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Here To Stay: Uchenna Nwosu's Extension With Seahawks Destined From "Day One" 

After signing a three-year extension Monday to remain in Seattle, linebacker Uchenna Nwosu opened up about finding a home and leaving a legacy in the Pacific Northwest.


Last offseason, Seattle acquired outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu via free agency after four seasons in his hometown with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Carson, California native enters 2023 with a fresh deal, having signed a three-year extension Monday following a career-high 9.5-sack season. On and off the field, Nwosu has found a new home away from home in Seattle.

The University of Southern California alum's 9.5 sacks in 2022 matched his production over his final two seasons with the Chargers combined. Nwosu posted career-highs in tackles for loss (12.5), quarterback hits (26), forced fumbles (3), recoveries (2), and combined tackles (66). But the transition to more success on the field started from his arrival in Seattle. The family atmosphere in the Virginia Mason Athletic Center from his visit while testing the market set the tone for his extension a season later.

"Since day one," said Nwosu. "Since I walked in the building the energy, the culture, the way the coaches support you. Everybody has positive energy. Everyone is so friendly here, from the nutrition staff, to the kitchen upstairs, to the equipment staff. Everybody just makes it feels like home and I noticed that from day one."

When you watch the Seahawks film from their 9-8 2022 campaign, you can't help but notice Nwosu flying all over the field. It's not only because of his high motor - it's by design.

"I love a lot of things about this defense," said Nwosu. "You know we got a lot of young guys, a lot of good young guys coming back. We bolstered up the interior defensive line to help us out this year. We are making more of an emphasis on the run game and everybody is buying into the culture and the scheme. You got (Clint) Hurtt coming into another year getting everybody going. Just the energy, just the excitement, just the talent we got on this defense. It fits me because I am able to do what I naturally do which is fly around and make plays. It's basically like not having any handcuffs on. Just go out there and whatever you see and be the best you can. Pete (Carroll) does a lot and gives me a lot of freedom to be out there and be the player he knows I can be, which is a playmaker and I like that about this defense a lot and I hope to continue it this year. Not freelancing. Playing within the scheme of course, but you know taking my shots when I can here and there if I notice certain things, formations, looks and being able to shoot my shot."

In 2013, Seattle signed Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril via free agency - he'd go on to notch 34.5 sacks in five seasons. Nwosu isn't the first free agent to have a career resurgence under Coach Carroll, but that doesn't make the sixth-year linebacker's rise in Seattle any less special.

"The commitment to him is a really important statement for us," said Carroll. "He's the perfect Seahawk. He's hard-nosed, he's tough, he's smart, he's diligent, he does everything. He's physical, he's 268 (pounds) coming in. He's in great shape. Got a great attitude, you guys talk to him. You can see why we champion the guy. So, that's the kind of guy we want to reward, he deserved it. He had a fantastic season last year, we played the heck out of him last year on so many plays. We might be able to control that a little bit better, but we are just really excited."

After a career-year, the feelings of keeping Nwosu in Seattle long-term were mutual, making the process smoother than expected. Thus, preventing Nwosu from feeling rushed to make a deal happen.

"You know that is something a lot of guys think," said Nwosu. "I know there is a timeline going into it. You know you see things still going on even in training camp. I know it can take all the way up until the first game, so it was a long process and thankfully I was able to get it done before we start out here, so I can just focus all on ball. It was definitely something during the end of the season where my agency reached out to them. Hey you guys, Uchenna is coming off a pretty good year. What do you guys want to do? and they said they loved me here and we were able to figure something out and get something done that benefited both sides. So I'm happy to finally get that done."

The Seahawks family environment created a comfortability for Nwosu to have no desire to play out his initial contract in order to test free agency next spring.

"I want to be here," said Nwosu. "I don't want to have the possibility of having to go somewhere else. The culture here, the young team here, Pete, the connections of people I see all the time, it feels like a home here. It's not too far from L.A, two-and-a-half-hour flight, it's on the west coast, the weather is nice, and I just want to be here. It just makes sense for me to be here, so why would I want to chance going somewhere else, when I'm right at home being here."

Seattle's roster has undergone some changes through the offseason, adding some help to the defensive line (Dre'Mont Jones) while co-sack leader Darrell Taylor looks to capitalize on his 9.5 sack year. Nwosu discussed competing with Taylor for sacks and Jones' presence allowing him to wreak more havoc.

"It's always a friendly competition," said Nwosu. "Not even with Darrell Taylor but with the whole d-line. He eats, I eat. We all feed off each other. I want to see DT (Darrell Taylor) do good and the interior guys do good because it makes me better. It forces me to compete and step up my game. (Jones) does whatever he wants inside which will free me up coming off of him or just beating around the edge or just doing a lot of things, so I appreciate Dre and am happy to have him here."

Nwosu returns as a leader and veteran presence for a pass rush group with budding talent like linebacker Boye Mafe and defensive tackle Cameron Young. Seattle's confidence in Nwosu has helped him be more confident in helping those around him.

"When coaches build you up," said Nwosu. "Have confidence in you, and your teammates trust you most importantly. The number one thing is that your teammates have to look up to you. Having the confidence, being able to be here for another year and guys seeing and trusting what I do, raises my confidence up to lead more. It's definitely an opportunity."

Nwosu also sees the opportunity to improve a run defense that struggled in 2022.

"An emphasis on everybody buying in," said Nwosu. "We added some new pieces in the offseason as you guys know with (Jarran) Reed coming back, Dre'Mont in free agency, and Bobby (Wagner) coming back. You got guys with multiple years in the system, so that all ties into the run game. We're making a point from day one, that's the emphasis on the whole defense is not letting anybody run the ball."

Nwosu has bought into the Pacific-Northwest off the field as well, bringing his passion for philanthropy and community to Seattle. From working with the youth of the Seattle Boys and Girls Club, to feeling valued around the Virginia Mason Athletic Center - Nwosu has found a new nest. With a new cornerstone piece in place for the future, the Seahawks become more dangerous in the quest for their second championship.

Take a look back at some of the best photos of Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Nwosu from the 2022 season.

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