Once again a Seahawk, Byron Maxwell was back on the field Tuesday wearing his familiar No. 41.
Byron Maxwell was already asleep Thursday night when the play happened that would change his immediate football future.
But once he heard that Richard Sherman had ruptured his Achilles and would be done for the season Maxwell had a wish — if not an inkling — of what would happen next.
“I was hoping they (the Seahawks) would call,’’ Maxwell said. “I know the system, I know the coaches. So yeah, I was hoping for that call.”
He got what he wanted quickly as not even 24 hours had elapsed when the Seahawks had already set up a visit and workout with Maxwell. He was back at the Seahawks’ facility on Monday — which he had called home from 2011-14 — meeting with coaches and quickly agreeing to a contract for the rest of the season.
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“It was a little weird yesterday,’’ Maxwell said of again being at the VMAC. “But I’m falling into it, getting comfortable with the guys in the DB (defensive backs) room. So I’m getting used to it.”
He was back on the practice field Tuesday wearing his familiar 41, a number that had belonged to linebacker Dewey McDonald, who is on Injured Reserve (McDonald will switch to 44), with the equally familiar long sleeves poking out underneath.
“Of course,’’ Maxwell said of the sleeves. “The only way to go.’’
Now to see if he is the same player — or maybe even better – than he was during his first run as a Seahawk.
Maxwell, a sixth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2011, was a founding member of the Legion of Boom and a regular in the rotation during the Super Bowl seasons of 2013 and 2014. He started all three playoff games in the run to the Super Bowl title following the 2013 season, notably causing a fumble in the Super Bowl win over Denver that was recovered by Malcolm Smith. He then became a fulltime starter the next season following the departure of Brandon Browner as Seattle got to within a yard of another Super Bowl title.
But he then became a free agent and signed a six-year deal worth up to $63 million with the Eagles. He only lasted a year there, though, before he was traded to Miami. He barely lasted longer than that with the Dolphins, benched after two games this season — his second year in Miami — and then waived late last month.
Maxwell didn’t want to delve much into what went wrong after leaving Seattle saying “that’s in the past, man.’’
But he acknowledged he’d like to show that maybe the Eagles and Dolphins got it wrong.
“Yeah, definitely,’’ he said. “It’s another opportunity to get out here and show what I can do, so I’m looking forward to it. But yeah, you’ve always got to prove yourself in this league no matter what.’’
Maxwell, now 29, said in his eyes he’s a better player now than when he left.
“I’m just savvier, ‘’ he said. “I’ve seen a lot more football. Just more experienced. I’d like to think I’m still in my prime, so these years are when I should get the best out of my body right now.’’
If so, then the Seahawks could hardly consider themselves more fortunate that he was available.
Seattle already was feeling lucky that Jeremy Lane’s part of the Duane Brown trade with Houston was voided and he was returned to the Seahawks.
For now, Lane will slide into Sherman’s spot as the starting left cornerback with rookie Shaquill Griffin on the right side, coach Pete Carroll said.
“Yeah, that is the first thing that happens,’’ Carroll said.
But Carroll and the Seahawks obviously will let Maxwell compete for a starting role once he gets reacquainted with the defense.
“You’ve got to relearn some things, and there’s some things they do different now,’’ Maxwell said. “So you’ve got to learn that.’’
Said Carroll: “We will see how he does and how he fits in and all of that. He will have to compete his way through it. But it’s great to get a guy back that does have kind of the heritage and the background of the way we coach and techniques and principles and stuff like that. I’m anxious to see how he does.”
Maxwell said he never really envisioned being back in Seattle after leaving saying “when you go into a new situation, you’re thinking it’s going to go well; you’re hoping it’s going to go well, so that was my outlook on everything.”
But for Carroll and the Seahawks, bringing back a player from the past is becoming old hat. Carroll-era Seahawks who have returned, to varying degrees of success, include Christine Michael, Tarvaris Jackson, Brandon Browner, Chris Clemons, Jeron Johnson and Tony McDaniel.
“My first impression is he’s grown and matured,’’ Carroll said of Maxwell. “It’s like you look at your kid come back and they look like they grew a little bit taller, that’s what it looks like to me. It was really fun to visit with him, talk about what he has been through and what’s taken place and about his hopes now and all that and I gave him the real lengthy thought of where and how it could fit together and all of that. So we will see what happens.’’
Maxwell also had a visit with Atlanta — the team the Seahawks will play in his first game back in Seattle – after being waived by Miami.
But Maxwell, who had been waived by Miami on Oct. 24, admitted he was getting antsy for something to happen.
“A couple of weeks go by, you’re like, ‘Am I going to play?’’’ he said. “But I love to work out, so that wasn’t an issue; I was going to be in shape. But yeah, I was thinking I’d get a call before this, in a week or two. For whatever reason, I didn’t. It’s whatever.”
Maybe what it is is for the best.
The Seahawks get to fill in for Sherman (replace will be hard for any of the cornerbacks on the roster to really do) with a player they know well and who has been around the block a few times now and sounds like he couldn’t be happier that the road ultimately led back home.
“Early indications that he is really ready,’’ Carroll said. “I think sitting out for a couple weeks helped him a little bit, kind of get his mind straight and he is really anxious to get back and he’s grateful to be coming back here.”