The Seahawks signed linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe on Thursday, adding a player who should contribute on special teams while also potentially competing for a starting job at linebacker.
Iyiegbuniwe, a 2018 fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky who spent the past four years with the Bears, has played almost exclusively on special teams so far in his career, recording 34 tackles and a forced fumble, but he's looking to compete for a bigger role in Seattle, and he signed with Seattle in part for the opportunity to do that.
"That was a big thing, the fit, competing," he said. "I want to be a starter, I want to be a dominant player, so the opportunity is one thing I'm excited about. It's a perfect opening and I want to take advantage."
Iyiegbuniwe described himself as a player who is "hungry," adding, "I want to be great. I think my football IQ (is a strength)—learning defenses, understanding it, teaching it. Then my athletic ability, I think I can do a lot of things well—cover, blitz, run game. I'm excited to show that off. I made a name on special teams, and that's part of the reason I'm here, but obviously I have big goals for myself individually, and I know what it's going to take to get there. Just getting my foot in the door is a big thing."
In addition to an opportunity to compete at linebacker, Iyiegbuniwe also cited the presence of associate head coach-defense Sean Desai as a big factor in signing with the Seahawks. Desai, who last year was Chicago's defensive coordinator, was in Chicago for all four of Iyiegbuniwe's seasons there.
"Honestly, the fit was the biggest thing for me," Iyiegbuniwe said. "Where I'm at in my career, where the team is at, and the need for my position, everything just kind of lined up. Sean Desai called, and we made it happen. He was huge for me. He looked out for me and said good things about me, and that's why Pete (Carroll) and everybody took a chance on me."
Check out photos of Seahawks linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe from his first four seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, including his performance at the 2018 NFL Combine.