A familiar face will line up against the Seahawks this Sunday at CenturyLink Field as former Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell makes a return trip to the Pacific Northwest.
"It's where it all started," Maxwell said via conference call on Wednesday. "I had a great time there my four years, wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I know I've got a special bond with some guys there, so yeah, I'm excited to play in that stadium."
Maxwell, who wore a Seahawks uniform during his first four NFL seasons, signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Eagles the spring after Seattle's trip to Super Bowl XLIX. Seattle expressed its hope to keep Maxwell in the fold, but ultimately it was a deal the team could not match.
"At the end of the day we all love this game, no doubt," said Maxwell. "We put so much time into it. You want to be compensated. You want to get paid like everybody else. That's all it really was.
"Of course I didn't want to leave, but sometimes you've got to do things you don't want to do."
Maxwell's stay in Philadelphia lasted just one year. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason, an experience that taught him "how to be a better leader" and helped him handle "being the guy that you know everybody looks to." As such, Maxwell finds himself facing his old team in the 2016 regular season opener as the Dolphins' No. 1 corner.
"That's going to be a different experience for me obviously," he said. "But I guess I'm looking forward to it. I'm trying to mentally plan how to handle the situation, but it's going to be different. A lot of emotions, but still got a game to play. Still got to come there and do business."
A sixth-round pick of the Seahawks' in 2011, Maxwell was the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman in 2013 and 2014 during the Seahawks' back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. When Seattle won Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8 over Denver, Adam Gase was the Broncos' offensive coordinator. Now it's Gase who Maxwell calls his head coach.
"Ever since we acquired him in the trade, he's been a guy that's been around the organization, he's had some ups and downs, he's had some adversities thrown at him, but him coming here was great not only for myself but also the guys that were already here," said Gase, Miami's first-year head coach. "He went through a tough spot last year and these guys have seen him battle back, he was so good in the offseason as far as competing, kind of bringing a different mentality than I think some of these guys have seen in the past.
"For myself, I always enjoy it because there's a lot of talk and then me and him do a lot with our past relationship of competing against each other. Unfortunately he reminds me too much of who has been on top of those few games, but he has really brought, at least for me, a guy with that experience, a guy with that competitive nature that we're always looking for in this sport."
Maxwell said he still keeps in contact with "a whole bunch of guys" on the Seahawks and noted he'll find it "weird" being on the opposite side of the field from players like quarterback Russell Wilson because "I've been cheering for the guy for so long."
"It was a great locker room," Maxwell recalled. "There were some great guys in there. I'm just excited to see the whole Seahawks organization. There's a lot of people in there I love."
The Seattle Seahawks have faced the Miami Dolphins 15 times dating back to 1977, going 4-8 in the regular season and 1-2 in the postseason. They'll look to add another win this Sunday, October 4 at 10 a.m. PT at Hard Rock Stadium.