RENTON — Germain Ifedi isn’t going to be playing football forever. He knows this, and he’s already set in motion plans for a new career for when he retires from the NFL.
Mostly, those plans involve him being really, really nice to Joey Hunt.
“I tell him every day: ‘One day you’re going to be a helluva head coach. Call me up and I’ll come be your O-line coach,'” said Ifedi, the Seahawks’ right tackle.
“He’s got a great football mind. He knows ball. You got a guy like that in there, you’re never going to be searching for answers. You know he’s going to get you in the right position to succeed.”
The Seahawks are counting on that, and counting on Hunt as he takes over as the team’s full-time center starting Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Hunt, 6 feet, 2 inches and 299 pounds, is in his fourth season since the Seahawks selected him out of TCU in the sixth round in 2016. He made one fill-in start as a rookie and two more last season.
This is his first chance at a regular role on the Seahawks’ line.
“I really try to prepare every week and take care of my body the same every week to prepare,” he said. “I look at film, everything the same. I’m as ready as I feel like I’ve been every week.”
Hunt came in on the seventh snap of Sunday’s win in Atlanta, after Justin Britt went down with a season-ending ACL injury.
Before Hunt’s first snap, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson turned to Hunt in the huddle.
“Joe, I know you got this,” Wilson said, as Hunt recalled.
Wilson turned to the rest of the group in the huddle: “You all know Joe’s got this, huh?” And everyone shook their head in agreement.
“It’s awesome to get stuff like that,” Hunt said. “I feel like that’s what I’ve tried to portray since I’ve been here as someone they can trust and rely on. It’s a great feeling whenever they feel that way.”
Hunt will have a mighty test Sunday against a Tampa Bay interior that features defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea, the former Washington Huskies star.
“I’m not concerned about him at all,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Joey’s been with us for a long time. … We’ve just seen him play so consistently in practice and the work he’s done. He’s never backed off of reassuring us that he’s ready to go. He’s a really good technician. He’s really strong underneath. He’s got great leverages he plays (with) and he knows how to play the position. It’s his time and I’m not worried about it one bit.”
Carroll added: “It wouldn’t matter who is playing center with Vita Vea over there on the other side. He’s a remarkable player. We’ll give him a lot of respect.”