Kevin Pierre-Louis flaunts his style, embraces intensity

Posted May 17, 2014

Kevin Pierre-Louis hasn’t just stepped into one of the better linebacker groups in the NFL; the Seahawks’ fourth-round draft choice is taking steps to emulate the intensity of position coach Ken Norton Jr.

Kevin Pierre-Louis started earning style points with the Seahawks long before they selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

That’s because the linebacker from Boston College showed up at his interview with the team at the NFL Scouting Combine in February wearing a sweater and a tie – at the event that has been dubbed the Underwear Olympics and where Combine-issued sweats are the preferred attire for all occasions.

“If you saw him at the Combine, he came in to all the interviews, he had a tie on. He had a sweater on. He was very professional,” Todd Brunner, the Seahawks’ Southeast area scout, said last Saturday after the team had made Pierre-Louis the 132nd pick overall.

“There, you don’t have to. You see guys walking around in shorts and T-shirts. He was very, very professional. You talk to him and he’s a genuine kid. He’s not putting on a show. That’s the type of kid he is.”

Saturday, after Pierre-Louis continued to put on show during the second practice in the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp, reporters who cover the team got their first in-the-flesh chance to talk to him.

So, Kevin, what was up with the tie-and-sweater routine at the Combine?

“I definitely am a suit-and-tie type of guy,” he said. “I’ve just got to represent my family well, as well as BC – Boston College. We’re men once we leave there. I was fortunate enough to get my degree there in marketing. And I just like to represent myself well. Represent the people that support me, as well as represent any organization that would pick me up.

“And now I’m representing the Seahawks.”

And also representing himself well on the practice field, where Pierre-Louis has been working at weak-side linebacker with the No. 1 defense in this rookie minicamp – with former fifth-round draft choice Korey Toomer on the strong side and Mike Taylor in the middle.

Saturday, the 6-foot, 236-pound got to the ball carrier on one play before the back could get the corner. Friday, Pierre-Louis dropped into coverage, denying the quarterback his outlet target.

And when Pierre-Louis makes a mistake, he definitely hears about it from linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. – a former Pro Bowl linebacker who is the only player in NFL history to play for three consecutive Super Bowl champions. Regardless of how loud things might get on the practice field, Norton gets his point across to his players.

But Pierre-Louis is embracing this fools-rush-in-where-angles-fear-to-tread situation.

“Coach Norton is intense,” Pierre-Louis said. “Especially to be a linebacker – the linebacker that he was, the man that he is – you need to be that way to coach us. And you see it.”

It was Norton’s intensity that provided Pierre-Louis with his Welcome to the NFL moment.

“It was probably the first day I got here,” said Pierre-Louis, who also worked during Phase 2 of the veterans’ offseason program before the rookie minicamp started Friday. “I’m a guy who loves to run and has a lot of energy. But I was humbled real quick with coach Norton and his intensity.

“He had me in what we call the chute for quite some time. But I’m a rookie. It comes with the territory. And, like I said, he’s going to train me hard. I just have faith in him that I’m going to be a better football player at the end of it.”

Just call it the Norton intimidation factor, even if Pierre-Louis won’t.

“No, there’s no intimidation factor,” he said. “He’s intense, and football is an intense game. You really can’t play scared. And I’m just hoping I can pick up some of that intensity that he brings onto the field every day.

“It’s my goal to mirror that.”    

In addition to Norton, Pierre-Louis also is learning from the Seahawks’ linebackers – leading tackler and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner; K.J. Wright, the starter at the position where Pierre-Louis is working this weekend; strong-side ’backer Bruce Irvin; and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith.

“I’ve heard the linebacking corps here is underrated,” he said. “And you see it in their play that they excel at the little things, the basics – running to the ball, making cuts, leading the defense. And (coach Norton) shows us how to be true linebackers.

“He’s showing us how to play football; he’s showing me how to play football. And I’m just glad to have a mentor like him, as well as the older guys who are helping me out along this process.”