Germain Ifedi, the Seattle Seahawks first-round pick in the 2016 draft, and quite possibly their starting right guard this season, seems like a pretty nice guy when you talk to him. On the field, however, the Texas A&M product clearly has an edge to him, which so long as things don't get out of hand, can be a big asset for Ifedi and the Seahawks.
"He's just a tough football player," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I love the way he's approaching the game. Gauging what he needs to do and what he can and can't do, that's all we're figuring out right now. I don't want him to change anything. I want him to keep battling and keep pushing, and I want him to match the passion that he sees out here from the guys across from him. I think he's the real thing in terms of being tough and physical and caring and all of that. It's going to be a bit before he can put his football together, but it's going to happen, and I want him to be just the guy that he is—he's hard, tough, cares a bunch."
Ifedi has riled up at least a few of Seattle's defensive linemen since the pads came on, particularly fellow Texas A&M product Michael Bennett, but he doesn't plan on changing anything, even as a rookie who is mixing it up with veteran defensive players.
"We're not here to back down, this offensive line isn't going to back down from any challenge, but don't let it take you outside your game," Ifedi said when asked what offensive line coach Tom Cable has told him. "Still play your game, still do your assignment, even if something like that happens move on to the next play, and play the next play like it didn't happen, because that's what's going to happen on the field."
"You can't be a nice guy on the field or you won't be on the field very long."
And more significant than any post-whistle extracurricular activity going on between the offensive and defensive linemen these past couple of days is the valuable experience Ifedi is gaining going up against Seattle's defensive line.
"It's really good for him to get tested by all those guys," Cable said. "Whether it's (Ahtyba) Rubin doing it—you know Rubin is a fantastic football player, I think one of the really true, best defensive tackles in this game. Every snap that Germain Ifedi gets against him, that's realistic. That's what it's really going to be like, so he goes against who he goes against, they're all good for him."
Ifedi also makes it clear that anything going on between him and Bennett doesn't extend beyond the field. Ifedi noted that Bennett has even helped him adjust to the NFL by giving him tips on how to handle the business side of the game and on the importance of nutrition.
"Mike's a great guy," Ifedi said. "He's out there helping us compete, helping me learn to be the player I want to be. To have a guy like that out here, it's invaluable… He knows I won't back down, the team knows I won't back down, that's why they drafted me. We're just out there competing, were trying to make each other better, and he's trying to make me the best player I can be. Off the field he's been a great mentor to me, we have a great relationship. But on the field he knows he's going to give it his all to make me the best player I can be."
"Off the field he'll put his arm around you, help you with whatever you need. He's that kind of guy, that kind of leader, that kind of veteran."
Check out the best photos from the Seattle Seahawks fifth training camp practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.