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Seahawks linebacker Marcus Dowtin making the most of his opportunities

Posted Aug 23, 2014

Free agent linebacker Marcus Dowtin wasn’t even expecting to play in the Seahawks' preseason home finale on Friday night. But he made plays that forced the Chicago Bears to settle for a pair of field goals.

With Malcolm Smith and Korey Toomer making their preseason debuts on Friday night, free agent linebacker Marcus Dowtin wasn’t even expecting to play in the Seahawks’ game against the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field.

As it turned out, he not only played, Dowtin made an impact.

“I didn’t even think I was going to play tonight,” Dowtin said in the locker room after the 34-6 romp over the Bears. “So just being ready and coach giving me an opportunity to play, I really appreciate it and I took advantage of it.”

Dowtin was needed because rookie free agent Brock Coyle and veteran Heath Farwell were injured during the game. And Dowtin did what any player who is on the bubble with the 90-man roster needing to be cut to 75 by Tuesday and then to 53 next Saturday needs to do – he made the most of the unexpected snaps.

“Since I’ve been in college, it’s always been my thing that when I get in the game I’ve got to make the best of opportunities,” said Dowtin, who began his college career at Georgia and finished it at North Alabama. “I can’t worry about what I can’t control. I’ve got to worry about opportunities given to me.

“So each and every time I get in the game, even if I’m at center I’m going to do something. I’m going to figure it out and I’m going to get something done.”

Dowtin did just that in his handful plays against the Bears. He finished with three solo tackles, including one for a loss, while playing one series and part of another in the fourth quarter. On a second-and-6 play, he dropped running back Shaun Draughn for a 2-yard loss as the Bears had to settle for a field goal after reaching the Seahawks’ 10-yard line. On the Bears’ final possession, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Dowtin stopped running back Senorise Perry after a 4-yard gain on a first-and-10 play, then tackled Perry for no gain after he had caught a pass at the Seahawks’ 10 on third-and-6. Again, the Bears settled for a field goal.

Asked which play he liked best, Dowtin offered, “I guess I could say the first play, because it was just an opportunity. But every opportunity is just as good as the next. I try to take advantage of every one of them, so I kind of hold them all in high regard.”

The Seahawks are Dowtin’s fifth team in the past three seasons. He signed with the New York Jets as a rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft, but was released in August and signed to the practice squad. He was elevated to the 53-man roster in mid-October, only to be released in mid-November. The Philadelphia Eagles signed him to their practice squad in late December, but released him in April 2013. That’s when the Buffalo Bills claimed him, but he was released in October. The New York Giants signed Dowtin to their practice squad last November, but he was waived in March. The Seahawks signed him on Aug. 1.

Since his first practice, Dowtin found himself on a linebacker-laden roster with the Seahawks.

“It’s definitely a good group of guys,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of young guys that have different aspects they bring to the game.”

When healthy, that is. Middle linebacker and two-time leading tackler Bobby Wagner has not played in the preseason because of a sore hamstring. Bruce Irvin, the incumbent starter on the strong side, remains on the physically unable to perform list following offseason hip surgery. Smith, the MVP from the Seahawks’ win in Super Bowl XLVIII, and Toomer, a promising prospect who has spent his first two seasons on injured reserve, just returned to practice this week. So weak-side starter K.J. Wright has been the only starter standing for most of training camp and the preseason.

That’s why Dowtin is here, and that’s why he has gotten as many opportunities as he has – in practice, as well as the preseason games.

It’s not an easy situation to handle, but Dowtin has embraced it.

“It pretty much boils down to how I was raised,” he said. “You’ve got to be ready for sudden change. You’ve got to be ready when things aren’t as you think they would be, or should be. So when the time shows up and you’ve got to perform, it’s time to perform. You can’t really hesitate.”