After a year away, Luke Willson is back where he spent the first five seasons of his NFL career.
The Seahawks signed Willson on Wednesday, bringing back not just a productive tight end, but a fan favorite who won Seattle over with his fun-loving personality. The Seahawks had an opening on their roster, and at tight end, after agreeing to trade Nick Vannett to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
A fifth-round pick out of Rice in 2013, Willson appeared in 72 games over five seasons with the Seahawks, catching 89 passes for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was also on the receiving end of the most significant 2-point conversion in franchise history, a catch late in the 2014 NFC Championship game that proved crucial in an overtime win over the Packers.
Willson signed with Detroit as a free agent last year, giving him a chance to play just across the border from his hometown of Windsor, Ontario. He appeared in 14 games for the Lions last season, starting eight with 13 catches for 87 yards. Willson spent training camp and the preseason with Oakland this year before being released.
From helping launch the “Techno Thursday” movement in 2017 to his goofy personality in interviews to the tendency to occasionally spout conspiracy theories in the locker room—he has some thoughts on the moon landing—Willson became beloved by Seahawks fans for who he was as much as for what he did on the field.
In addition the moves made with Vannett and Willson Wednesday, the Seahawks also added linebacker Malik Carney to the practice squad. Carney, an undrafted rookie out of North Carolina, initially signed with the Lions after the draft, and appeared in four preseason games with Detroit, recording eight tackles. The Seahawks had an open spot on their practice squad after releasing linebacker Jachai Polite earlier this week.