Brock Coyle isn't likely to be a starter in the NFL anytime soon. But he's getting every chance to earn a spot on the Seattle Seahawks roster.
The linebacker, who at this time a year ago was getting ready for Montana's season opener against Appalachian State, will likely be the one responsible for calling Seattle's first defensive play in the huddle when the Seahawks face the San Diego Chargers on Friday night.
"I can't wait. Hearing all about CenturyLink (Field) and 12s and how much they love the Seahawks, I'm really excited," Coyle said. "I can't wait to go out there with a Seahawks uniform and play football."
Coyle will likely make his second straight start at middle linebacker against San Diego. It's a temporary stint for Coyle while starter Bobby Wagner recovers from a minor hamstring strain.
But it's an opportunity Coyle couldn't have imagined when he was passed over in the NFL draft and decided to sign with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent.
"If you don't believe in yourself, no one will," Coyle said. "I've always prided myself on just work as hard as I can every day and when that opportunity came, I thought back and this is what I've worked for. For opportunities like this."
Coyle was brought to Seattle for a pre-draft visit and he was well aware of the Seahawks' history of giving undrafted rookies a chance to make the roster, both factors in his decision to sign. Whether it's wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, or safety Jeron Johnson, the Seahawks have landed gems bypassed by everyone in the draft.
Could Coyle become the next one added to that list? Perhaps. He has the support of linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr., who was impressed by his tape and pro day numbers at Montana, which included a 4.6 40-yard dash and a 37-inch vertical leap. Oh, and the pro day was conducted outdoors in 37 degree Missoula weather.
The weather probably seemed balmy to Coyle, who was a Junior Olympic-caliber skier until his sophomore year in high school when football took over.
All that was before Norton ever met the kid. When he did, the way Coyle was absorbing knowledge stood out.
"I really liked his eyes," Norton said. "He really looked at you. I could see that he was really intense and really purposeful."
Coyle got his first taste last week against Denver, playing with the best defense in football last season and trying to slow down Peyton Manning. Coyle had five tackles and was in for 21 snaps on defense with another nine plays on special teams.
Whether Coyle makes Seattle's roster will depend on how he performs the next three weeks and his contributions on special teams.
"We're thrilled that he's holding his own right now," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It's a lot to ask of a guy and he's just handled it really well. He's very smart, really a good worker, and he's getting everything out of right now and so we're really fired up about him."
San Diego could see defensive tackle Corey Liuget make his preseason debut after missing the opener against Dallas. Liuget has been slowed by a right foot injury, but is the key cog on the Chargers' 3-4 defense. Liuget sat out Wednesday but practiced Thursday before the team left for Seattle.
"It stinks just looking at practice," he said. "It feels good to be back out there."
NOTES: Seattle DE Cassius Marsh returned to practice on Thursday after leaving the practice field a day earlier with an apparent knee injury. Carroll said Marsh could possibly play Friday night. ... Among Chargers not practicing and unlikely to play on Friday were wide receiver Vincent Brown (strained left calf) and defensive end Lawrence Guy (sore right shoulder). ... Seattle SS Kam Chancellor (hip surgery) probably won't make his preseason debut until next week against Chicago at the earliest, Carroll said.
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