Focus on: Bryan Walters

Posted Oct 16, 2013

Bryan Walters followed a meandering path to playing in his first regular-season game for his hometown NFL team. Next up for the Juanita High School and Cornell grad is Thursday night’s nationally televised road game against the Cardinals.

Bryan Walters is easy to spot in the Seahawks’ locker room. He’s the one with the just-livin’-the-dream smile.

And who can blame him? The fourth-year wide receiver is an example of what persistence can produce. Walters, who grew up in Kirkland and was a quarterback at Juanita High School, was signed to the Seahawks’ 53-man roster off the practice squad last Saturday, and played in his first regular-season game at CenturyLink Field the next day.

“It was pretty loud. It was pretty crazy in there,” Walters said of his first full-roar experience in the home of the 12th Man. “It was pretty cool; pretty exciting. But once you get into the game, you don’t really think about all that. You can’t. Once the opening kickoff hits, you’re on to doing your job.”

His job against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday involved some special-teams duty and a couple of snaps on offense.

Thursday night, he’ll play in his first regular-season road game for his hometown NFL team – in a nationally televised matchup against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium, no less.

Walters is one of those overnight success stories that has been years in the making. He entered the league in 2010 with the San Diego Chargers, who signed him as a rookie free agent out of Cornell. He spent the final five games of his rookie season on the Chargers’ practice squad, and played in four regular-season games with them in 2011. He signed with the Minnesota Vikings during the 2012 offseason, but was released during training camp. Walters spent the final two games last season and the first five this season on the Seahawks’ practice squad.

“It’s the nature of the business,” he said. “It’s don’t let anything get in your way, I guess. That’s the thing, you can’t let everything bad that happens get in your head because things are going to come up, things are going to set you back. But you’ve just got to keep going.

“It’s been a crazy road so far. But I like to see it as I’m still young and haven’t made my mark yet. As long as the legs still work, why not keep doing it?”

Walters’ crazy road also has been a coast-to-coast-and-back journey. From Kirkland to Cornell; Cornell to San Diego; San Diego to Minneapolis; Minneapolis back to Kirkland; and Kirkland to Renton. Not your typical path, but the path of patience that has led Walters to where he is.

“He’s done a great job out here,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “He’s prepared our defense on the scout team; he was having a really nice training camp until he got injured. Now he’s back out here. He does a great job in one-on-one (drills). He gets separation. He gets open. And he finishes the play by catching the ball.

“So there are a lot of things that we really like about him.”

And three guesses what Walters would like next? That first reception for his hometown NFL team.

“Yep. That would be the next goal,” he said, smiling of course.