JERSEY CITY, N.J. – When free agency opened in 2012, the Patriots had their sights set on one player: Seahawks defensive lineman Red Bryant. Listed at 6-foot-5, 325 pounds, Bryant was coming off a strong season in ’11, breaking through after Seattle moved him from tackle to end.
New England had a visit set up with Bryant, and his agent had been talking with Bill Belichick.
But before the Texas native could head for the East Coast, the Seahawks stepped up with a contract to keep him in Seattle.
“I had an opportunity to go there; they’ve got a great history, great tradition, I have the utmost respect for coach Belichick and Tom Brady and Mr. Robert Kraft,” Bryant said on Thursday. “My big brother, Ty Warren, he played there and I called him and he gave me a background on what it would be like and the expectations and it would have been a great opportunity. The only thing that kept me was my love for this team and I envisioned us one day making it to a Super Bowl.”
That and Seattle “made me a deal I couldn’t refuse,” Bryant admitted.
Warren left Texas A&M not long after Bryant began his playing career there, but he continued to return to the school to give advice to younger players, which is how Warren and Bryant forged their friendship.
Bryant ended up signing a five-year, $35 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed to stay with the Seahawks, and is a leader on one of the league’s best defenses, giving the pregame speech to the team every week and serving as a team captain.
A gentle giant off the field, Bryant is married to one of the daughters of Jacob Green, not only a Texas A&M Hall of Famer but also a member of the Seahawks’ ring of honor after recording more than 100 sacks in a dozen seasons with the club. He has overcome dyslexia and spoke freely about how it impacted him, saying the learning disability wasn’t an issue on the field: “football comes to me as easy as breathing.”