When the Seahawks kick off against the Cardinals on Sunday at Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium, a familiar face that supported Seattle's Super Bowl XLVIII championship run will be suited up on the Arizona sideline.
Red Bryant, the run-stuffing defensive end that helped lead the Seahawks and their No. 1-ranked defense to its first Lombardi Trophy, was signed by the Cardinals on Thanksgiving to help bolster the club's defensive line depth.
The 6-foot-4, 323-pound, eighth-year veteran - whose father-in-law just so happens to be former Seahawks great Jacob Green - spent his first six years in the NFL (2008-13) with the Seahawks. He played for the Jacksonville Jaguars last year under head coach Gus Bradley, who worked from 2009-12 as Seattle's defensive coordinator, and Bryant was with the Buffalo Bills in training camp this year, but released prior to the start of the regular season. He was without a team until Arizona came calling, and Bryant joined the Cardinals in the midst of their run at the NFC West crown.
"Big, powerful, physical man that really plays the run extremely well," Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said of Bryant via conference call on Wednesday. "We're really happy to have him, and he's fit right in our locker room extremely well. He's been playing lights out for us."
Defensive end Red Bryant, drafted by the Seahawks in 2008, played in 64 games with 55 starts, tallying 121 tackles (78 solo), 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 7 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble & 2 fumble recoveries.
Since his signing, Bryant has appeared in all five of Arizona's games, serving as a rotational player for a Cardinals defense that ranks fifth in the NFL (319.5 yards per game) and fourth against the run (87.7 yards per game). He's averaged 24 percent of Arizona's defensive snaps, and has recorded four tackles in the process.
"He's playing huge, just like you would think he would," said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. "He's a big guy at the line of scrimmage. He fills up a lot of space, he's a tough football player. We've always had great respect for Red and love the guy."
Arians said he hasn't seen a change in Bryant's preparation as he readies to face his former team, but added "maybe as the week goes on it will grow on him a little bit." Bryant has been on Carroll's mind, though, with the Seahawks head coach expressing excitement for a former player - one that was particularly well-respected within Seattle's locker room - getting a shot at chasing an NFL title with a team that still has a chance to clinch the conference's No. 1 playoff seed.
"I was thinking about the last couple days what a great deal for him to come back to a team that's winning, and doing really well and all of that," Carroll said. "I'm really fired up for him in that regard."