Bruce Irvin was one of the last players inside the Seahawks’ locker room Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina. He and fellow linebacker Bobby Wagner --one of “my brothers,” Irvin says -- were sitting at their lockers talking quietly. About an hour had passed since the season ended with the 31-24 loss to Carolina in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Irvin wasn’t necessarily saying his goodbye to Wagner. Or the Seahawks.
“Hopefully I’ll be back here,” Irvin told me at his locker in Charlotte. “They drafted me. They took the chance on me in the first round when no one else did.
“We are the draft class that changed the franchise.”
Irvin, the supposed risk Seattle took at 15th overall in the first round in the 2012 draft, just finished his fourth season with the Seahawks. He’s grown from a risky upbringing in the Atlanta area from which he has said many times he’s lucky he’s not dead or in jail; nine years ago he was in jail, in Georgia. A long, stopped and almost ended college journal ended at West Virginia. He entered the NFL as a rush end derided by many as a one-trick pony but blossomed with the Seahawks into an every-down linebacker who rushed quarterbacks and covered receivers.
Yes, Irvin takes great pride in being in Seattle’s 2012 draft class. He should. That year’s picks included him, Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner (second round), franchise quarterback Russell Wilson (third round), starting cornerback and nickel back Jeremy Lane (sixth round) and starting guard J.R. Sweezy (seventh round).
Irvin realizes he is six weeks from possibly becoming an unrestricted free agent. And he doesn’t sound all that thrilled with that prospect.
Monday, in the locker room back at team headquarters in Renton, Irvin said Schneider and Carroll asked him if he’d be willing to take perhaps less than market value to stay with the Seahawks. He earned $1,663,935 in base salary this season.
“Pete and John asked me that when I met with them (Monday),” Irvin said of a possible discount. “If it came to that, I would definitely come back. Three, four, five million? I would definitely come back.
“I’m established here. These are definitely my brothers. I honestly can’t even imagine myself playing with anybody else, being in a different meeting room, listening to different pregame speeches -- it’s crazy to me. I would definitely come back: It they matched or it was a little less, I would definitely come back to Seattle.
That’s opposite his anger and motivation from last May. Seattle general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll decided then not to pick up the 2016 option year on his rookie contract, one that would have paid him $7.8 million next year. That’s a mammoth sum for a man whose been jailed, and Irvin was ticked, saying this season he would play more motivated than ever.
The Seahawks’ decision means Irvin is now a potential free agent -- unless the team decides between now and March 9 to re-sign the guy with whom they took that supposed risk four years ago.
Former agent Joel Corry, now with cbssports.com, posted this on Monday as a potential factor in the Seahawks’ talks with Irvin:
Perhaps we are about to find out how much Irvin or his agent dictate his free-agency issues.