NFL

David Douglas High School's Samson Ebukam reflects on his rise to becoming an NFL starter

David Douglas High School's Samson Ebukam reflects on his rise to becoming an NFL starter

The Seattle Seahawks lost to the Los Angeles Rams at home on Sunday, but for a lot of these Rams, it was similar to a home game for them as well.

Pacific Northwest ties run deep on the Rams roster. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who left the game early with a concussion, went to Oregon State. Back-up quarterback, Sean Mannion, and punter, Johnny Hekker, were Beavers, too, while cornerback Troy Hill went to University of Oregon. Cooper Kupp, wide receiver, is from Yakima, WA and went to Eastern Washington University. There are also some Oregon high school connections. Tight ends coach, Shane Waldron, went to LaSalle High School, defensive end Ndamukong Suh went to Grant High School and starting outside linebacker, Samson Ebukam, went to David Douglas High School.

Ebukam has been a starter for the entire season for the Los Angeles Rams. Los Angeles drafted him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft out of Eastern Washington University. He played in all 16 games as a rookie and finished his season with 20 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and one forced fumble.

Ebukam moved to Portland from Nigeria when he was 9-years-old. He didn’t speak English when he first got to America so his first four months in Portland were spent in front of a television. He had never played American football before and gave it a shot in middle school.

At David Douglas High School, he was a state runner-up in the shot put and javelin. He was a two-way starter on the football team playing fullback, running back, tight end and defensive end. Ebukam flew under the radar when it came to football, garnering offers from only Eastern Washington and Portland State.

“I didn’t go to many football camps in high school because we couldn’t afford it. I went to one football camp and played a lot at that camp. The best offer I had was Eastern Washington and it was the best decision I ever made,” Ebukam said in the locker room following the Rams 33-31 victory over the Seahawks. “All the big schools everyone wants to go to have a lot of distractions. I was able to focus at Eastern just on my studies and football. Thanks to God, I was able to make it to the league.”

Even though his days as a Scot are far behind him, he still remembers them fondly. Team dinners stick out as the main memory from his high school days but also a 2012 matchup against South Salem High School. The teams had played in 2009 in the first round of the state playoffs and the Saxons won that game 37-13 at home. The 2012 rematch was one Ebukam recalls well, “I remember when we beat the crap out of South Salem. It was a revenge match. I went off on both offense and defense,” he chuckled. “Yeah, that was a good game I won’t forget that one.”

Ebukam said he still stays in touch with his high school coach, Dan Wood, and tries to see him whenever he makes it out to Portland. His family still lives in Portland and was in the stands today in Seattle. “I had about nine people come today. It’s always good to be close to home,” Ebukam said. “I definitely didn’t miss the weather – all of these clouds are irritating because I’m so used to the sun all the time now [in Los Angeles]. It’s good to be back though, it really is.”

The Rams are 5-0 on the season and Ebukam simply says the ride so far, “has been amazing.” But even though the Rams were able to hang on and win on Sunday, he was frustrated that he did not record a sack on quarterback Russell Wilson. “I missed two sacks today and I’m kind of salty about that. Russell Wilson wants to be Russell Wilson and run 15-yards on me. I’m going to get one on him some day, that will be the start.”

From Nigeria to Portland and now a starter for an undefeated team in the National Football League, it’s fair to say Ebukam started a long time ago, but to him, the journey is just beginning.

 

Armstead is all smiles talking about Buckner's big touchdown

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USATI

Armstead is all smiles talking about Buckner's big touchdown

The Seattle Seahawks pulled off the big victory on Monday, handing the San Francisco 49ers their first loss on the season in a 27-24 overtime thriller. Despite the loss, a couple of former Oregon Ducks on the 49ers side of the field were making players. DeForest Buckner scooped up a Seahawk fumble in the second half and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. His big played brought the 49ers within one score and allowed the team to tie it late. Unfortunately for Buckner, his team lost. However, his teammate and former Oregon Duck Arik Armstead was all smiles talking about the play postgame. 

Armstead called Buckner's scoop and score, "one of the dopest things I've seen a long time."

Take a listen in the video below from our friends over at NBC Sports Bay Area and as always, Go Ducks. 

Pro Football Focus Week 7 grades: Seahawks best and worst players vs. Ravens

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USATI

Pro Football Focus Week 7 grades: Seahawks best and worst players vs. Ravens

Pro Football Focus’ grades are about what you’d expect following the Seattle Seahawks 30-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7. Just two players were given grades of at least 80.0.

Here’s a look at PFF’s best- and worst-graded Seahawks from Sunday’s game.

Best offensive grades

Chris Carson – 71.1

Carson gained just 66 yards on 21 carries, but PFF gave him a 70.2 grade in the passing game where he added three receptions for nine yards. This grade is somewhat curious in general as Pete Carroll said that Carson bounced his runs outside too much rather than taking the two or three yards that were blocked for him.

George Fant – 69.7

Fant improved tremendously in his second start at left tackle, earning a 79.2 pass block grade. He only allowed two pressures compared to the eight he allowed against the Browns in Week 6.

Russell Wilson – 69.0

Wilson completed 20-of-41 passes for 241 yards one touchdown and one costly interception that resulted in a pick-six. The fact that his grade was still above average indicates that PFF likely didn’t think Wilson left much on the field in terms of missing open receivers. That said, on his pick-six, he had DK Metcalf running wide open down the left sideline.

Worst offensive grades

Jamarco Jones – 47.2

Jones 3 pressures and was given just a 34.7 pass block grade. With D.J. Fluker set to return, it will be interesting to see what happens with Jones. He may move to left tackle in order to get Fant back in his normal role. Pete Carroll sounded desperate to have Fant back as the team’s extra offensive lineman/tight end.

Luke Willson – 49.8

Willson didn’t catch his only target and was given a 50.2 pass blocking grade.

David Moore – 53.2

Moore had just one catch for 14 yards on three targets.

Best defensive grades

Jadeveon Clowney – 82.7

Clowney had four hurries, two stops and one tackle for loss. He continues to play better than his one sack would indicate, but he’s had little help on Seattle’s defensive line.

Tre Flowers – 80.4

After getting his first career interception the week prior, Flowers had another impressive showing against the Ravens. His big hit against Mark Andrews highlighted his day. Flowers only allowed two receptions for 14 yards according to PFF. He also had five tackles and two stops.

Al Woods – 76.9

Woods was given a 74.7 grade in run defense.

Worst defensive grades

Rasheem Green – 37.7

Seattle’s 2018 third-round pick has been largely a non-factor in his second season. He’s got 28 total tackles and two sacks as he, like most of the defensive line, struggles with consistency.

Branden Jackson – 46.5

Jackson accounted for Seattle’s first sack in three games, but it was due in large part to Lamar Jackson slipping on the wet turf at CenturyLink Field.

K.J. Wright – 49.2

Wright was given a coverage grade of just 47.5. Per PFF, Wright allowed three receptions on six targets for 59 yards, including 24 yards after the catch.

Ducks and Beavs in the NFL

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USA Today

Ducks and Beavs in the NFL

The Ducks and Beavers both took to the gridiron on Saturday. On Sunday, a handful of former Ducks and Beavers showed off their talents at the NFL level. 

Here is how some of them did:

OREGON STATE BEAVERS:

Jordan Poyer: Buffalo Bills

Poyer put on a show in the Bills' 17-16 season-opening victory over the New York Jets. He led both teams with nine total tackles, six solo, and a sack. 

Brandin Cooks and Johnny Hekker: Los Angeles Rams

The Rams came out victorious on Sunday in Carolina. Johnny Hekker only had to punt three times, but when he was called upon he averaged 46 yards per punt. As for Brandin Cooks, he had just two catches on the night for 36 total yards, but his 24-yard reception was the longest passing play of the game.

Steven Nelson: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh had a rough go in Week 1, losing to the Patriots 33-3. Steven Nelson ended the game with three tackles, one solo.

OREGON DUCKS

Marcus Mariota: Tennessee Titans

Mariota was on point in the Titans' 43-13 victory over the Browns. Mariota was 14 of 24 for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed three times for 24 yards. 

Kenjon Barner: Atlanta Falcons

Barner didn't see any touches on offense, but he was a standout on special teams. He had four punt returns for 46 yards, and two kick returns for 44 yards. 

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner: San Francisco 49ers

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner helped anchor a defensive line the held the Buccaneers to 295 yards of offense in the 49ers' 21-17 victory. Armstead had five tackles, two solo, and a sack. Buckner had two solo tackles, one of them for a loss. 

 

Don't worry, there will always be those willing to play football, and watch it

Don't worry, there will always be those willing to play football, and watch it

Would you want your child to play football?

That’s the question I found myself asking this morning, in the wake of the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck.

I was lucky. My son got through high school concentrating on basketball and baseball, two sports he played well. He never asked to play football and that was fortunate because I might have said yes.

But we know a lot more about the long-term consequences of playing the sport now than we did a few years ago. And when we see someone like Luck walking away from the game, it has an impact.

He was raised in a football family. His father, Oliver, was an NFL quarterback. The kid became a better quarterback than his dad, earning a scholarship at Stanford and eventually becoming the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

But then the injuries started to mount.

I don’t need to list them all now, but when he said he’s spent the last four years in year-round rehab, that should tell the story. This game is a legalized crippler. If you’ve ever watched an NFL game from the sideline, you know what I’m talking about. Every play sounds like a head-on collision, which it often is. I will try to be delicate here, but the fact is, it’s played by a lot of people who are crazed physical specimens who thrive on contact and even pain.

You don’t want to be there in the middle of that. And I doubt you want your children there, either.

Yes, the talent pool will inevitably shrink for this league and even for college football. But don’t worry about the long-term viability of the sport. There will still be people who need the money so bad they’re willing to take their chances with the injuries or simply those crazies who just love legally hitting people.

And, of course, there will still be plenty of people willing to spend good money watching them do it.

DeShawn Shead happy to be ‘home’ with Seahawks

DeShawn Shead happy to be ‘home’ with Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks brought back a familiar face over the weekend, signing defensive back DeShawn Shead to a one-year deal on Saturday. Shead spent six seasons with Seattle from 2012-17.

“It feels good to be back. I was telling everybody I’m back home,” Shead said. “Just to be back, a lot of familiar faces, but a lot of faces I don’t know, it’s a whole new team. But still the same feeling of being in Seattle, so definitely happy to be back on the team.”

Shead, at one point a starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, had an unfortunate ending to his first tenure with the Seahawks. He tore his ACL in a playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons in January 2017.

The injury limited him to just two games in 2017, and Seattle parted ways with Shead the following offseason. Shead added that it wasn’t until late in 2018 when he was with the Detroit Lions that he felt he was finally turning the corner.

“I feel night and day better,” Shead said. “From even over a year ago. And this offseason I actually got to train instead of rehab. There’s a big difference.”

Shead remained unsigned this offseason as camps opened throughout the league. He had a workout with the Saints last Tuesday before flying to Seattle for a workout on Saturday.

The Seahawks loved what they saw from the veteran defensive back and signed him immediately.

“He came out here on the field the other day and he looked great, he looked as good as he’s ever looked,” Pete Carroll said. “Quick and strong and fit and in shape. He brings us the versatility of playing safety and corner. He can play in the nickel package, (and) he’s an excellent special teams player.

“Better than that he’s a great competitor, and to have that guy battling here with our young guys and show them what it’s all about will only make us better.”

Shead originally signed with the Seahawks in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State. He spent that season and the bulk of 2013 on the practice squad before making his NFL debut. Shead was with the club through 2017, appearing in 54 games (22 starts) with 150 total tackles and two interceptions.

He’ll play safety during training camp as the Seahawks are still without the injured Lano Hill and Marquise Blair. Shead will vie for a spot on the 53-man roster, and, given his clean bill of health and experience in Seattle’s defense, he hopes to push Tedric Thompson and Bradley McDougald for playing time.

“I don’t think twice about my knee, my breaks, in and out of breaks, I’m more elusive, my speed is back,” Shead said. “Now it’s just putting it back on the field.”

Bobby Wagner sought advice from Michael Jordan during negotiations with Seahawks

Bobby Wagner sought advice from Michael Jordan during negotiations with Seahawks

A learning experience. That’s how Bobby Wagner continually referred to representing himself in contract negotiations with the Seattle Seahawks. His acumen as an agent proved to be on par with his All-Pro ability as a linebacker.

Wagner signed a three-year extension on Friday worth $54 million – the richest contract ever for an inside linebacker. He’s set to make $18 million annually from 2020-22 with more than $40 million guaranteed.

“For me to be in this position, on my third contract, something that statistically nobody gets to do, I’m grateful,” Wagner said after making his training camp debut on Sunday. “I’m humbled. I’m blessed. There’s nothing that anyone can say to take that away from me.”

A trip to France in late June proved to be a pivotal few days for Wagner in his pursuit of becoming the best possible agent for himself. The linebacker signed with Jordan Brand two years ago, and over the summer, Michael Jordan took Wagner and the rest of the brand’s athletes on a little Euro trip.

Jordan, a part owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, consulted Wagner as to how he’d deal with a player who wanted to represent himself. The advice was invaluable.

“It was dope,” Wagner said. “He took us out to France, and we got a chance to sit down and have a conversation. We talked about his playing days. We talked about his mindset. We talked about training. We talked about a bunch of different things. … It’s just really cool to have a guy like that in your corner.”

The learning experience ended up being a successful (and lucrative) one, but Wagner admitted he feels the peace of mind now that the burden of negotiations is behind him.

“It’s definitely taxing,” Wagner said. “Just like when you’re playing, it takes a certain level of focus to be great. Trying to get a deal done, there was a certain level of focus that I had to have to ultimately get the deal done. But you had a guy who wanted to be here and a team who wanted him here. There was respect on both sides, and that’s always a good recipe to get a deal done.”

Pete Carroll was effusive in his praise of how Wagner handled himself throughout contract talks. It was simply one more example of how exemplary Wagner is in all facets.

“He’s been such a treasure in so many ways,” Carroll said. “He’s meant so much to our franchise. He’s an extraordinary player on the field and a great competitor and just tough as nails to always show up and always be there for us.

“Better than that, he’s a great guy to have on your club to represent your franchise. If a guy is going to get paid, you want it to be a guy like this. He just stands for so much positive and so much good.”

The four-time All-Pro is now signed through 2022. He’ll make $10.5 million in 2019 before the new contract kicks in next season.

Upon signing the deal, Wagner couldn’t help but reflect on the loss of his late mother. His mom passed in 2009 from a heart attack while he was still at Utah State. Wagner said he gave serious consideration to quitting football and returning home to California. Now he’s a Super Bowl champion, a five-time Pro Bowler and he just signed his third NFL contract – a rarity for any player.

“She (taught) me to finish what I started,” Wagner said. “I gave her my word that I’d finish what I started. Today I feel like she’d be proud.”

Report: Seattle Seahawks DT Jarran Reed suspended 6 games

Report: Seattle Seahawks DT Jarran Reed suspended 6 games

The Seattle Seahawks roster took a big hit on Monday, just three days before the team's first practice of training camp.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed has been suspended the first six games of the 2019 season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Rapoport said the suspension stems from an incident in early 2017, and Reed's appeal was denied last Friday. Reed faced a domestic-violence charge in April 2017, where a woman alleged that Reed assaulted her in a Bellevue home. Reed was never charged or arrested in the incident.

The Seahawks issued the following statement Monday morning: "We are of the situation involving Jarran Reed and have followed league and law enforcement protocol since the alleged incident in April of 2017."

Reed's suspension will have massive roster implications. At the top of the roster, it leaves a void at defensive tackle. Reed is Seattle's top interior defensive lineman having posted a career high 10.5 sacks in 2018. Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods are likely candidates to assume an expanded role in Reed's absence.

Other defensive tackles who are on the roster bubble now also have a better shot at making the Seahawks final 53-man roster at the end of August. Reed will be able to participate in training camp and the preseason, but he'll be moved to the suspended list once cuts are made ahead of the 1 p.m. PT deadline on Saturday Aug., 31. That will open up a roster spot for guys like Nazair Jones, Jamie Meder, Bryan Mone, Jay-Tee Tiuli and Demarcus Christmas.

Reed will miss games against the Cincinatti Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns. He'll be eligible to return to the active roster ahead of a Week 7 home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

NFL reporter Joe Fann joins NBC Sports Northwest as NFL and Seahawks Insider

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NBC Sports Northwest

NFL reporter Joe Fann joins NBC Sports Northwest as NFL and Seahawks Insider

PORTLAND, Ore. – July 16, 2019 -NFL reporter Joe Fann has joined NBC Sports Northwest as an NFL and Seattle Seahawks Insider, effective immediately. A Seattle native, Fann will cover the Seahawks and create multiplatform content throughout the year.  Duties will span weekly Seahawks reports with coaches and players, weekly power rankings, news around the league and custom content on-air; on digital via NBCSportsNorthwest.com and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app; social media; and podcasts.

“We’re excited to have Joe join the NBC Sports Northwest team,” said Diane Penny, SVP and GM, NBC Sports Northwest. “Joe has impressive experience, engaging presence, and unique insights. We’re eager to bring him back to his roots, and we’re confident in his ability to connect NFL fans to the teams, players and coaches they care about.”

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to join NBC Sports Northwest,” said Fann. “As a Seattle native, I’m eager to return home near friends and family in what is truly a dream role – both personally and professionally. I look forward to working with the NBCSNW team to build upon the fantastic things already taking place within the network.”

Previously, Fann has held positions as a reporter and writer with the San Francisco 49ers (2015-2019) and Tennessee Titans (2014-2015). He most recently worked as the 49ers’ Senior Reporter, serving as the primary writer and video host for 49ers.com, as well as the team’s social media platforms. Fann is a graduate of Chapman University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in television and broadcast journalism. He also has work experience with the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Reign FC, University of Washington, Los Angeles Lakers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Dodgers, and ESPN Seattle Radio. 

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson trains with the GOAT Serena Williams

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson trains with the GOAT Serena Williams

When Russell Wilson isn’t launching perfect passes to Tyler Lockett in the endzone or visiting Seattle Children’s on “Blue Tuesday,” the Seattle Seahawks quarterback is spending his offseason training alongside seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.

“We were just in Cannes and I got to train with her actually,” Wilson said in an interview with Access. “We trained together, it was awesome. We’re fired up for her for sure.”

Wilson and his wife, Ciara, took the ESPYS red carpet on Wednesday evening in Los Angeles to support Williams, who took home the award for Best Female Tennis Player award.

They also gave us squad goals in this photo alongside U.S. women's soccer team co-captain Megan Rapinoe and reigning WNBA champion Sue Bird. 

Wilson wasn’t the only Seahawk to attend the biggest night in sports. The Griffin brothers, Shaquem and Shaquill, were also at the event promoting their new book Inseparable: How Family and Sacrifice Forged a Path to the NFL, which came out earlier this week.

The Seahawks head from the red carpet to the football field later this month when training camp begins on July 25.