So was there really any significance when Seahawks defensive lineman Jarran Reed tweeted on Wednesday morning that he was going to again wear his old No. 90, which last year he had sold to newcomer Jadeveon Clowney?
The obvious immediate implication from the tweet was that Reed at the least was suspecting that Clowney won’t be back, and if the Seahawks were letting him take his old number back that maybe they’d begun to concede he won’t be back, as well.
Reed, though, later clarified he hadn’t meant to imply anything, saying “ya’ll trying to make news out of a jersey number.”
And maybe there really was nothing to it at all. So much so, that maybe Reed hasn’t even gotten the official say yet that he can change numbers.
That’s the way Seahawks general manager John Schneider portrayed it Thursday during an appearance on ESPN 710 Seattle, saying he has yet to approve any jersey change.
Asked if everyone was buying into there being a story there, Schneider said: “I think you’re buying into it, because I don’t remember approving that yet, so I don’t know. I don’t know where that came from, but yesterday morning it was definitely, something was going on.”
And indeed, as we noted in our story Wednesday, Reed’s number remains 91 (the number he switched to so Clowney could wear his preferred 90 a year ago) on the team’s official roster.
(And for what it’s worth, Reed — who last month signed a new two-year deal worth up to $23 million with $14.1 million guaranteed to stay in Seattle — on Thursday also deleted his twitter account, leaving no permanent record behind of the whole episode).
Either way, the jersey number change — whether it happens or not — probably is much ado about nothing when it comes to Clowney’s future with Seattle.
Until Clowney signs elsewhere, the door will likely remain open for a return to Seattle. And that’s a door that may have to remain open for a while as some around the league think Clowney might not make a decision until right before training camps begin in July (assuming, of course, they begin at all).
Asked about the defensive end spot during his ESPN 710 Seattle appearance Thursday with hosts Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant, Schneider largely reiterated what he’d said in comments to the media at large following Saturday’s draft — that Seattle talked to Clowney for a while but eventually had to begin filling out the position regardless of if he returns.
“Well I think they’ve gone very well,” Schneider said of signing free agents Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa and drafting Darrell Taylor of Tennessee and Alton Robinson of Syracuse to add to the defensive end/rush end spot. “Especially in trying to hang in there with Jadeveon as well. We gave that a go several times. He’s just in a position he wasn’t ready to make a decision, and that’s good. That’s fine. But we had to keep going and conducting business and I think being able to get Bruce back and Benson back, those guys, that’s 14 sacks combined I think (in 2019, with the Panthers and Raiders, and it’s actually 15.5). And then going into the draft and being able to acquire Alton and Darrell was huge for us. We were just really excited. Those guys were players that we had identified that we really wanted at a specific spot that we wanted to acquire.”
Schneider reiterated that the Seahawks had considered drafting Taylor in the first round at 27, where they instead took linebacker Jordyn Brooks of Texas Tech — one of three linebackers taken in the span of six picks in the late first round, with Kenneth Murray of Oklahoma going to the Chargers at 23 and Patrick Queen of LSU going to the Ravens at 28.
And intriguingly, Schneider essentially said they were likely going to take one of those three linebackers with their first pick — and then hope they could still get Taylor later.
“It was a decision of ‘hey, if one of those linebackers is still there we are not going to back out,”’ Schneider said. “And with Jordyn, everybody had so much conviction. … There were those three linebackers there and all three of them are incredible players. Jordyn was the guy who fit us the best and we had the most buy-in from everybody.”
In fact, there is a thought that if Seattle hadn’t taken Brooks at 27 that the Ravens would have taken Brooks at 28, meaning he would not have been there for Seattle had the Seahawks pulled off a trade with Green Bay to move down to 30 (as explained here). Whether Queen would have been there at 30 is harder to know, though it appears as if Seattle was willing to make the trade with the Packers to move down assuming one of Brooks or Queen would be there.
Schneider said once they took Brooks that “we knew if we drafted one of the linebackers we were going to have to work our tails off to work back up in the second” to get Taylor in the second round.
Seattle was able to make that happen by pulling off a trade with the Jets to deal picks 59 and 101 to get 48 and take Taylor, who had 8.5 sacks last year for the Vols in 13 games but dealt with a stress fracture and had surgery to put a titanium rod in his leg after the season.
“And I’ve got to be honest with you I didn’t feel very good about being able to get back up to acquire Darrell,” Schneider said Thursday. “But I think because of having surgery after the season, not being able to play in the All-Star games or participate in the combine, I think we were really blessed in that regard. He might not like hearing that. But the draft is evaluation and it is also about trying to figure out how to study and plan on where you take guys.”
So, the way Schneider tells it, Seattle was able to wait and plan and get both of the players they wanted with their first two picks.
As for Clowney, the wait continues, as it apparently does for Reed to get his old number back.