The Seahawks made a practice squad roster move before the start of Friday's practice at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, signing 2016 preseason standout rookie running back Troymaine Pope. To make room on Seattle's 10-man practice squad, running back George Farmer was released.
Pope, who originally signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Jacksonville State after the start of training camp this past summer, was waived before the beginning of the regular season on the team's roster cutdown to 53 players. He played in all four of Seattle's exhibition games, carrying 24 times for 162 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per touch and scoring two touchdowns, including an 86-yard rushing effort in the Seahawks' second preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings and adding 52 more yards on the ground in Seattle's final preseason matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
Pope said the Seahawks hoped to add him to the practice squad after his release, but he was claimed by the Jets, who added him to their 53-man active roster. Pope saw action in one game this season for New York, rushing one time for one yard. He was waived earlier this week, which led to his return to the Pacific Northwest.
"I was just like, 'I know where I'm going, I'm coming back to Seattle' because I'm more familiar with the atmosphere, the players, and the playbook," the 5-foot-8, 205-pound Pope told reporters on Friday. "I'd just hate to go to a new situation, and this is where I wanted to be, where I'm comfortable at, where I've got friends and brothers in the backfield I could trust."
Pope said he "didn't know what to think" when he was initially released by the Seahawks this past September. At the time, he said he "really just wanted to get the money" so that he could take care of his 3-year-old daughter, Cassidy.
"Even when I was getting recruited I wasn't always the standout guy, flashy," Pope said of how he felt following his release after putting together an impressive preseason. "I always made plays, but at the end of the day there was always somebody who was ahead of me, or 'I'm going to choose him instead of him.' And it's like I'm so used to it I was kind of numb to the situation.
"But I didn't want to leave here. I was kind of torn between making money and this is where I want to be."
Pope became a fan-favorite during his short stint with the Seahawks, so much so that he said 12s flooded his social media accounts with messages of support, noting "they're just going crazy right now."
"They just really showed love, like 'I wish you were still here,'" Pope said of the Seattle fanbase. "I had a couple fans DM me like 'I can't wait until you come back.' Everybody was kind of praying for this situation. This is God working. I'm here for a reason."
This time around while on the practice squad, Pope said the Seahawks "wanted me to come here and be more familiar with the playbook. That's about it."
"My focus needs to be more on protections and really understanding the game more from like a veteran point," he said. "Either in protection, I've got to know everything the quarterback has to know and really just learning more, becoming a better football player. I feel like from when I've been around different places the more you know mentally the better you'll be."
The Seahawks' 10-man practice squad now consists of Pope, free safety Pierre Desir, defensive tackle Justin Hamilton, defensive end Tylor Harris, wide receiver Kenny Lawler, tight end Marcus Lucas, offensive tackle Robert Myers, linebacker Kache Palacio, guard/center Will Pericak, and wide receiver Kasen Williams.