Seahawks Consider Re-Signing Antoine Winfield
By Corbin Smith
After learning that CB Walter Thurmond would be suspended four games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, the Seattle Seahawks may attempt to coax retired CB Antoine Winfield out of retirement to bring stability to a suddenly thin secondary.
Winfield, 36, signed a contract with the Seahawks this summer after having a strong campaign with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012. The team hoped his addition would be an upgrade at nickel corner behind Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. However, Seattle opted to release him in favor of younger corners at the end of training camp, and the veteran decided to retire instead of pursuing a job with another team. He's reportedly kept himself in shape in case the right situation presented itself, and with Seattle now facing dire circumstances in the secondary thanks to Thurmond's suspension and Browner's severe groin injury, returning to the Seahawks could be an option worth seriously considering.
When asked on 710 ESPN Radio Seattle about potentially contacting Winfield to gauge his interest in re-signing with the team, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll replied, "With the needs that we may have going into this game, that's a possibility. We'll figure that out when the time comes. But he's a really quality guy to bring into your team at a time like this. He's knows his way around and everybody respects the heck out of him."
Considering the fact that Winfield played with Seattle throughout training camp and has a strong familiarity with Dan Quinn's system, it's not out of the question that the veteran could step in right away and contribute as a replacement for Thurmond and Browner. Coming off a season in which he recorded 101 tackles and hauled in three interceptions for Minnesota, he certainly still has the talent to be a factor in this league, and Carroll was quick to point out that he's still a "very good football player."
But expectations would need to be tempered since he hasn't played a down this season and most likely won't be in top game shape. Knowing that the team decided to move on from him prior to the start of the regular season also voices potential concerns about his ability to thrive in Seattle's defensive scheme. If anything, bringing him back into the fold this late in the season would be most beneficial from a leadership standpoint and allow young players like Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane to continue learning by example.
Only time will tell if Seattle actually attempts to reach out to Winfield, but an announcement will need to come soon if the team has any intention of getting him prepped for Monday's game against Drew Brees and the high-powered New Orleans Saints.