Carlos Dunlap II isn't exactly new to the Seahawks, seeing as he joined the team last fall in a midseason trade. But the veteran defensive end, who re-signed with Seattle last month, hasn't been around all that long either, and with COVID-19 restrictions limiting players' interactions both with the media and with fans last year, there's a good chance that a lot of Seahawks fans haven't really been introduced to the three-time Pro-Bowl pass-rusher other than through his on-field play. So with that in mind, we bring you these five things to know about Carlos Dunlap:
1. He owns one of Miami's hottest brunch spots.
Dunlap says he didn't have a very adventurous palate until he became an NFL player and was able to hire a personal chef, who expanded his horizons and made him realize vegetables could be both nutritious and delicious. From there, he became a self-described foodie, and realized when he started sharing food pics on Instagram, he was influencing what restaurants his followers visited.
"Immediately I was like, OK, I love food, and it's clear I go to a variety of places for one specific thing, so why not bring all my favorites to one location?" Dunlap explained, and that led to him opening his Miami restaurant, Honey Uninhibited, two years ago.
"One of the things my dad always said growing up is, only invest in things you love, and I love breakfast food," he said. "I saw an opportunity, I saw a need, because all the breakfast places in Miami were at a two hour wait, so I thought, why not create that space, do it differently, and take ownership in it? The rest is history."
2. He has a master's degree in business administration, but nothing beats hands-on experience.
Prior to opening his own restaurant, Dunlap not only finished his undergraduate degree at the University of Florida—he had left school early for the NFL in 2010—he also earned a master's degree in business administration at the University of Miami.
And while Dunlap sees a lot of value in going back to school, he believes nothing tops the hand-on experience he has gotten working at his restaurant.
"It's been huge," he said of his master's degree. "I haven't applied it as much as I would have liked, and or as much as people might think, because at the end of the day, most people who start a business, the best field is on-hand, in-field training. Yes, the program was great, it opened my eyes to business and to different types of business, and how to be more successful in identifying the key things that make businesses fail. But being hands-on and being in the restaurant and working different positions has taught me way more things, and I'm still learning daily."
3. He's sticking with No. 43… Unless singled digits numbers are an option.
When Dunlap joined the Seahawks, he knew he'd need a new number, because No. 96, his number in Cincinnati, was retired in Seattle for Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy. With every other number in the 90s unavailable last season, Dunlap knew he was going to have to wear something non-traditional for a pass-rusher, and he didn't like the idea of a number in the 60s or 70s. Since there's enough overlap in the LEO defensive end position and outside linebacker, Dunlap could drop into the 50s and 40s, and he landed on No. 43, a nod to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, which has an 843 area code. In theory, Dunlap could change numbers this year—90 and 93 are available with Jarran Reed and Jonathan Bullard—but he instead decided he'll stick with 43.
"I'm from the 843, so No. 1, it just seemed fitting there," he said. "All the 90s were unavailable, I don't think I could do 80s, I wasn't going to do 70s or 60s, and I didn't love the 50s that were available."
If, however, the league approves a proposed rules change that expands the number choices players have at various positions, Dunbar said he'd definitely consider wearing 8, his number in college: "I would definitely entertain going back to No. 8."
4. His parents have racked up some serious frequent flyer miles.
While Dunlap loved just about everything about his time in Seattle last season, if there was any cause for hesitation about coming back, it was the distance between Seattle and his hometown. Prior to last season when COVID-19 shut down travel and kept fans out of stadiums, Dunlap's parents, Carlos Sr. and Diane Ross, had traveled to every game in his career, he said.
"My family looks forward to experiencing (games at Lumen Field), because they weren't able to come to any games," he said. "My parents never missed a game my whole career, they flew to every single game, so (last) season was tough for my family, my friends."
5. He looks forward to experiencing Seattle after COVID-19.
While Dunlap did spend a few months in the Seattle area, he didn't get the full experience, either as a visitor or as a player. On gameday, Dunlap didn't get to rush the passer with the 12s behind him, though he does know a bit about that Lumen Field noise having played road games at Seattle in 2011 and 2019.
"I remember not being able to talk to my teammate who was right next to me, constantly having to re-ask what's the play," he said. "… I'm a huge fan of getting the crowd involved, and you don't have to do that in Seattle. That's something I love and feed off, it truly makes it a 12th man."
A look back at defensive end Carlos Dunlap II's first 11 seasons in the NFL. Dunlap signed a multi-year deal to return to the Seahawks on Tuesday. Read more: https://shwks.com/c8qsuh