Cornerback Brandon Browner and safety Josh Pinkard overcame long odds to get here.
They can no longer be considered longshots to make Seattle’s roster, though. And that is truly remarkable, considering how far these two have come.
Browner spent the past four seasons in the Canadian Football League while Pinkard spent most of 2010 coming back from the third torn knee ligament he suffered while at USC.
“It has been long, you know,” Pinkard said, “but it’s always about the journey, they say.”
And by that criteria, Browner might have everyone on Seattle’s roster trumped after playing the last four years for the Calgary Stampeders. In the CFL, the field is longer, the end zone is 10 yards deeper and there are a dozen players on the field for each team.
“I was up there for four years, trying to get back every single season,” Browner said.
They are two of Seattle’s training-camp discoveries that followed the NFL’s unprecedented offseason. Browner is the 6-foot-4 cornerback who towers over many receivers while Pinkard is the safety with a cornerback’s ball skills.
Neither arrived with all that much in the way of expectations, but halfway through Seattle’s exhibition schedule they look very capable of helping a secondary that has been one of the Seahawks’ primary concerns. Seattle has ranked No. 27 or worse in the NFL in pass yards allowed the past three seasons.
There were no sweeping changes to the defensive backfield this offseason. At least not like what happened with the offense. Seattle drafted two cornerbacks and one safety, but all were chosen in the fifth round or later. The Seahawks re-signed cornerback Kelly Jennings and opted not to bring back starting strong safety Lawyer Milloy, who ranked fourth on the team with 61 solo tackles and also tallied four sacks.
The Seahawks’ plan was to accumulate a pile of interesting prospects with special traits and see who emerged from the pile, and so far Browner and Pinkard have made the most of that chance.
Pinkard forced Minnesota’s fourth-quarter fumble in Saturday’s exhibition game, knocking the ball through the back of the end zone for the turnover that saved Seattle’s chance at a comeback. That was a glimpse of a playmaking trait that is difficult to describe and impossible to fake.
“He has a knack for the ball,” Seattle secondary coach Kris Richard said.