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Living the NFL Dream

Posted May 21, 2009

Bryan Pittman is back in the Northwest after spending six seasons with the Houston Texans.

 

Bryan Pittman is living his NFL dream.

Playing in the league the past six seasons with the Houston Texans was good enough for the former walk-on snapper at the University of Washington. But signing this week with the Seahawks was an over-the-top moment for someone who also played at Thomas Jefferson High School and Walla Walla Community College.

“I think it’s every player’s dream to go back and to play for their hometown team,” Pittman said Thursday after the final practice in the Seahawks’ latest series of OTA sessions. “I’m just excited about the chance to have that opportunity.”

Just like his younger brother, Bryan Pittman had to endure and persevere to reach his goal. He left Washington after only one season because he was not offered a scholarship, and spent the next five years working odd jobs and playing semi-pro football for the Puget Sound Jets.

“I definitely took the long detour,” Pittman said. “But I continued to work hard, I believed in myself and I knew I could do it. It just took me a while to get that first opportunity.”

Pittman got his foot in the NFL door by signing with the Cleveland Browns in 2003, but they released him (twice) before he caught on with the Texans later that year. He had a streak of 598 successful snaps broken in 2007, and remembers the one that got away as if it had happened yesterday.

“I had one sail high,” he said. “First time in my career. It was different. I was just dumbfounded. The toughest thing was to get in there that next play and start over.”

Pittman worked out for the Seahawks in March, shortly after becoming an unrestricted free agent. But it took 2½ months to finally get a deal done.

“They wanted to make sure they got a chance to see what else was out there,” Pittman said. “Ultimately, they decided to bring me back and give me a shot.”

 

The addition of Pittman gives the Seahawks two snappers on their 80-man roster, and the plan is that the competition between Pittman and Ryan Senser will bring out the best in each – with the better of two winning the job.

Experience is where Pittman has an advantage, because Senser is a first-year snapper in the NFL.

“A lot of guys can snap, but a lot of guys can’t do it consistently and do it under the pressure you sometimes have to do it in,” he said. “That’s what differentiates a professional snapper from just an average college snapper.

“The key is to just be really consistent. You don’t necessarily have to throw it back hard. You’ve just got to be accurate. The biggest thing is consistency, because you’re only as good as your last play. That pertains to the snappers as well as every other positions.”

If he can make the latest twist in his dream situation come true, it will allow his mother, Debbie, to see him play more than once a year – as was the case when Pittman was playing for the Texans. She lives in Mount Vernon, so those much-shorter commutes to Qwest Field would play into her son’s dream-come-true scenario.

In the meantime, Pittman and his wife, Suzanne, will continue to call Houston home. They will celebrate their first wedding anniversary on Sunday.

“Nothing’s guaranteed in this league,” said Pittman, speaking from experience. “So I’m doing the best I can to be a part of this team, and we’ll take it from there.”

HAWK TALK: The club has signed linebacker Tony Taylor. The move coincides with veteran linebacker D.D. Lewis having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, a procedure that will sideline him until training camp practices start in late July. But the team was looking to add another linebacker even before Lewis had the scope. Taylor played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 before being released last September. … Veteran fullback Justin Griffith participated in some drills during two of the three OTA sessions this week. He had been recovery from knee surgery that ended his 2008 season, when he played for the Oakland Raiders.

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