When Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons sustained an ACL and meniscus injury that landed him on the injured reserve, the door opened for one player to get a second chance to play in the NFL playoffs. However, nobody knew that the door had swung opened this wide. The Seattle Times reported on Tuesday the Seahawks signed defensive end Patrick Chukwurah, who has not played in the NFL since 2007. Chuckwurah has not played in the UFL since 2010 when he played for the Florida Tuskers.
Chukwurah, 33, will most likely play a limited role as a pass rushing, because he spent most of his career as a sack specialist and lead the UFL in sacks his last two seasons. Chukwurah was not technically singed off of the couch since he works as a personal trainer and has only five percent body fat. But on the flip side of the coin, remember that the leading rushers Chukwurah had to tackle in his last season in the NFL were LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson (rookie), Brian Westbrook, Willie Parker, and Jamaal Lewis. If those names sound old from just five years ago it is because they are, players age quickly in the NFL.
When injuries occur late in the season, retired players with specific skills like pass rushing or being a good route runner get a rare second chance to use that skill. Chuckwurah has a specific skill in pass rushing that is hard to come by. While Clemons proves difficult to replace, the Seahawks obviously plan to replace him with a committee of players including the pass rushing ability of Chukwurah.
Chukwurah, may not play at all for the Seahawks. He may play but do so poorly. He may get injured in practice before Sunday even gets here. One thing is for certain, if Chukwurah does get to play, he should have the support of every retired football player out there. It does not matter if your last snap was in high school, college, or the Super Bowl, every person who is out of the game dreams of hearing the phone ring just one more time asking you to suit up. For the vast majority, the phone call never comes, but for Chukwurah it came five years after his exit from the league. Chukwurah’s success in the coming weeks could inspire hope throughout the ranks of players working hard for an illusive comeback. Let us hope that Chukwurah still has those intangibles and veteran know how that separates a sack from a knock down from a hurried throw, so he can have one more glorious moment under the lights that we all wish was our own. From a former middle linebacker who only learned how to hit hard after hanging up his cleats and never got a second chance to prove what he could do, good luck Patrick.