RENTON — Adrian Colbert so hit it off with Seahawks brass — and especially general manager John Schneider — during a pre-draft visit in 2017 that when the draft arrived he felt almost certain he’d be taken by Seattle.
“This was where I thought I was going from the beginning,’’ Colbert said.
Instead, when his phone finally rang with an NFL team on the other end, the call was from the San Francisco 49ers telling him they had taken him in the seventh round, with the 229th overall pick.
“I never thought I was going to San Francisco,’’ Colbert said. “I always thought I was going to be here. And when they (the Seahawks) passed up on me, I was kind of pissed off about it.’’
So angry, in fact, that Colbert — who had chartered a boat in Miami with 40 family members and friends to celebrate the big day — said “I took off a Seattle shirt I had and threw it in the ocean.’’
Colbert relayed this story Friday while sitting in the same Seattle locker room he had toured on that visit in the spring of 2017, in the weird way the NFL often works having become a member of the Seahawks, after all.
It’s a story he also relayed to Schneider last week when he signed with Seattle.
“I told John and he laughed about it,’’ Colbert said. “He was like ‘Well, you can be mad at me.’ And I was like ‘Well, yeah, I’m here now.’’’
Seattle had aggressively pursued Colbert when he was waived with an injury settlement by the 49ers on Sept. 6.
Colbert, who started 12 games for the 49ers in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, was initially waived in the cutdown to 53 and then placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury he dealt with throughout the preseason and aggravated in the final preseason game.
Had Colbert stayed on IR, he would have had to sit out the season. The settlement meant he was immediately free to sign with any team.
There was some speculation the 49ers might want to bring him back — according to The Athletic, he would have been eligible to return to the 49ers after week five.
But while Colbert said he had multiple offers, he said he never seriously considered any team other than the Seahawks, who also promised him he would be quickly promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
Colbert signed with the Seahawks’ practice squad last week and was added to the 53-man roster this week, with defensive tackle Bryan Mone waived.
“This was part of the agreement in me coming here,’’ Colbert said of being promoted to the active roster this week.
Colbert liked Seattle not just because of the relationship he said he built with Schneider before the draft — “he really left a lasting impression on me,’’ Colbert said — but also because the defense is similar to that of the 49ers’, where former Seahawks assistant Robert Saleh is the coordinator.
What he also likes is how the Seahawks want to use him — as a free safety. Colbert spent four years at Texas before transferring to Miami, and considers former Longhorns and Seahawks standout Earl Thomas not only a player he idolized growing up but now a friend.
Colbert and Thomas have worked out together in the offseason, and Colbert made an appeal on Twitter in the offseason for Thomas to join the 49ers.
Instead, Colbert now has a locker in Seattle a few feet from where Thomas’ was for the past nine seasons.
“I love being able to be the eraser and just make plays in the middle of the field and just being aggressive from the middle of the field,’’ Colbert said.
Coach Pete Carroll said when Colbert signed the Seahawks had had their eye on him since the draft, noting his size (6 feet 2, 210 pounds) and speed (he has run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds).
“I particularly like him on the back end playing free safety because he’s got really exceptional range and all of that,’’ Carroll said.
Carroll indicated Friday that Colbert isn’t in the running for serious playing time at safety just yet.
But safety remains one of the Seahawks’ more unsettled positions.
Bradley McDougald is set as one starter. But after Tedric Thompson started the first game at free safety, he suffered a hamstring injury; Lano Hill has started the last two games at strong safety, with McDougald moving to free.
Thompson is now healthy and Carroll said this week he will compete with Hill for a starting spot, though the assumption is Hill will likely start again this week.
Rookie Marquise Blair remains in the mix and is officially listed as a backup at free safety. But Blair can also play strong safety.
For now, Colbert is just happy to be part of the group.
“I mean, this was the place I wanted to be,’’ he said.
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