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Focus on: Early Doucet
There’s being a stranger in a strange land, and there’s being a former divisional rival who suddenly finds himself in the uniform of the team that used to be a division rival.
The past few days have been a little bit of one and a whole lot of the other for Early Doucet, who signed with the Seahawks on Friday after playing his first five NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
Sunday, Doucet practiced for the first time with the team he is used to playing against.
“It’s a little bit different, especially coming from Arizona and being there the last five years,” Doucet said. “It’s kind of like one of those college rivals, but now I’m a Seahawk and that’s really my main concern right now.”
“He’s been kind of a jack of all trades,” Carroll said. “He’s done a lot of good stuff. He’s a good special teams guy, too. He’s a very tough kid. We remember way back recruiting him, and he was one of the best kids in the country coming out.”
That’s when Carroll was coaching at the University of Southern California, and Doucet was coming out of St. Martinville High School in Louisiana with 7,104 all-purpose yards and 79 touchdowns on his prep resume. Doucet opted to attend LSU and was selected in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Cardinals.
Doucet caught 139 passes for 1,491 yards and seven TDs for the Cardinals – including 54 receptions for 689 yards and five TDs in 2011. But he was released in March after a new coaching staff came in.
“I kind of knew with a new coaching staff coming in and talking to my agent I was kind of prepared mentally for that outcome,” Doucet said. “But at the same time I understand the business side of it, so it was nothing personal and I enjoyed my time there.”
More difficult to comprehend was the five-month wait to find a new home.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, especially this being my first time in this type of situation,” Doucet said. “But I believe in my agent and I believe in my abilities. And I knew eventually things would work out the way they were supposed to. So I just continued to train and enjoy my time with my family because I’m normally not around during this time of year.”
What role Doucet might fill for his new football family remains to be seen.
“We’ll see where he fits,” Carroll said. “You couldn’t tell much today, but he caught the ball well. The think I like about him is how guys that have played with him and have been on his team talked about him – the toughness, the competitiveness. That part of his makeup will fit right in.”
But Doucet’s first order of business is getting used to seeing himself in a Seahawks uniform.
“My main focus now is earning my keep around here, getting to know the guys, getting comfortable in the system and just making the best of the opportunities that I get,” he said. “It’s a fresh start. A great organization. A bunch of great guys. So I’m not even worried about the past five years. I feel like I’m getting a fresh start to come in here and compete with all the guys.”