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A happy Super-year birthday to Byron Maxwell
INDIANAPOLIS – Byron Maxwell will have no problem remembering how 2013 ended and 2014 started for the rest of his life.
The third-year cornerback stepped into the starting lineup on the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense in December because of an injury to starter Brandon Browner and the suspension of backup Walter Thurmond, and proceeded to intercept four passes in four games as the Seahawks wrapped up a 13-3 regular season to win the NFC West title and secure the conference’s top seed in the postseason.
Sunday is Maxwell’s 25th birthday, but what could possibly top what has happened to him in the past two months?
Pete Carroll supplied the answer this week when asked about Maxwell at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“That’s a great story,” the Seahawks’ coach said. “Byron came in; he was a lower-round pick (sixth round in 2011). Really good, competitive, tough kid. Showed his metal in special teams. Was a great gunner on special teams, and that tells you something about a player. He really jumped out at us.”
But Maxwell couldn’t leapfrog the cornerbacks in front of him – All-Pro Richard Sherman, the starter on the left side; Browner, the starter on the right side; and Thurmond, the nickel back and first option at either corner.
When needed, Maxwell was there.
“For us to see that emergence was enormous for our football season,” Carroll said. “When Byron had his chance, while other people were thinking, ‘Oh boy, they’re going to their second-team guy,’ I was really excited because I had seen what he had done to get there.
“I was hoping he’d handle it well. And boy, he handled it beautifully.”