality than I think some of these guys have seen in the past,’’ Gase said.
That road back starts where it began.
“I had a great time there in my four years,’’ he said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. I know I have a special bond with some of the guys there. I’m excited to play in that stadium.”