The Seahawks traded for Jadeveon Clowney over the weekend, but in a way it feels like they added two elite defensive ends prior to their regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
That's because Ziggy Ansah, who signed with Seattle as a free agent in May, only returned to practice last week, a return that, timed with Clowney's acquisition, gives the Seahawks an imposing presence on both ends of their defensive line.
For Ansah, this return has been a long time coming. After a 2017 season in which he piled up 12 sacks for the Lions, Ansah battled a shoulder injury last season before eventually having season-ending surgery, landing him on injured reserve. The hope when the Seahawks signed him last spring was a Week 1 return, and after practicing each of the past two days, as well as last week, it appears he's on track to do just that.
"It's been a long journey," Ansah said. "I haven't played football in a while, a long time, since last year. It's something I'm really looking forward to… I just can't wait to hit somebody. I can't wait to make my first tackle, I can't wait to get my first sack, I just can't wait to get out there and play with the guys here in this building. We have a bunch of great guys here, and I can't see myself anywhere but here and I'm really excited to be a part of this program."
Like any edge rusher who has been on the visiting side at CenturyLink Field, Ansah is looking forward to having one of the NFL's best home field advantages on his side now when the defense is on the field.
"This stadium was one of the stadiums you just sit there and soak everything in," he said. "You sit there and think, 'Man, this vibration is untouchable.' The fans go crazy. The 12th man, it's totally understandable why they have that nickname. I'm just excited they're on my side now."
Asked if he's ready after such a long layoff, Ansah said, "I've been here since May. I've went through a lot of walk throughs and taken a lot of mental reps. I've been in the league for a while, I know how it goes, but I'm as ready as I can be."
The addition of Ansah helped mitigate the loss of Frank Clark, who was traded to Kansas City prior to the draft, and Ansah's return to the field, along with the addition of Clowney, has the Seahawks feeling really good about an element of their defense that appeared to be a question mark heading into camp.
"Ziggy was a really big get for us with Frank going out the door," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We had to wait so long for Zig to get ready to go. We didn't feel the impact of that much at this point, so that starts happening game one. To also come up and get Jadeveon to add to it, that's a real boost. I've said before, any coach in the history of football is looking for a pass-rusher going into week one."
The Seahawks and the Bengals will meet this Sunday in Seattle at CenturyLink Field to open up the 2019 regular season. Take a look back at photos from the past twenty games played between the two teams.