The Seahawks have released QB Josh Portis, one day after reports surfaced that he was arrested and charged with DUI earlier this month. Portis had been facing an uphill battle for a roster spot with the Seahawks' acquisitions of Brady Quinn and Jerrod Johnson, but reports of his play out of training camp yesterday were overwhelmingly positive. Nonetheless, Seattle evidently decided the distraction wasn't worth it.
Portis originally made the Hawks' 53-man roster in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Cal Pennsylvania, but started out on the Practice Squad last year before being released from that mid-way through the year. We had never really heard why, but according to Dave "Softy" Mahler's radio show on Monday, Portis was abruptly released at that time because he had missed the team bus from the hotel to the stadium on the Miami trip in Week 12. He signed with the Toronto Argonauts after his release, but then he was re-signed by the Hawks at the beginning of April. I would presume, noting these events, that there was some sort of one-strike-you're-out understanding along with the decision to bring him back, but that's just my speculation.
Seattle now has three quarterbacks on their roster - Russell Wilson, Brady Quinn, and Jerrod Johnson.
In other news, the Seahawks also recently re-signed former pro basketball player and now TE Darren Fells, after an apparently successful rookie mini-camp tryout. Fells was originally signed off the street earlier in the year, was released prior to the mini-camp, and now re-earns a roster spot. With Anthony McCoy's ankle injury from yesterday, he should probably get some extra snaps in OTAs if McCoy misses any time.
Fells is a big human being, as seen below at the Rookie Camp next to RB Peter Nguyen and the not-small human being (6'3, 315 pound) Alvin Bailey.
Former Bellevue star Peter Nguyen at Seahawks Rookie mini-camp today twitter.com/ChrisEgan5/sta...— Chris Egan King-5 TV (@ChrisEgan5) May 12, 2013
At 6'7, 280 pounds, Fells presents as a big target up the seam and if he can learn to catch and block, might just be a diamond in the rough. For what it's worth, KJR's Curtis Crabtree came away with a good impression of the big pass-catcher:
Also, just a personal impression. Darren Fells is huge and runs well for a guy his size. Obviously raw but stands out of the crowd.— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) May 10, 2013
Fells conversion to TE reminds me of another conversion project we monitored last year - that of Jets TE Hayden Smith, the former Rugby player turned tight end. Smith was a project, like Fells, but apparently made big progressions in practice during the season. As then-GM Mike Tannenbaum noted recently, "We could not cover this guy in practice. It would drive Rex (Ryan) up a wall. We could not cover this guy. He got better and better, wound up dressing for five games, and actually caught a pass against the Chargers."
Fells was a big time high school tight end and that gives him a leg up on Smith in terms of experience, but I'd approach any interest in Fells from a longer-term project point of view. Anything could happen, obviously, but I'd expect he'll be a practice squad type early (if anything) and try and work his way onto the field down the line, perhaps year two. We shall see, but it's always fun to track these types of things.
I just like Fells because he's a giant, and Russell Wilson isn't afraid to throw up a jump ball. If he can learn some of the nuances of playing the position, it will be interesting.
Also: LS Adam Steiner was released to open up a spot for Fells and newly signed RB Christine Michael. I believe there's now one open spot with Portis gone, but we'll see if Seattle fills it with a draft pick or brings in another QB.