Holy Toledo

Posted May 3, 2010

A weekend tryout at the their minicamp led to Seahawks signing Joe Toledo, the former high school tight end who spurned now-Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at USC to attend the University of Washington

This time, Joe Toledo didn’t say no, and neither did Pete Carroll.

Toledo, a former tight end/tackle for the University of Washington, is one of two tryout players signed by the Seahawks following their performances in the team’s three-day minicamp that concluded Sunday. Also signed was cornerback Chris Richards.

Carroll, the Seahawks’ new coach, recruited Toledo at the University of Southern California in 2001. But Toledo opted for Washington.

“He kind of broke my heart,” Carroll said after the final practice. “But I told him I’m not going to hold it against him right now. We need a tackle.”

Even after selecting Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick overall in the NFL draft, the Seahawks were light at the position. Enter Toledo, who spent the weekend working at right tackle with the No. 2 line, despite his tryout status. Sean Locklear was at right tackle opposite Okung, with Ray Willis at left tackle opposite Toledo.

“Everything in the NFL is trial by fire,” Toledo said over the weekend. “You just get in where you fit in and try to survive. It’s a matter of making the most of your opportunities and doing what you can. I’m just learning as I go and trying to do the best I can.”

Obviously, Toledo did well enough.

But he has been down this road before. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Toledo was a fourth-round draft choice by the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and also has spent time with the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers – primarily as a practice-squad player.

Richards is a rookie from Stony Brook. He also adds depth at a position where former first-round draft choice Marcus Trufant is back – and healthy – as the starter on the left side, while Josh Wilson continues to work as the starter on the right side. During the just-concluded minicamp, Kelly Jennings and Roy Lewis were the corners on the No. 2 defense, with Richards in the No. 3 unit with Marcus Udell – another tryout player who was not signed to a contract.

To clear roster spots for Toledo and Richards, long snapper Patrick McDonald and linebacker Reggie Carter were released.