Quinton Dunbar only started easing his into practice this week, but even limited reps felt special for the Seahawks' cornerback after a very trying offseason.
"It was everything," Dunbar said Friday. "I had a long few months, man. Just going through the situation I was going through, it was hard for me to do anything. So just getting back to training and running and trying to get back, it was everything to me."
Dunbar, who was acquired in a trade with Washington earlier in the offseason, was arrested in May, along with New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker, in connection with an armed robbery in Florida. But while Baker was eventually charged, Dunbar was not, clearing him to join the Seahawks, though he got a late start to camp.
Dunbar couldn't discuss details of what led to his arrest, as the case is ongoing, but said, "The truth will eventually come out… My name is cleared, and that's all that matters."
Dunbar said his legal scare was eye-opening—"When you face armed robbery, that carries life in Florida, so that's self-explanatory"—and taught him lessons about who he associates with.
"Growing up where I come from, it wasn't nice," he said. "I've got to learn to protect my energy and protect my space. You can't save or be around everybody, try to make everybody happy. You got to understand who you are and what you work hard for. And you've got to protect that, because everybody doesn't have great intentions."
Dunbar knows people might make judgments off what they hear about him, but he also believes his character speaks for itself.
"I had never been to jail, never been in trouble, never encountered the police for doing anything illegal," he said. "Now all of a sudden, when I make it this far, with everything I grew up wanting, I just put it out there on the line for something silly like that. People are going to believe what they want, but I know who I am and what I stand for, that's all that matters to me."
Dunbar also pointed to the way his new teammates have been supportive, not just since he joined the team last week, but throughout a challenging couple of months.
"These guys are amazing," he said. "They welcomed me with open arms, but they've been doing that throughout this whole few months. I had guys reaching out to me, Wags (Bobby Wagner), (Shaquill) Griffin, there's a bunch of guys just letting me know that they're praying for me, (saying) hang in there. So I didn't expect anything but these guys being the same way that they've been treating me."
After Dunbar was cleared, he came off of the commissioner's exempt list just as training camp was getting started, which meant he couldn't practice right away, instead having to go through the required COVID-19 testing before taking a physical late last week. Now he's trying to play catchup while also adjusting to a new team and a new defense.
"Football is a game of reps, mentally, physically," he said. "And not having OTAs and those things and then to come in here late and being in a new defense, it's not like going out there and get no reps when you understand the defense from a fast-paced standpoint, and being out there knowing what you can do and what you can't do. So I got a long way to go."
As Dunbar catches up, he'll compete with Tre Flowers for the job at right cornerback—Flowers has started there the past two seasons—and while he comes to Seattle with an impressive resume, Dunbar isn't assuming anything will be given to him, especially not based on what he's seen from his teammates so far.
"Watching Tre Flowers out there competing, making plays, and Shaquill (Griffin) making plays, I'm not here to step on nobody's toes," Dunbar said. "I've played some good ball the last few years, and I just want to come in and help how I can help. I don't have an ego, I'm not coming in trying to flex or nothing like that. I just want to win, that's all that matters to me. Everything else will take care of itself."
Photos from the 8th practice of Seahawks 2020 Training Camp, held on Friday, August 21 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Seahawks Training Camp is presented by Safeway.