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Justin Glenn’s pursuit of the NFL dream leads him to VMAC
Justin Glenn continued to chase his dream of playing in the NFL on Wednesday, when that path took the former University of Washington safety to Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Glenn was one of 17 draft-eligible players who attended in-state universities or went to high school in the greater Seattle area to work out for the Seahawks’ coaches and scouts in the team’s indoor practice facility.
“This is a big-time job interview right here,” Glenn said after the session. “The coaches, they know what they’ve seen on film. So to come in and do the one-on-one work with the staff, it’s really good and maybe puts you one step ahead of the game in getting invited to a rookie minicamp or whatever.”
Glenn was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, so he realizes the importance of putting his best foot forward at events like the one on Wednesday and the Huskies’ Pro Day workout last month.
“I felt good about how my Pro Day went,” he said. “I felt confident and just went right back to work.”
Glenn had 76 tackles and three interceptions last season, his only one as a fulltime starter for the Huskies. But Glenn understands how important his special teams prowess will be in getting him into a NFL camp.
“I’ve never been through this process before, but what’s gotten me where I’m at right now is work,” he said. “So that’s all I’m doing is just working hard and giving it my all to get my one shot.”
One of the sideline spectators was wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, a participant in last year’s locals workouts who was signed as a free agent by the Seahawks after the draft. Kearse began his rookie season on the practice squad, but ended up on the active roster for seven games and caught three passes.
“I feel what I did here last year helped me get signed by the team,” said Kearse, who also played at the University of Washington. “Any opportunity you can take advantage of to show a team your abilities, you’ve got to take full advantage of it.
“I had the opportunity and I just came out here, competed and tried to do my best.”
Wednesday’s group also included twin brothers Anthony and Brian Watkins, defensive backs from Highline High School who played at Oregon State; and Justin Veltung, a wide receiver and returner from Puyallup High School who went to Idaho.
Brian Watkins, a cornerback and special teams standout for the Beavers, was coming off a strong Pro Day workout last month when he clocked an unofficial time of 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, popped a 38½-inch vertical leap and a 10-2 board jump and did 18 reps with 225 pounds in the bench press. Anthony Watkins, a 6-1, 220-pound safety, is recovering from hernia surgery so he didn’t participate in the Beavers’ Pro Day and was limited to running the 40 on Wednesday.
Veltung had a 41½-inch vertical leap and a time of 4.38 seconds in the 40 at the Vandals’ Pro Day workout last month.
The Seahawks began hosting these events for local players in 2005. In addition to Kearse, the club also found cornerback Donny Lisowski in last year’s group. He was signed in May and released in August; re-signed two weeks later and released later in the month.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Kearse said. “It’s another chance to show coaches your ability and your skillset.”
The group that worked out at VMAC the year before included former UW quarterback Jake Locker, who was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Tennessee Titans; Idaho defensive back Shiloh Keo, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Houston Texans; and defensive back Jesse Hoffman and fullback Dorson Boyce, who were signed as free agents by the Seahawks and released on the roster cuts to 75 (Hoffman) and 53 (Boyce) players. Hoffman was signed to a future contract last January and then released in May.
But the locals workout at VMAC proved to be just what they were looking for – a portal to an NFL roster. And that’s why Glenn was there on Wednesday.
“This is a stepping stone, really,” he said. “One step in the positive direction I want to go.”
And the positive environment created by the Seahawks coaches and scouts played into that.
“It’s cool,” Glenn said. “They’re all super nice guys and good coaches, so everybody was feeling comfortable. No nerves or anything. Just coming out here and performing. So it was fun to be out here today.”
As general manager John Schneider put it, “I think it’s a neat deal for both sides.”