RENTON, Wash. – After recovering from an ankle injury that prematurely ended his 2012 season, linebacker O’Brien Schofield reported early for training camp with the Arizona Cardinals looking to get a jump-start on his fourth year with the team.
Instead, the Cardinals informed him he was being released to make room for newly signed veteran John Abraham. Now Schofield finds himself playing for a division rival with Super Bowl aspirations.
Despite some sour feelings over his release, Schofield is excited for a new start with the Seattle Seahawks.
“Honestly, I didn’t like the way that I got let go, but at the same time I really appreciate the opportunity; it was definitely a blessing,” Schofield said. “Now I’m able to start a different part of my life with the Seattle Seahawks, and I’m ready to go.”
Schofield had worked his way into a starting role with the Cardinals and had recorded four sacks in nine games before injuring his ankle a season ago. Under new head coach Bruce Arians, the Cardinals no longer saw Schofield as a fit for their plans on defense. As Schofield was getting ready to go through the team’s conditioning test, he was pulled off the practice field and told he was being let go.
The Seahawks claimed him the following day.
“When you do your work and put stuff on film, you’re always auditioning for 31 other teams. You never know when that time comes when a team doesn’t need your services anymore and someone else can use you,” Schofield said. “I’m still grateful to the Cardinals that they gave me the opportunity from the get-go and now I’m just ready to start fresh and compete with these guys and work to win a championship.”
Head coach Pete Carroll said Schofield was a player they liked since he was coming out of Wisconsin in 2010. Now that Schofield was suddenly available, Carroll jumped at the chance to bring in a player he had wanted in the first place.
“He’s quick and strong enough to be physical when he needs to be,” Carroll said. “He’s got a really good sense. He’s just a natural outside backer, 6-2, 250-something pounds. We are very fortunate to get him.”
Schofield serves as added insurance for the Seahawks’ pass rush. Schofield was already working with the first-team defense and nickel defenses in his third practice Thursday at strongside linebacker. He will also get some looks at Seattle’s LEO defensive end position.
“I am so impressed. He looks the part. He walks like a linebacker, talks like a linebacker.” linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said. “… He’s made a fantastic first impression.”