Lotulelei making his case
SEATTLE – Before they landed in Seattle’s camp, linebacker John Lotulelei and defensive end Benson Mayowa knew nothing of the Seahawks’ recent history of giving undrafted rookies a spot on the final 53-man roster.
All they understood was their situation – Seattle had few position competitions and high expectations.
“I had no knowledge of how hard it is to make a team as an undrafted free agent,” said Lotulelei, a Baldwin High School graduate who went on to earn Mountain West Conference first-team honors at Nevada-Las Vegas. “How I put it (was), wherever I go I’m going to give them my best and if they don’t want me, then I know I have other chances with other teams.”
If Mayowa and Lotulelei continue to play the way they did in the Seahawks’ preseason opener, their chance may come in Seattle.
Lotulelei, who is vying to become the third player from Maui County ever to make an NFL active roster, recorded four tackles – one for a loss and one on special teams – in the Seahawks’ 31-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Aug. 8. Mayowa had 1 1/2 sacks.
“I came in with the mentality of working hard and not losing opportunity to make plays,” Lotulelei said.
The next opportunity will come today, when Seattle faces the Denver Broncos.
In each of coach Pete Carroll’s first three years with the Seahawks, at least one undrafted free agent has impressed enough during training camp to land on the active roster at some point during that season.
The most notable was Doug Baldwin, who in 2011 became the first undrafted rookie to lead his team in catches and receiving yards since Bill Groman accomplished the feat with the Houston Oilers in 1960.
Offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre, linebacker Mike Morgan, safety Jeron Johnson and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse were other undrafted players who went on to contribute in their rookie seasons with the Seahawks.
“Guys take that chip and they play hard on the field, they play hard to counter that vision people have of them, that lack of respect, and I think that’s why we have a team full of guys that play like that,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “A team full of guys that are angry.”
Mayowa played at Idaho, but was far from a standout – in 45 career games, he recorded 68 tackles and nine sacks. Mayowa was so far off the radar that his route to the NFL went through a regional combine at the Seahawks’ practice facility.
At one point this week, however, Mayowa was the only healthy rush defensive end for the Seahawks, giving him a chance to work with the starting defense and get significant time with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
“I think about it getting me better, putting me in position to get a position on the team,” Mayowa said. “Him working with me personally, there are other (defensive ends) that are hurt so that one-on-one time is important because he can see that I’m learning and getting what he’s teaching.”