For a defensive back who’s yet to intercept or even break up a pass in 2017, Jeremy Lane is having one hell of a season.
With an emphasis on the hell.
After earning a starting job in training camp, Lane didn’t make it through the first quarter of the Seahawks opener at Green Bay. He got tangled up with Packers receiver Davante Adams, some shoving ensued, but it was Lane who got the boot.
Three weeks later, Lane suffered a first-quarter groin injury against the Colts. While he was sidelined, rookie replacement Shaquill Griffin played well enough to supplant the veteran on the depth chart.
Angry about losing his starting job due to injury, Lane took his employers to task on Twitter – rarely an inspired idea for somebody in that situation – while managing to get healthy enough to see action last week against Houston.
Another Sunday, another injury – this time it was a bruised thigh that limited his participation to six snaps – and when the Seahawks learned the Texans were willing to assume the $2.1 million remaining on Lane’s 2017 contract, he was made part of the Monday trade that brought offensive tackle Duane Brown to Seattle.
The inclusion of an often-injured cornerback in the deal appeared as win-win both for Seattle, which stood to get some salary-cap relief, and for Lane, whose career seemed ready for a restart in a different town.
But as Lee Corso likes to say: Not so fast, my friend.
Lane failed his physical exam with the Texans, requiring Hawks general manager John Schneider to add another draft choice in the exchange. It also forced Schneider to decide between bringing Lane back or putting him on waivers, risking the chance the Hawks will be left with a $2.1 million tab if he’s unclaimed.
Schneider chose diplomacy over the alternative, which meant telling Lane goodbye for the second time since Monday. It’s a sensible move steeped in frugality: The Hawks are responsible for the Lane’s salary, so why not put it to use?
Well, here’s why: Lane was not the happiest of campers anyway. Something tells me he’ll be especially unhappy upon his returning to the team that just traded him.
Lane, en route from Houston to Seattle, wasn’t at the Hawks training complex Wednesday.
“It’ll be definitely different,” safety Bradley McDougald said. “I’m a friend of Jeremy Lane’s, so I’m more than eager to have him come back. I feel like one of my brothers is back.
“Jeremy might be at a weird stage, but I feel like it’s our job, as a team, to put our arms back around him and bring him back, because he’s one of ours.”
Cornerback Richard Sherman, who knows his once and future teammate was well as anybody in the Hawks locker room – they’ve been playing in the same defensive backfield since Lane was a rookie in 2012 – trusts that common sense will prevail.
“At the end of the day, you know how much this is a business, and he knows that,” said Sherman. “He’s always been the consummate professional about everything. I think he’ll approach this the same way.
“He knows his teammates and coaches didn’t have much say-so in this. It was basically the front office guys, and they don’t see him much.”
While McDougald and Sherman share Pete Carroll’s optimism that the potentially awkward reunion won’t devolve into a soap opera, Lane’s social media messages suggest a group effort might be necessary to keep things at a room temperature.
“It’ll end up,” assured Sherman, “being a blessing in disguise.”
Approaching the midway point of a season that began with an ejection and has been distinguished by two rejections, Jeremy Lane should welcome any kind of blessing.