Receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow says his Super Bowl night incident with teammate Cyler Miles and Seahawks fans in 2013 “painted a picture on people that is really not me.” The Seahawks appear interested in drafting Stringfellow.
Damore’ea Stringfellow can’t change history.
But in the weird way that life and sports often work, he knows there’s a chance that a return to his past could help him create a future that might also help him change the perception created during a night he wishes he could take back.
A receiver on the UW football team who had just begun to break out near the end of his freshman season in 2013, Stringfellow never played another game for the Huskies after being charged with three misdemeanors as a result of two altercations following the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos.
He ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree assault and another of third-degree mischief in altercations that erupted during Super Bowl celebrations. Stringfellow was accompanied that night by then-UW quarterback Cyler Miles, a Denver native (Miles was not charged in connection with the incidents).
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Along with the penalties enacted by the legal system — Stringfellow was sentenced to five days on a work crew and fined $693 — he also was suspended by UW, eventually transferring to Ole Miss, and last February was barred from attending the NFL Combine.
“It was just me being young,’’ Stringfellow said in a recent phone interview, of the Super Bowl night altercations. “Obviously that incident that happened got out and it painted a picture on people that is really not me. That’s kind of like the only thing they have to base my identity on, which is not good. But hopefully with the opportunity I will be able to change their outlook on me.’’
That opportunity could well come back in Seattle.
The Seahawks are known to be interested in Stringfellow, enough so that the team invited him in for a recent pre-draft visit.
During his day at the VMAC, he had lunch with a former UW teammate, Kasen Williams, and said the two spent some time fondly recalling memories of their one season together in 2013.
“It was like seeing familiar faces and being at home again,’’ Stringfellow said. “It went really good.’’
Like Williams, Stringfellow projects as the kind of big-bodied athletic receiver the Seahawks have spent years trying to find.
Stringfellow is listed at 6-2, 219 and according to NFL.com ran 40-yard dash times of 4.62 and 4.65 at Ole Miss’ Pro Day.
“Big-bodied receiver who knows how to use it,’’ wrote Pro Football Focus in its pre-draft scouting report on Stringfellow. “Weapon down the field and in the back-shoulder game.’’
Those are among the attributes that drew the interest of then-UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who made Stringfellow a priority for the team’s recruiting class of 2013.
Stringfellow, who played at Rancho Verde High in Perris, California, ended up as one of seven players to commit to UW in one day in June 2012.
Among those who also committed that day was defensive lineman Elijah Qualls, who said at the NFL Combine that he knows a different Stringfellow than the perception created by his departure from UW.
“He’s actually a really good dude,’’ Qualls said. “I don’t like putting myself around people who are not good people and don’t intend to get to good places and things like that, and he is a real good friend of mine.’’
Stringfellow had burst onto the scene late in his freshman season at UW, finishing with 20 catches for 259 yards — eight for 147 yards and a touchdown in a late-season game against UCLA. He says he has nothing but fond memories of his time on the field with the Huskies, and has remained close with the likes of Azeem Victor and John Ross.
“It was fun for me,’’ he said. “That’s where I wanted to be.’’
Forced to sit out a year after having to transfer, he chose Ole Miss among a few different Big 12 and SEC options.
He became a key part of Ole Miss’ offense the last two seasons, making 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore and a junior before deciding to give up his final season of eligibility to turn pro.
“I just felt like I was ready for the league,’’ said Stringfellow, 22. “I just felt like I was prepared for taking the next step in my life.’’
And if that step brings him back to Seattle, he vows history will turn out a little differently this time.