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Moore hoping there is more
The Seahawks had just put the finishing touches on their first unbeaten preseason. The only things left in their locker room at Qwest Field were a couple piles of towels, a few wads of tape – and Devin Moore.
The rookie running back from Wyoming was, quite literally, the last man standing on Thursday night.
If only that could be the case Saturday afternoon, when the Seahawks must make 22 roster moves in getting to the league-mandated roster limit of 53 players.
As an undrafted free agent, Moore has been running on uphill battle all summer. He is the No. 4 player at a position where the team will keep only three – starter Julius Jones, 12,000-yarder rusher Edgerrin James and change-of-pace back Justin Forsett.
“I’m hoping it works out for me here in Seattle,” Moore said. “I really want to stay. I’m willing to learn – I’m eager to learn – behind Julius Jones, Edgerrin James and Justin Forsett.
“I think I can add a complement to them.”
Even if it’s on the eight-man practice that will be compiled after the final cuts are made.
“Whatever it takes,” Moore said. “I just want to be here.”
When given his most extensive stint of the preseason, the undersized Moore (5 feet 9, 191 pounds) came up big. He carried 22 times for 75 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run, in the Seahawks’ 31-21 romp over the Oakland Raiders.
Even more impressive than the third-quarter score were the runs that set it up in a 13-play, 92-yard drive: A 2-yarder up the gut on third-and-1; an 11-yarder, that became a 26-yard gain after the Raiders’ Jerome Boyd was penalty for grabbing Moore’s face mask; a 12-yarder, again between the tackles; and a 15-yarder off right guard to the 1.
All that after carrying 23 times for 61 yards in the first three preseason games.
Moore is just one of a dozen younger players who stepped up on a night when coach Jim Mora rested his starters and turned things over to those battling for spots on the roster or practice squad, or trying to solidify their backup status.
Defensive linemen Nick Reed, Michael Bennett and Derek Walker. Wide receivers Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor and Jordan Kent. Defensive backs Kevin Hobbs and Jamar Adams. Linebacker Dave Philistin.
All played well enough against the Raiders to make the decision-making process for the coaches and front-office staff a daunting task
“A lot of men in that room are making our job as an organization tough, because of how they’ve performed in this preseason,” Mora said. “That’s a good thing, and I told those guys that.
“I was really proud of the way they played, the energy they showed, the passion they played with. You could tell that those guys cared.”
Moore certainly did, and does.
Any regrets? “I wish I could have shown my speed a little more,” he said. “I wanted to get more in the open field and be able to open up.”
Moore does have speed. He also ran track Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis, posting times of 10.6 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 21.6 in the 200 and 49.7 in the 400.
But Moore displayed something even more important against the Raiders.
“I wanted to show them that I could take 20-plus carries,” he said. “And because I’m a little smaller back, that I could run up in the middle and take a little contact.
“Now, I just have to wait and see what the next couple days bring to me.”
This is, for lack of a better term, an interesting time in the NFL. Players will go, hoping to either return or be signed elsewhere. The seconds on Saturday will seem like minutes, the minutes like hours and the hours like an eternity, while waiting for the phone to ring – but hoping it doesn’t.
“This is my first time going through something like this,” Moore said, somehow able to smile in the face of uncertainty. “We’ll see how it turns out.”
Moore kept the ball after scoring his first NFL touchdown, even if it was in a preseason game.
“They’re going to clean it up for me, so I can take one home for my mom,” he said.
Moore is just hoping that his trip to deliver the souvenir will be a short visit, rather than an extended stay.