RENTON — For one, the call was a dream come true.
For the other, it was another chance at keeping the dream alive.
Five days before the Seahawks’ first preseason game, Seattle signed tight ends Jackson Harris and Wes Saxton to replace the injured Justin Johnson and Tyrone Swoopes.
Bright-eyed and eager, Harris is a week into his rookie season and trying to make the most of every moment, while Saxton, a five-year vet, wants to do what he can to continue playing the sport for which he’s so passionate.
“It’s exciting,” Harris said. “You’re working and just waiting for that call, and when you get the opportunity, you take advantage of it. I’m just excited to be here. It’s an incredible place with a great coaching staff, great team, and I’m excited to be a part of it and get to work.”
Harris played the past four seasons for the University of Georgia, totaling eight receptions for 79 yards in his 49 career games. An undrafted free agent, he continued to work out in preparation for a day when a team would call him.
“I had just finished working out and I was at home, just showered up and I got a call just saying, ‘How quick can you get to the airport?’ and I said, ‘I’ll be ready in 20 minutes,’ ” Harris said. “It’s a chance to continue my dream and continue playing. My main goal is to play football right now, and that is my plan ‘A’ and I hope to play as long as I can.”
While Harris is just starting his career, Saxton has had similar experiences multiple times throughout his five years in the NFL. The Seahawks are his sixth team since he entered the league in 2015. As a rookie, he was a member of the New York Jets’ practice squad. After being cut the following year, Saxton spent the 2016 season on Washington’s practice squad. For the past two years, he’s spent time with various teams, his only regular-season appearance coming with the Jets four years ago.
After the San Francisco 49ers released him last August, Saxton played in the Alliance of American Football for the Birmingham Iron before the league folded in April. So when he got the Seahawks’ call, Saxton rushed to the airport, too.
“This means everything,” Saxton said. “I was playing in the AAF, so to be able to get another shot in the NFL and be back where I want to be, it’s a blessing and I’m very thankful for the opportunity. I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old, and I don’t want to do anything else but play football.”
In the Seahawks’ mock game, a day after they arrived in Seattle, Harris and Saxton immediately impressed coach Pete Carroll.
“We brought in two guys yesterday and they played half the scrimmage, I don’t know how the heck they did that,” Carroll told reporters after the Aug. 3 mock game. “I was actually dogging the other tight end, ‘How come it takes you six months to get here, and these guys did it in one day.’ They did great today, and (tight ends) coach (Pat) McPherson deserves a lot of credit for getting those guys coached up.”
While chances of making the Seahawks’ final roster are tight, both understand they have to continue taking advantage of the opportunity to keep the dream alive.