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The Seahawks are going to the playoffs

Well. Kinda.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals
still remembers how to tackle kittle
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations to the playoffing Seattle Seahawks, all 11 of them, all distinguished alumni of the program. All dear to our hearts, to some degree. And all still playing! Except one, because of late-breaking news.

With the actual Seahawks sitting at home for the first time since 2017, former members of the team have generously scattered across the league to perpetuate their postseason streak. Few are stars, most are role players, some are on the injury report, one is in limbo of sorts, but all of them are away from the proverbial couch.

AFC side

Tre Flowers, Bengals

Flowers’ best game since the move across conferences came in the Bengals’ 41-17 thrashing of the Ravens, in which he limited Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews to 48 yards on three receptions. He’s kept the Cincy coaches in his corner (sorry/not sorry for the pun). His playing time has been somewhat scarce but he started Week 18. Here’s a guy who appears to have benefited as much from the change of scenery as the Seahawks did by moving on to D.J. Reed and Sidney Jones on the outside. Love a good win-win.

PFF grade: 53.0

Ahkello Witherspoon, Steelers

Is it a stretch to call him an ex-Seahawk? Not when his official page at pro-football-reference has him wearing a Seattle jersey. Anyway, he leads the Steelers with three picks and has been holding down one side of their defense since Week 13. So some sort of Seattle ballhawkiness of old must have rubbed off on him.

(Major obstacle here is obviously rooting for the Steelers.)

PFF grade: 75.9

Frank Clark, Josh Gordon and Jarran Reed, all Chiefs

Clark’s sacks, tackles, and tackles for loss have fallen every year in Kansas City, down to 4.5/22/4 this year, so he’s no longer appointment viewing, or worth his contract. There’s an uncertain future ahead of him that could brighten with a big postseason.

Gordon has 32 yards receiving on 16 targets; it’s safe to say he never connected with Patrick Mahomes the way he did with Russell Wilson. But at least he’s playing football, you know?

Reed still knows how to weave his way around offensive linemen, all the way to 12 QB hits and two forced fumbles as a regular part of the Chiefs’ d-line rotation.

I mean, if you’re gonna adopt an AFC team based on former Seahawks alone, it might as well be the Chiefs? No, it might as well not be. Because of the silver and black factor.

K.J. Wright, Quinton Jefferson and Jordan Simmons, all Raiders

Forget their cowardly overtime field goal against the Chargers that let the dirty Steelers into the playoffs. Vegas has guys you can root for without reservation. Or at least “guy.” What can I say about K.J. Wright that hasn’t already appeared on a screen somewhere? You could call him Mr. Seahawk, for the way he carried himself, showed up on the field, lasted a decade, and inspired others.

Wright is getting in on about 40-50 percent of the Raiders’ snaps so he’s more of a third linebacker type at this stage in his career. I’m going to theorize that his steady leadership helped right the Raiders’ course in a season of tumult. I can’t prove it’s true, but you can’t disprove it. Stalemate.

The Seahawks didn’t miss Jefferson at all in 2021 with Poona Ford, Al Woods and Bryan Mone up front. But the Raiders would maybe miss his presence. An interior lineman with 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles is exactly the kind of player who could be an X-factor in a deep playoff run. Look for him to shine this weekend since he had a sack and a tackle for loss the last time Las Vegas met Cincinnati.

Simmons got into all of five games for a grand total of 31 snaps. Not likely to impact the result one way or another unless he’s pressed into playing time via injury.

NFC side

Malik Turner, Cowboys

Turner has found the end zone thrice this year for Dallas, or in other words, three times as often as in his entire Seattle tenure from 2018-19. Evidence exists, even.

A third of Turner’s playing time has come in three blowout victories so he’s filling the same kind of WR4 role he did here. So maybe that means he gets to score against the 49ers this weekend. In a blowout victory. Because we don’t like the Niners. Just making sure everyone understands what’s happening in this paragraph.

Pierre Desir, Buccaneers

In his two real starts — the two occasions he played more than half the defensive snaps — Desir had an interception in each! (Or as many as Flowers, Reed, Jones and Tre Brown combined for all year.)

PFF grade: a cool 69.8

Richard Sherman, Buccaneers

Best for last, right? Well, about that. Sherman was already doubtful to play this weekend with an Achilles issue, and then on Tuesday night, he was placed on IR for a second time, ending his season. He tweeted out an announcement that some took to signify retirement, but I disagree.

Sherman’ll be more clear when it’s time to hang ‘em up for good. Sounds more like he’s excited to help his bro Tom Brady win another ring.

Tampa Bay will have travel to Lambeau Field if they and the Packers reach the NFCCG, as seems likely. Maybe Sherman can intimidate Aaron Rodgers from the sideline.

Richard and Aaron have such special playoff memories together.

By way of P.S., a fun fact: the three NFC West teams that managed to make the playoffs are devoid of former Hawks. On the active, healthy roster at least. Guess we’ll have to settle for Danny Kelly continuing to be Seahawks Nation’s pre-eminent trader. Hi Dan.