Bruce Irvin on his uncertain future with the Seahawks: ‘I understand that they have to pay a lot of people’

Jun 19, 2015, 4:56 PM | Updated: 8:00 pm
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Bruce Irvin is entering the final year of his contract after Seattle declined to pick up his 2016 option. (AP)
(AP)

Linebacker Bruce Irvin attended the Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp after skipping voluntary Organized Team Activities, apparently upset about his contract situation after his fifth-year option wasn’t picked up. Following Thursday’s practice, both in a press conference with the media and in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle, he said all the right things about his future with the Seahawks.

Namely, that he wants there to be one.

“Come on – why wouldn’t I want to be here?” he told the “Justin and Gee” show. “They took a chance on me, drafted me in the first round. It’s a great organization. I love my teammates, and we have the best fans that a team can ask for. Great facilities, great owner. They take care of us around here, so why would I want to be anywhere else?”

One potential reason: should Seattle not be able to offer him the type of contract he feels he deserves, an outcome that seems entirely possible given all the money that the team a) has already committed to some of its star players and b) has to set aside for others. For instance, the Seahawks have one linebacker (K.J. Wright) making $6.75 million a season and another (Bobby Wagner) who’s in line for a deal that could average as much as $10 million. And then there’s quarterback Russell Wilson, who’s set to make upwards of $20 million a season whether that starts this year or next.

Irvin acknowledged the reality that there’s only so much money to go around in a salary-capped league like the NFL.

“I understand that they have to pay a lot of people,” he said. “Those guys are deserving of their money, and I’m just going to go out here and earn mine next season.”

Irvin is set to make a base salary of $1.67 million in 2015, which is the final year of the rookie deal he signed in 2012. Seattle declined to exercise its fifth-year option on Irvin for $7.8 million, which means he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. That decision was the first development in what has since become an ongoing subplot. A few weeks later, a blog quoted Irvin expressing what sounded like his desire to play in his home town of Atlanta when his contract with Seattle expires after the 2015 season.

Irvin attempted to clarify those comments Thursday, saying that while he’s intrigued by the thought of returning to his home town, his preference would be to remain in Seattle.

“I just said it would be cool playing (there), meaning that I’m from Atlanta. My family still lives there,” he said. “That’s every kid’s dream to return back to Atlanta and play for their childhood team growing up.”

Irvin called Seattle his “home” and said, “I hope it’s my home for a very long time.”

Here’s what Irvin told the media following practice Thursday:

(On being back on the field) “It feels good. Last night I woke up happy because I haven’t been around my brothers in a minute. Kind of like a kid the day before Christmas, so I’m just happy to be back, happy to contribute, and ready to handle my business.”

(On where he wants to play and his contract situation) “I want to be in Seattle. Obviously my words got misinterpreted. In 2012, I had a lot of questions coming out before the draft. Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) stuck their necks out there for me and took me in the first round, so why wouldn’t I want to be here? I’m from Atlanta, my whole family is still in Atlanta. That’s every kid’s dream to play for their home team, but right now I’m in Seattle and I love being in Seattle, and hopefully that’s for the rest of my career.”

(On what message he got when his option wasn’t picked up) “I got the message that it’s a business. It is what it is. That don’t change my mindset. I’m still going to go out there and have the best season I’ve had so far. I can’t do nothing about what they’re doing upstairs. All that will take care of itself.”

(On what he was doing while he wasn’t at OTAs) “I was working out in Atlanta.”

(On whether he was shocked that his option wasn’t picked up) “Somewhat, but then again, it is what it is. They’ve got a lot of people to take care of-you’ve got Bobby Wagner, who deserves his money and Russell (Wilson) who, deserves his money. Like I said, it’s a business and that stuff will work itself out.”

(On whether it changed his mindset going into this season and whether he feels like he’s playing for a contract) “I’m always playing for a contract. It gave me extra motivation, I can say that. I got a little complacent and I feel like that really put a chip on my shoulder. I’m going to go out here and handle my business. I’ve been busting my tail while I’ve been away from here and I feel like I’m ready to do what I’ve got to do.”

(On whether Seattle not picking up his option decrease the chances of him being here after this year) “When I talked to John (Schneider) they told me they want me here. He’s a man of his word just like I’m a man of my word, so that stuff will take care of itself. I’m just going to go out here and have the best season I’ve had so far since I’ve been in the league.

(On whether he hopes to get a new deal before the start of the season) “Like I said, that’ll take care of itself. My play on the field this year will handle all of that.”

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