J’Marcus Webb had a big week. The Seattle Seahawks sudden starting right guard helped let the public in on the severity of Germain Ifedi’s ankle sprain late Wednesday when he posted an Instagram caption including the words “Dreamland! Guard! Tackle!” with the awkward hashtags #nfllife and #germainifedi.
Thursday morning Webb added another post declaring, “I wake up a #seahawk!” and “#guard”. The second post, which was just a screen shot of his wakeup time, may have been timed a little too close to a reporter’s confirmation of Ifedi’s injury. Webb later deleted it, or was told to delete it, possibly to avoid the appearance of celebrating a teammate’s misfortune.
For Webb, whose profile emphasizes he’s “flying SINGLE” but who appears often shy and soft spoken in his Instagram videos, many of which are recorded by a companion or manager standing by, the awkward handling of the posts are not the first instance of sharing something clumsily on social media. August 30, for example, Webb was attempting to sign a “get well” card for a sick friend, printed with a portrait of himself and Nick Cannon from an anti-violence rally Webb marched in July 8 in Chicago (Webb was drafted by the Bears in 2010):
When the woman filming sets up the scene by asking Webb, lying shirtless on his bed, to explain the card, Webb suddenly whispers “Shiittttt” and mumbles about accidentally spilling ink over his Calvin Klein bedspread. The moment is candid and his intention with the card admirable, but it’s bewildering that they posted this take instead of just shooting a new version.
Not everything Webb posts makes you wince, of course. Some of it approaches art, like the nearly collagist jump cuts in the manner of like Harmony Korine or Damon Russell that add powerful documentary gravitas to the visuals of marching feet in this short film from the above-mentioned rally:
And some of it really is art:
“Get me there!!” Webb sketches too. That’s cool.
Then there’s this treasure from six weeks ago, where Webb, while listening to Mothica in the dark, rolls up his gel mattress in preparation for Seahawks training camp:
Note the comment from @justinbritt68: “No one cares [staring eyes emoji]”.
Britt later adds another comment with a Vulcan salute and nerd-face emoji signaling he’s just teasing Webb. It would be awkward indeed now that these guys line up next to each other on Sundays if they were Instagram beefing. (By the way, if you ever look up Justin Britt’s social media accounts, DO NOT by mistake dive into the terribly depressing divorced dad Justin Britt Twitter that trails off last October. Just don’t. We tend to imagine Britt as perhaps miserable because he struggled at guard and tackle, but he’s also a rich, rich NFL player who probably enjoys a great life and his family seems very happy. It’s not him. I like to think the other guy stopped exclusively subtweeting his ex after two years because they got back together too. Honestly—don’t look it up.)
Don’t be fooled either by the haunted eyes of his self-portrait or the sometimes-tedious photos: J’Marcus Webb also has a wonderful, wealthy life. Like any professional athlete, most of his Instagram chronicles him just lounging in luxury, riding in the backs of cars or lifting weights. And in that context it’s actually rather endearing how Webb’s Ifedi posts, however oddly worded or poorly timed, reveal his genuine excitement to be getting another chance to start in the NFL, even if just for a few games. This is a guy who could spend his time lying shirtless and #spoiled after practice while soaking up checks after losing his job at right tackle, but it’s instead kind of sweet and adorable the way he couldn’t contain his surprise at his new opportunity.
As for Ifedi, I twisted my ankle pretty bad about two months ago and the high ligament remains a bit tender, but I “played through it” the night it happened (hi Hope) and it only cost me one day of work and then I was moving normally again within a week. My advice to Germain? Ride a bicycle to loosen the joint without impact.
Of course I don’t have to put 311 pounds of weight on that bum ankle nor try to counterbalance other 300-pound guys while dodging falling bodies like Ifedi does, so here’s wishing for both a similarly swift recovery and also no desperate need while the Seahawks face challenges from interior All-Pros two of the next three weeks in the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Jets. But though the journeyman Webb is no longer fancied by the league as a finesse edge blocker in pass protection, and even after training almost the whole preseason at tackle, he may not offer such a downgrade at guard against the Miami Dolphins’ 3- and 1-techniques. His own 330-pound frame can move behemoths like Ndamukong Suh on the interior, where he played adequately in Oakland last year, so long as he gets his long legs bent enough to gain leverage and drive forward.
Remember, Suh also has to look across the line of scrimmage at those haunted eyes sunken in dark lines of ink in Webb’s drawings. I just hope Webb doesn’t play as clumsy as he ’grams.