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A.J. Jefferson has an eventful debut with Seahawks
A.J. Jefferson had an eventful Thursday night.
It started with the veteran cornerback taking the field for the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Broncos in Denver. It ended with Jefferson leaving the locker room at Sports Authority Field with an ankle he sprained during the Seahawks’ 21-16 loss.
But it’s what happened in between that really mattered for Jefferson.
“There are some big names in front of me that I’ve got to live up to,” Jefferson acknowledged. “So I’m just going to make a name for myself. But just being a corner, you have to have that mindset that you’re going to make a play when the plays are able to be made.”
Jefferson’s opportunity to do just that didn’t come until late in the third quarter, as the right cornerback in the Seahawks’ No. 3 defense.
On his first play – and first play of note – he was beaten off the line by Broncos rookie wide receiver Cory Latimer. But the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Jefferson used his speed, length and athletic ability to recover and break up the pass. Three plays later, he broke up a Brock Osweiler pass to rookie Bennie Fowler.
Then came the play that was the highlight of his night, but also his last play. On the final snap of the quarter, Jefferson intercepted a pass that would set up a Steven Hauschka, giving the Seahawks a 16-14 lead with 11½ minutes left. But at the end of Jefferson’s 11-yard return, someone fell on his ankle.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I think I’ll be alright.”
Asked what happened on his interception, the first thing Jefferson did was laugh.
“They were backed up, so they couldn’t run the ball,” Jefferson said of the Broncos beginning the one-play possession at their 5-yard line, where Terrance Parks had downed a Jon Ryan punt. “I think (Osweiler) was looking for something else and then the tight end ended being open. I saw him kind of late, so I just kind of ran underneath.
“I was kind of a bad pass. It was underthrown. So I was just able to get there before the receiver.”
Eventful, and then some.
He started seven games for the Cardinals in 2011, when he had career-highs in tackles (66) and passes defensed (12, including an interception). But the Cardinals traded him to the Minnesota Vikings in 2012, when he started seven games and had 37 tackles. But the Vikings released him after the 2013 season.
So why the Seahawks? Jefferson said he had other options. But why a team whose secondary goes by the Legion of Boom and features Sherman and the All-Pro safety tandem of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, as well as all those other corners?
“I just kind of wanted to be a part of what was going on here,” he said. “I had some talks with the coaches and I felt it was a good place for me to be. They treat you like a family here, so I’m fitting in really well. The guys treat me like family. So it should be a good season for us. I’m excited.”