In April’s NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks drafted Bruce Irvin out of West Virginia with the 15th overall pick. The reason was twofold: they wanted to boost their pass rush, and they wanted someone to eventually replace 30-year-old starter Chris Clemons.
Clemons was not happy with the pick and contract situation and held out of all offseason activities. He wanted a new contract and assurance that he would be around after next season. He received what he asked for and signed a four-year extension on the eve of training camp and is back in the Seahawks’ fold.
After signing with Seattle from Philadelphia two years ago, Clemons has recorded career-high numbers in sacks with 11 in both seasons. He is known as a great locker room presence and for taking young players under his wing.
During Clemons’ holdout, Bruce Irvin received most of the first-team reps in practices and OTA’s. He opened eyes with his speed and ability to learn quickly. If Clemons’ holdout were to have continued, Irvin would have been in line to start for the Seahawks in Week 1. If you are a Bruce Irvin fan, you wanted to see that.
Not Bruce Irvin.
Yes, Irvin wants to start for the Seahawks and have a long career, but he knows he has a long road in front of him and has a lot to learn. He wants Chris Clemons on the sideline, on the field and in the locker room with him. For his part, Clemons wants to teach Irvin everything he knows.
“Hopefully I’m able to help him throughout the season and help him mature as a football player,” Clemons said of Irvin.
While filling in for Clemons during practices, Irvin regularly made plays, slipping by offensive linemen on his way to the quarterbacks. Even though he seemed to be doing well, there was something missing for Irvin during the process.
“I felt like when Clem wasn’t here, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” Irvin said of Clemons not being there. “Now that Clem is here and I get can a visual of what he’s doing. It really helps me out a lot.”
When Seattle takes the field for their first preseason game against the Titans on August 11 (on the NFL Network), we will get to see just how far Bruce Irvin has come since walking off the field in the Orange Bowl.