Drew Nowak said it wasn't fun to be waived by the Seahawks this week after starting seven of the first eight games at center. But he also said he's glad for the chance to remain with the team on the practice squad.
So what’s it like to go from starting center for the Seattle Seahawks for seven of the first eight games of the season to a few weeks later being waived?
“It sucks,” said Drew Nowak, who experienced just that fate this week. “That’s pretty blunt. But it doesn’t feel very good.”
Nowak said those words Thursday as he sat in the same locker he has called his for all but one day this season after being re-signed to the team’s practice squad the day before.
Nowak was waived on Tuesday when the team signed Chase Coffman to fill a void as a third tight end after a season-ending injury to Jimmy Graham.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Pac-12 mailbag: Kliavkoff’s culpability, expansion options, WSU's connections and more
- Pac-12 survival guide: Five forces that will define the path to salvation, or extinction
- Breanna Stewart makes 'spicy' trade for Sue Bird, drafts Jewell Loyd in WNBA All-Star selection show
- Abraham Toro rewards Mariners with walkoff win after George Kirby rebounds admirably vs. A's
- Ray and Rodriguez spark Mariners' 2-1 victory over Oakland
Being waived meant that any team then had 24 hours to claim Nowak (teams can claim players on waivers in order of worst record to best). When the Seahawks cut Nowak, they told him they would bring him back to the practice squad if he went unclaimed. That was fine with Nowak. But so would have been being on a 53-man roster for another team.
And that meant that for 24 hours — from essentially 1 p.m. Tuesday to 1 p.m. Wednesday — Nowak had no idea what the future held.
“Basically I had 24 hours where I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Nowak said. “That was definitely nervewracking.”
But once the 1 p.m.waiver deadline passed Wednesday and Nowak was unclaimed, the Seahawks re-signed him to the practice squad, and Nowak was back on the field at the VMAC (receiver Douglas McNeil was released to make room for Nowak, and was in the locker room prior to Wednesday’s practice until getting word of his own release).
“They said (when he was waived) they wanted to sign me back and it worked out,” Nowak said.
Nowak last started on Nov. 1 against Dallas before losing the starting center job for good to Patrick Lewis. He was inactive for the last three games.
When the Seahawks needed to sign another tight end, Nowak was a somewhat obvious choice to get waived. Veteran Lemuel Jeanpierre can also be the backup center and has also started games at guard. Alvin Bailey serves as the backup tackle but can also play guard. They typically are the only other two Seattle offensive linemen active on gameday aside from the five starters. Seattle also has rookies Mark Glowinski and Kristjan Sokoli on its 53-man roster. But the Seahawks likely figured it would be riskier to waive either of them and have them go unclaimed.
So all of that made Nowak the odd man out, as Carroll explained during his Wednesday press conference, which occurred about a half-hour before the team knew that Nowak had cleared waivers.
“Well we needed to make a spot,” Carroll said. “The fact that Patrick has done well and Lem can play guard and center, that’s a big deal for us. He (Lem) can be on the active list and play more than one spot. When you get one spot only, it does limit you some. So it’s hard to be a backup in this system, you’ve got to be a starter for the most part. We’re activating seven lineman basically every week, so we’ve got to have flexibility in the backup guys. We still think he [Nowak] has a chance to play for us. Hopefully we’ll get him back eventually.”
The Seahawks indeed got him back and Nowak is now working on the practice squad, hoping to work his way back to the spot he once held.
Nowak said he understands that such moves are simply part of life in the NFL.
“They thought enough of me to bring me back and continue to give me an opportunity to be on this team,” he said. “So I’ll make the best of it.”
Asked what the team advised him to work on going forward he said “just get better as a player overall.”
And as for how he approaches it now?
“Just take it as a learning experience and move on and move forward,” said Nowak, who also had a stint with Jacksonville in 2012-13 before being released and then signed by the Seahawks. “Just each and every day take it as you are here one day and could be gone the next. Today is a huge opportunity for me to get better so I’m going to use it.”