New Seahawk cornerback Tramaine Brock said Seattle kept in constant contact with him while his legal situation was sorted out, which led to his signing Wednesday.
While cornerback Tramaine Brock spent roughly five months wondering what his NFL future held, one team served as a consistent source of hope — the Seahawks.
“It was like they was the number one choice,’’ Brock said. “When the whole process was going on, Seattle was on my mind.”
That “process’’ was an unpleasant one — an investigation into charges that Brock had been in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, who is the mother of his two children.
Brock was arrested April 6 on suspicion of felony domestic violence and child endangerment and booked into Santa Clara County Jail in California with officers reporting, according to ESPN, that an adult woman “had visible injuries.’’ He was released from jail on bail the next day, and then he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. He had played for them since 2010 and was a full-time starter in 2015 and 2016.
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The Santa Clara District Attorney’s office last week, however, decided that there was insufficient evidence to go on with the case, effectively clearing Brock.
That allowed Brock to resume his football career. He had considered visiting a few teams. But he made his first stop in Seattle on Tuesday, and that turned out to be his last visit when he signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks on Wednesday, then took part in practice wearing jersey No. 5.
The 5-foot-10, 197-pounder can play nickel and outside, and he appears likely to compete for significant playing time. Other than standout Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ cornerback situation remains in flux.
Brock, who turns 29 on Sunday, played 1,099 snaps last season for the 49ers, which according to Pro Football Focus was the most of any NFL defensive back.
His agent, Ron Slavin, told Seattle media Wednesday that the 49ers were starting negotiations for an extension of Brock’s contract, which had been due to pay him a base salary of $2.7 million in 2017.
Instead, Brock will resume his career in Seattle for the veteran minimum of $900,000 plus an $80,000 signing bonus.
Slavin said 11 teams besides the Seahawks showed interest in Brock, which might lead some to wonder why he took a minimum deal. But Slavin said Seattle represented the most comfortable spot for him.
“One-year minimum to reset the market, and he’s going to go be a free agent in March as a 29-year-old, hopefully productive corner,’’ Slavin said.
Both Slavin and Brock met the media and said the case was not as originally reported. Both said Brock was not at the house the night of the alleged incident.
“It was just a situation that I think was just a misunderstood situation, because I wasn’t even at the house at the time,’’ Brock said. “So the process and everything is under the rug, so I’m just moving forward from that situation.’’
The District Attorney’s office said one reason for not moving forward with the case is that the woman involved did not want to testify.
Slavin said he had no question from the beginning that the incident was not as portrayed and said he reached out to the Seahawks quickly.
“They got involved right when it happened because of my relationship with (Seattle general manager) John (Schneider),’’ Slavin said. “I let him know that, ‘This didn’t happen, and if you get in here you are going to get a good player because it’s going to get dismissed.’ I didn’t even think it was going to get filed, so when it got filed and they went through that process they stayed with him. They stayed in contact with him. They sent their investigators to talk to people involved, so they outworked everybody.’’
The Seahawks said they did an investigation and hired an independent private investigator and that both corroborated Brock’s story. The team said it also extensively interviewed Brock, including during his visit with the team Tuesday. Also, the woman’s lawyer, Alan M. Lagod, released a statement last week stating in part: “My client’s choice not to testify was voluntary and not dependent upon past or future actions by any part. She has indicated to me that this was a verbal altercation. She and Mr. Brock look forward to co-parenting their two young children.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll did not meet the media Wednesday. On Tuesday he discussed the team’s interest in Brock: “We’re trying to figure it out. We want to see him, we’ve played against him for a long time, we want to get to know him and understand what’s going on. This is as we have always done; if there’s an opportunity to potentially help the club, we’re just checking it out and making sure we understand what’s going on.”
Though Brock’s legal issues appear in the past, it’s unclear if the NFL would levy punishment and suspend Brock from any games.
Slavin said the NFL’s process has just begun.
“I can’t ever predict what they are going to do,’’ Slavin said. “I know the information that we have and the things that are in writing and the things she has already admitted, I know he is going to cooperate. I am going to be a part of it. I know she is going to cooperate so I’m hoping there won’t be (punishment).’’
Slavin also noted that the 49ers wanted to bring Brock back.
“The 49ers deny it, but they called the minute it got dismissed; they wanted to get him back,’’ Slavin said. “So that tells you what they think of him as a person, too.’’
Brock said he did not consider staying with the 49ers.
“I just felt like it was time to move on,’’ he said.
Though Brock played primarily on the outside with the 49ers, he said he got some significant work at nickel in 2015 and it sounds as if that’s where the Seahawks will likely try him most to start out.
“I think right now the easiest thing for him is to get him on the inside, take a look at the nickel position and see if he can have the greatest impact there first and then we can possibly move him outside,” defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. “It adds to the competition. We love the fact that he is a savvy veteran that is really going to heighten the level of competition over there.”
Brock will make significantly less with the Seahawks regardless of what role he takes, and with a one-year contract he has an uncertain long-term NFL future.
Brock likened it to having entered the NFL in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of Belhaven University, a Division III school in Jackson, Miss., and then forging a career with the 49ers that included leading San Francisco with five interceptions in 2013, the year the team lost in the NFC Championship Game to Seattle at CenturyLink Field.
“I came in the league in 2010 having to make plays and make a team and make a (53-man) roster from the last corner position,’’ he said. “So the money (difference in his contract) is not the problem. It’s back to the grind.’’