Sea­hawks add Mur­phy grad to ros­ter

The Daily Herald - - SPORTS - By Nick Pat­ter­son Her­ald Writer

REN­TON — On Satur­day, Taniela Tupou’s NFL hopes were dashed.

On Mon­day those hopes were re­vived.

Two days af­ter be­ing waived, the Arch­bishop Mur­phy High School grad­u­ate found him­self back with the Seat­tle Sea­hawks as Seat­tle re-signed Tupou to its 53-man ros­ter. The un­drafted rookie is listed as both a full­back and a de­fen­sive tackle.

Tupou had been part of Satur­day’s cuts as the Sea­hawks trimmed their ros­ter from 75 to the fi­nal 53. How­ever, one of those 53 spots went to safety L.J. McCray, who was ac­quired Satur­day in a trade with the San Fran­cisco 49ers. McCray ended up fail­ing his phys­i­cal and the trade was re­scinded, open­ing up a ros­ter spot. The Sea­hawks, who didn’t keep any full­backs on their ini­tial ros­ter, chose to fill the spot by bring­ing back Tupou.

Mon­day’s de­vel­op­ment is just the lat­est in what’s been a wild sum­mer for Tupou. Tupou, who was a de­fen­sive tackle at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton, was in­vited

by the Sea­hawks to rookie train­ing camp in May with the in­tent of con­vert­ing him into a full­back. Tupou ended up im­press­ing the Sea­hawks enough to earn a con­tract and be part of Seat­tle’s 90-man off­sea­son ros­ter.

How­ever, Tupou’s con­ver­sion to full­back hit a snag when he suf­fered a bro­ken knuckle early in train­ing camp. Tupou was able to con­tinue play­ing with a cast on his right hand, but that hin­dered his abil­ity to han­dle the ball. As a re­sult, Tupou spent most of his time dur­ing the pre­sea­son back on the de­fen­sive line. When the Sea­hawks made their fi­nal cuts, Tupou was on the list.

But just as fate in­ter­vened on Tupou’s be­half dur­ing train­ing camp — fel­low full­back hope­fuls Brandon Cot­tom and Tre Mad­den suf­fered in­juries that took them out of the com­pe­ti­tion — it was back on Tupou’s side Mon­day.

“He’s made a ter­rific tran­si­tion,” Sea­hawks coach Pete Car­roll said. “He can play on both sides of the ball. We’re ex­cited to see him go­ing. He’s a big, pound­ing full­back at 280-plus. He’s made a tran­si­tion quickly. He showed it right off the bat, though, it’s wasn’t like it took him a long time, he made good state­ments early on so we were ex­cited about him through­out.”

It’s pos­si­ble Tupou’s time on the ros­ter will be short-lived. The Sea­hawks also cut vet­eran full­back Will Tukuafu on Satur­day. Had Tukuafu been on the ros­ter Wed­nes­day, his vet­eran con­tract would have been guar­an­teed. Af­ter Week 1, if Tukuafu is still avail­able, Seat­tle could bring him back without hav­ing to guar­an­tee his en­tire con­tract.

Sea­hawks name their cap­tains

On Mon­day Car­roll re­vealed the play­ers who were voted Seat­tle’s cap­tains for the 2016 sea­son. Quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son was named the of­fen­sive cap­tain, strong safety Kam Chan­cel­lor was named the de­fen­sive cap­tain, and punter Jon Ryan and cor­ner­back DeShawn Shead were named the spe­cial-teams cap­tains. Wil­son and Ryan are re­turn­ing cap­tains from last sea­son. Chan­cel­lor was a cap­tain in 2014, but was re­placed by line­backer Bobby Wagner last sea­son be­cause Chan­cel­lor was hold­ing out when the sea­son be­gan. Shead is a first-time cap­tain. All the cap­tains were cho­sen in a vote by the play­ers.

Ex­tra points

Car­roll con­firmed that Garry Gil­liam will start at left tackle. Gil­liam, the starter at right tackle last sea­son, was en­gaged in a po­si­tion bat­tle with free-agent sign­ing J’Mar­cus Webb. Webb will serve as the back-up at both tackle po­si­tions. … Car­roll said tight end Jimmy Gra­ham, who’s re­cov­er­ing from a se­ri­ous knee in­jury, is pre­par­ing as if he’s play­ing in Sun­day’s sea­son opener against Mi­ami, but that the team does not have the ex­pec­ta­tion that Gra­ham will play. … De­fen­sive tackle Jar­ran Reed (toe) prac­ticed Mon­day and will play Sun­day. Tight end Nick Van­nett (an­kle) will not play Sun­day, but the team hopes he’ll be ready by the fol­low­ing week. … Seat­tle an­nounced nine play­ers signed to its prac­tice squad. They were: re­ceivers Kasen Wil­liams, Kenny Lawler, Mar­cus Lu­cas and Rod­ney Smith, guard Will Per­i­cak, de­fen­sive tackle Justin Hamil­ton, de­fen­sive end Ty­lor Har­ris, and lineback­ers Kache Pala­cio and Jor­dan Tripp. TO­DAY

KEVIN CLARK / THE DAILY HER­ALD

Taniela Tupou, a grad­u­ate of Arch­bishop Mur­phy High School, was signed by the Sea­hawks as a free agent af­ter play­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton.

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