As Bruce Irvin watched his former team knock off the Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs in January, the former first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks was wishing he was back a part of the team that drafted him.
Irvin was hoping he’d get the chance to return to Seattle in free agency and got his wish, reaching a one-year deal with the team on the first full day of free agency in March. While it took until March to get the chance to re-join the Seahawks, it had been on Irvin’s mind for months already.
“After the Philly game, actually, I sent Bobby (Wagner) a text while they were on the plane saying, ‘I wish I was on that plane with you all. I just wanted to come back,” Irvin told reporters on Tuesday.
Irvin returns to Seattle coming off a season with 8.5 sacks for the Carolina Panthers. The Seahawks desperately need to improve their pass rush and Irvin’s output last season more than doubled that of Seattle’s sack leader Rasheem Green (4.0) in 2019. Only the Miami Dolphins had fewer sacks as a team that the Seahawks did last season.
Irvin hopes he can help the team turn around their fortunes.
“We got a young group and we got to work,” Irvin said. “I couldn’t predict how many sacks we’re going to get right now, but I think we’ve got a young, talented group and I’m going to work to lead these boys. … I just hope they’re ready to work.”
Irvin said he’s going to return to the same role he had during his previous stop in Seattle. After being a pure defensive end his rookie season, the Seahawks made Irvin a strong-side linebacker in their 4-3 scheme. He would play linebacker on early downs and then move into the pass rush groupings in passing situations alongside Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.
From head coach Pete Carroll to defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and fellow linebacker Wagner and K.J. Wright, Irvin is comfortable in Seattle. He knows what to expect from the franchise and is glad to reunite with the team that gave him a chance as a first-round pick in 2012.
“Very refreshing knowing that I’m going to a situation that I know that they run it very professional, they take good care of their players,” Irvin said. “You’re going to always work. You’re always going to compete. You’re always going to be competitive in every game you step in. For me at this stage of my career is going to the best situation and I felt like going back home – with Seattle I consider it my football home at least – that was the best thing that could happen to me, especially in year nine. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”