Ben Burr-Kirven will spend his Saturday afternoon patrolling the Washington sideline as a special guest at the Huskies opener against Eastern Washington. He’ll be in attendance at Husky Stadium, but his mind will likely wander to what’s taking place at the VMAC.
Washington’s noon kickoff is an hour before the Seattle Seahawks must whittle their roster from 90 players to just 53. Burr-Kirven and the rest of the team’s bubble players will spend anxious moments awaiting the decision of whether or not they made the cut.
BBK did enough to warrant a spot on the roster. His 12-tackle, one-sack performance on Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders illustrated why the Seahawks selected the UW product in the fifth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“He had a huge game,” Pete Carroll said. “A huge game. He was making plays everywhere. It was really important for him. He’s trying to make the club. We’ll take a look at all that. He had a great opportunity to play all night long, and he was up for it.”
Burr-Kirven’s signature moment was his sack of Mike Glennon on 4th-and-1 from the Seahawks goal line. Glennon was rolling to his right, and the linebacker chased him down from behind to give Seattle the ball back.
“You’ve got to be aggressive and make a play,” Burr-Kirven said of the play. “A gap opened up, and I just kept going.”
He had another quarterback hit on a blitz up the middle but was called for roughing the passer. The hit looked clean, but a flag was thrown because Burr-Kirven landed on Nathan Peterman with his entire body weight. The play still exhibited the linebacker’s instincts and closing speed.
Burr-Kirven said he benefitted from the in-game insights and tips from Seattle’s starting linebackers. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright were in his ear between each defensive series, providing the rookie with their observations.
“They’re great,” Burr-Kirven said. “Those two and Kendricks – each of them almost 10 years in the league. They know so much about the game and the intricacies of it.”
The linebacker made “a ton of big plays” according to Carroll in what was somewhat of a do-or-die performance. Burr-Kirven had been mostly quiet during the preseason up until Thursday night. He knew this was his final chance to showcase his ability before roster cuts.
“I know that every time I’m on the field is an opportunity to show this organization what kind of player I am,” he said. “I knew that tonight would be that biggest opportunity. I had to take advantage of it.”
Carroll called it Burr-Kirven’s “best outing for sure.” The linebacker concurred and added that he’s confident he can be a capable NFL linebacker.
His top competition for a roster spot is second-year linebacker and fellow fifth-round pick Shaquem Griffin. A benefit to BBK is that Griffin’s knee injury continues to linger. The Seahawks pulled Griffin from the game before he even had an opportunity to play a single snap on defense. It’s the same knee that kept Griffin out from the previous two preseason games.
All of a sudden Griffin could be an IR candidate, which would almost assure Burr-Kirven of a roster spot. But none of that is clear just yet and won’t be for the next 36 hours. So Burr-Kirven will wait, likely from the sideline of his alma mater, hoping to receive good news.
“I think I’ve done everything I can,” Burr-Kirven said.