In putting together a roster, a team can only hope to put players in position to succeed when injury strikes. In Week 17, Seahawks tight end Tyler Mabry was called up from the practice squad after Will Dissly was placed on the IR. After two years of waiting for the opportunity, the Maryland alum turned his first NFL catch into a crucial score to help keep Seattle's playoff hopes alive.
Seattle's season has been filled with feel-good stories of players climbing the depth chart and finding success. Mabry was one of two tight ends to score in Sunday's 23-6 win over the New York Jets. The other is Stanford alum Colby Parkinson, who went through a mental and physical transformation over the summer that’s contributed greatly to his progression. This week's feel-good story is Mabry, the team's undrafted practice squad pickup who appeared in six games, playing 22 career offensive snaps prior to Sunday.
At the start of the second quarter with Seattle deep in the redzone, quarterback Geno Smith threw a dart to Mabry draped by two defenders. Falling in the endzone, Mabry was showered by teammates from both sides of the ball as he celebrated in front of home fans with a Tiktok dance.
Over the last two seasons, Mabry has shuffled from the practice squad to the active roster five times. Coach Pete Carroll discussed Mabry's moment and the response from his teammates.
"The coolest thing about that was the way the guys reacted," said Carroll. "He's been here for a long time and been waiting for an opportunity like that, to get in the end zone. The guys were crazy about it, on the field, one, and in the locker room, two. Just fired up for him. They were fired up for Cade Johnson. Got his first chance to get some playtime going into the game, you know, coming off the practice squad. So whenever those guys get a chance. What was remarkable about it was how much they loved Tyler. You could tell the way they responded. It was really cool."
In lieu of Smith’s historic season, Mabry privately asked his quarterback for advice earlier in the year on shining when the opportunity presented itself. After the game, Smith gloated about Mabry's professionalism and patience paying off.
"That was awesome," said Smith. "I remember Tyler asking me early in the season, what kept you going? We were in the sauna and I was talking to him about 'You've got to keep working. You never know. You never know'. Boom, here it is. Gets the shot, scores a touchdown first catch. He's a guy who has worked his butt off and stayed in it. He's the consummate professional, great teammate, and just happy to see him get that done today."
Exhibiting the grit Coach Carroll desires on special teams and as a blocking tight end likely helped Mabry get a chance to shine in a must-win game. Grinning at his locker after the game, Mabry discussed with the local media his thought process throughout the year leading up to the moment.
"I'm blessed and I'm thankful," said Mabry. "I said 'I'm gonna stay ready if I get elevated again, no matter what happens I'm gonna embrace my role.'"
With one game remaining in the playoff push, Seattle will rely on all able bodies to try to earn another crucial win at home against the Los Angeles Rams. After making the most of his touchdown-scoring chance, Mabry will hope to get another opportunity in Week 18.
Check out the best sights from the sidelines and locker room following a big 23-6 win over the New York Jets at Lumen Field on January 1, 2023.