By the time Nick Bellore had a little fun with Photoshop on Dec. 14 — placing his face onto a picture of teammate DK Metcalf on a tweet asking for fans’ votes for the Pro Bowl — the real work had already been done.
But every little bit helps.
“It’s just fun to kind of use someone like DK for his prowess of social-media abilities and Photoshop my face on there to kind of steal some of his thunder,” Bellore said with a smile during a Zoom session with media Thursday.
And when the Pro Bowl announcements were made Monday, Bellore heard his name for the first time in his 10-year career, earning a place as on the NFC team as a special-teams player. The honor put a fitting cap to a season that has seen Bellore quietly become a key reason for the Seahawks’ special-teams success and their 10-4 record.
“It’s just great recognition for a hard-working dude that has earned it every step of the way by being a tough guy and smart guy and being very competitive,” coach Pete Carroll said.
More than any tweet, what mostly earned Bellore, 31, the votes he received from fans, players and coaches are his 12 tackles on special teams, nine of which are solo, tied for third-most in the NFL.
It’s what Seattle hoped for when the team signed Bellore to a two-year contract in 2019, an offseason when the Seahawks prioritized their special teams after spotty play in previous years.
Seattle drafted a number of players in 2019 who have become key cogs on special teams, such as linebackers Cody Barton (tied with Bellore in tackles with 12) and Ben Burr-Kirven, defensive backs Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair and running back Travis Homer.
But the Seahawks knew they needed some veteran leadership on special teams and sought out Bellore. He is a longtime special-teams standout and was linebacker with the Jets and 49ers before moving to fullback with the Lions in 2017.
Seattle has always had a fullback on its roster during the Carroll era, and it’s easy to look at the contribution of that position and wonder why. But that spot has always had special-teams duties — recall the impact Derrick Coleman made during the Super Bowl years.
Though Bellore has played just 31 offensive snaps this year, his 249 on special teams are tied for the second-most and the most of any offensive player. Those are snaps that teams have to spread out over various position groups for roster construction reasons.
Bellore was a standout linebacker at Central Michigan but went undrafted before making the Jets roster mostly due to special teams — he had 17 tackles that season, fourth in the NFL, a year when current Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer served in the same role with New York.
That connection didn’t hurt a few years later when Bellore was looking for a new team and Seattle wanted some veteran presence on special teams.
“He has been a leader in the group of our special-teams stuff since the day he walked on here,” Carroll said. “We really wanted him to come for those reasons.”
Bellore won’t get to play in the Pro Bowl because the game was canceled due to COVID-19.
But he was happy with the recognition, in part because he knows it also speaks to the Seahawks’ special-teams success. Snapper Tyler Ott also made the Pro Bowl, part of a kicking battery that has seen Jason Myers make all 20 field-goal attempts and punter Michael Dickson sit near the league leaders in every punting category. Seattle also has a 3.9-yard net punting advantage on its opponents, the kind of thing that can add up over the course of a season.
“It’s a nice little thing to earn, I guess,” Bellore said Thursday. “But we have much bigger things to worry about.”
Wilson buys scooters, Brown crashes his Zoom
Continuing a Christmas tradition, quarterback Russell Wilson presented gifts to the team’s offensive linemen.
This season’s presents were electric Phat Scooters customized with the linemen’s jersey numbers.
“I’m grateful for them,” Wilson said. “They’ve been great for me all year.”
As Wilson spoke to media via Zoom, left tackle Duane Brown briefly interrupted, cruising behind Wilson on the scooter and causing Wilson to playfully jump out of the way.
“He said, ‘Y’all be safe out here,’ ” Wilson said of Brown’s message.
Jarran Reed misses practice again
Seattle listed eight players as sitting out practice Thursday due to injury, including starting defensive tackle Jarran Reed.
Reed was out for the second consecutive day because of a chest injury. Reed played 62 snaps Sunday vs. Washington. That was 77% of the total, on par with his season average of 76%.
Also listed as out was guard Phil Haynes (groin). But the team later placed Haynes on injured reserve, ending his season. That means the Seahawks have two openings on their 53-player roster. One figures to go to tight end Greg Olsen, who is expected to return this week.
Haynes, a fourth-round draft pick in his second year out of Wake Forest, played in just two games this year with just one offensive snap vs. Buffalo, after starting the year on IR because of a hip injury.
Also sitting out was right tackle Brandon Shell (ankle). But Carroll had already said the plan was for Shell to try to practice Friday to see if he can play Sunday against the Rams.
The others sitting out were: running back DeeJay Dallas (ankle), safety Damarious Randall (foot), guard Mike Iupati (neck/resting vet), Brown (knee/resting vet) and defensive tackle Damon Harrison (knee/resting vet).
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap was listed as limited for a second consecutive day because of a foot injury.
Among those listed as full participants was running back Chris Carson, who was listed as limited because of a foot issue.
Also a full participant was safety Jamal Adams, who revealed after Sunday’s game he has been playing with two broken fingers. He has also been dealing with a shoulder injury that dates to the first game against the Rams on Nov. 15.