The Seahawks made a switch at the receiver position Tuesday as they prepare for their regular season opener at Atlanta, signing Penny Hart off the practice squad and waiving John Ursua.
If Ursua clears waivers, the Seahawks are assumed to try to get him back on the practice squad to fill the spot opened by Hart going to the 53-player roster. Teams are not making as many waiver claims so far this year as in seasons past, due in part to COVID-19 testing protocols, and Seattle is probably thinking Ursua will sneak through.
The move leaves Seattle with six receivers heading into the game against the Falcons on Sunday.
Ursua was a seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Hawaii but saw little action, on the field for 11 snaps during the regular season and making one catch for 11 yards.
Ursua battled a hamstring injury for a time during training camp but was not waived as injured, indicating he’s healthy.
The game will be Hart’s first time on an active roster. But he is familiar with the Seahawks having been on the practice squad much of last season, signed by the Seahawks on Oct. 22.
That came after he was waived as injured by the Colts in the cut down to 53-player rosters after signing with Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia State.
The 5-foot-8, 182-pound Hart caught 202 passes for 2,950 yards at Georgia State and was thought by some analysts as a possibility to be a late-round pick in 2019 after a few standout performances at the Senior Bowl.
Wrote Chris Trapasso of CBSSports.com during Senior Bowl week in 2019: “At the beginning of Senior Bowl week, discussions about receivers on the North team centered around small but lightning-quick and super-fast Andy Isabella. As practices came to a close on Thursday, those conversations shifted focus to the similarly-sized Penny Hart. While Isabella certainly didn’t have a bad week in Mobile, he was outshined by Hart, Georgia State’s 5-foot-8, 180-pound pass-catcher who was the best player on the field on Day 3 of practices for the North team. Despite his slot receiver frame, Hart proved he can be effective on the outside and often wins exactly how you’d expect, with elite twitchiness and speed.”
Hart also returned punts and kickoffs at Georgia State, doing both roles his senior year, and the Seahawks could view Hart as adding depth at the return spots, as well.