THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
RENTON, Wash. — Ryan Longwell’s mindset was that he would be running a marathon this weekend.
Instead, he’ll be back in the NFL playoffs, kicking for the Seattle Seahawks.
"To be dead-honest with you, my wife is probably the happiest person that I got called in to work," Longwell said Wednesday. "We were actually training all fall for the Disney marathon that’s this Sunday coming up so I got her out of that and got me out of it, too."
Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah were officially signed by the Seahawks on Wednesday. They take the roster spots of kicker Steven Hauschka and defensive end Chris Clemons, who were both placed on injured reserve.
Clemons was lost for the season to an ACL and meniscus tear in his left knee in last Sunday’s 24-14 playoff win over Washington, while Hauschka suffered a calf strain that limited his availability on long field goals and kickoffs. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Longwell beat out three other kickers during a tryout on Tuesday.
"When you look at Ryan’s background, the great experience he’s had, the time he’s had in playoff situations and all of that, to make this transition for a younger guy may be more of an issue, and I think he can handle it," Carroll said.
Longwell, who spent 15 seasons with Green Bay and Minnesota, did not kick in the NFL this season. In his final year with the Vikings, 2011, Longwell made 22 of 28 attempts, but was only 6 of 10 from 40-49 yards. Longwell got a call Sunday night from his agent and was on his way to Seattle the next day.
"I love the pressure, I love kicking if it comes down to it," Longwell said. "Hopefully for the team, it’s a blowout or something. But I think that’s something I do well: handle the situation. I’m here to help these guys win. They’ve had an incredible season, incredible talent and they’re on a really, really impressive run and you just want to keep it going."
Chukwurah has not played in an NFL game since 2007 with Tampa Bay. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons in the UFL with the Florida Tuskers, where he led the league in sacks. He was a fifth-round pick by Denver in 2001 and played with the Broncos and Buccaneers. Carroll said his relationship with Seattle defensive coaches Todd Wash and Gus Bradley, plus Chukwurah’s ability to play on special teams. made him the best option despite spending the last five seasons out of the NFL.
"I came here with the mindset that if this was going to be my last shot, to give it all that I’ve got," Chukwurah said. "I was really set on just moving on and starting the next chapter so this is just a blessing."