Seahawks' rookie receiver Cyril Grayson had a whirlwind of a weekend as the team conducted its rookie mini-camp.
Before he could show the Seahawks again this weekend that he can fly on the field, Cyril Grayson had to do quite a bit of flying off of it.
A former track star at LSU, Grayson was signed last month as a free agent as he attempts to transition to football after having not played the sport since his high school days in 2011.
He’s been taking part in the team’s off-season program ever since and has made a, well, quick impression on coach Pete Carroll, especially in showing some more refined football skills than the team thought he might have given the long layoff.
But before he could take part in this weekend’s rookie minicamp, Grayson had to take care of some final unfinished business at LSU — walking in graduation to pick up his degree in kinesiology with a minor in leadership.
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Grayson said his plane from Seattle to get to Baton Rouge took off at 6:22 p.m. Thursday. After taking part in graduation Friday, he boarded a plane back to Seattle that he said left at 7:22 p.m.
“It was a quick turnaround,’’ Grayson said.
He was back in Seattle by about 11 p.m. Friday and back at the VMAC early Saturday morning to being preparing for practice
“This weekend has been good,’’ he said Sunday around noon after the minicamp and a head-spinning couple of days had ended.
“I got to graduate — one of my biggest accomplishments ever,” he said. “And then getting here and being able to compete with the rest of the guys.’’
Grayson said he was understandably “really tired’’ from the busy weekend and it was other receivers such as Kenny Lawler and David Moore who made the biggest impact Sunday.
But Grayson has already done enough to convince Seahawks coach Pete Carroll that he could be worth the investment.
Carroll, in fact, invoked the name of another Seahawks receiver who was more renowned for track than football in college — Ricardo Lockette.
Seattle signed Lockette as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and after some fits and starts to his career — which included his release by the Seahawks and later stints with the 49ers and Bears — Lockette eventually became a key part of the team before being forced to retire due to a neck injury in 2015.
“Really a beautiful first impression he has made for us,’’ Carroll said of Grayson.
“We’re going to be patient with him because he has such good natural talents. We’ll wait him out and see how long it takes. Remember we took a long time with Ricardo Lockette, and Lock figured it out and became a real constant around here, but it took him a while coming out of the track background and all of that. So we’ll see what happens but very encouraged by what we’ve seen.”
Seattle signed Grayson after his workout at LSU’s Pro Day. The Seahawks moved quickly after learning that because Grayson’s football eligibility would have run out in 2015 that he was immediately eligible to be signed.
Grayson said Sunday that pro football was always in his plans even if he participated only in track at LSU, where he was part of four NCAA champion relay teams and specialized in the 200 and 400.
Grayson wanted to play at LSU but couldn’t largely due to an NCAA rule barring athletes on scholarship in another sport from playing football.
“The plan was always to play in college, but I wasn’t able to,’’ said Grayson, who had been a standout receiver at Archbishop Rummel High in Kenner, La., catching 28 passes for 731 yards as a senior. “So the next option was pro. … I was either going to go to the NFL or CFL or something to get my chance.’’
Grayson is listed at 5-9, 178 pounds, and as is the case with any receiver making the leap from college to the NFL, a real assessment of his chances to make it won’t really be possible until pads come on in training camp.
“The speed is obvious,’’ Carroll said. “He’s got a really good catching range, he’s really natural catching the deep ball, we’ve already seen that. So we know, OK, he’s really fast, he can catch the deep ball, can we get him lined up right? Can he get his footwork right? Can he get off the line of scrimmage? Can he time it up?’’
Grayson also has to master the playbook, something he also hasn’t had to do since high school.
“The classroom part of football has been kind of a little tough for me,’’ Grayson said candidly.
But as the frequent flier miles he earned over the weekend showed, Grayson has proven he can be a fast learner.