That was apparent Saturday morning, when the Seahawks introduced the player they had selected in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night. The 6-foot-4, 321-pound tackle from Alabama came to the Seahawks with a reputation for his quiet ways.
“He’s probably the quietest guy on our team,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said during the 2010 season. “In fact, the players rib him all the time about how much he talks – and it’s not very much.”
Asked about that assessment, Carpenter offered, “I’ve been worse. I talk a lot nowadays. I’m enjoying life, especially this experience that I’m doing right now.”
Sharing that experience with Carpenter were his parents – James Sr. and Geraldine – who made the trip to Seattle from their home in Georgia with their son. Sharing the stage in the auditorium at Virginia Mason Athletic Center with Carpenter were coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, still giddy about landing a player who is expected to win the starting job on the right side.
“We bring in the big fella to help us get this thing really cranked up in the offensive line and for our football team to have an attitude that we all cherish,” Carroll said. “We think he’s a beautiful addition to our football team.”
And Carpenter’s quiet ways spread to the Seahawks’ approached to selecting him. His name never was linked to the team during the long, arduous process that is preparing for the draft. So when his name was called with the 25th pick in the first round, it caught most by surprise.
Those outside the Seahawks’ draft room, that is.
“We tried staying under the radar with his guy,” Schneider said. “We told our group yesterday that we were very proud of them that his name never got out.”
The big cat is now out of the bag, in a big way. The Seahawks used their first two draft choices to rebuild the right side of the offensive line – Carpenter at tackle and second-round draft choice
“I just hope to be a great addition to the offensive line and play physical with the other offensive linemen and be a good teammate,” Carpenter said. “I’m very physical and just a tough player that just loves the game.”
Words to remember, especially coming from a young man of so few words.