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Originally published October 27, 2011 at 8:10 PM | Page modified October 28, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Red Bryant is a new "Brick" for Seahawks

Red Bryant, son-in-law to Seahawks legend Jacob Green, is powering Seattle's defense — when he can stay healthy.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Sunday

Cincinnati @ Seahawks, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 7

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RENTON — Keep stacking bricks.

That's what Red Bryant's father-in-law tells him. It's become a family motto, something that has nothing to do with masonry and everything to do with building a bridge between generations on Seattle's defensive line.

The father-in-law used to be known as "Brick" around here. At least that's what Seahawks defensive-line coach George Dyer dubbed him, though he's much better known as Seattle's career sacks leader, Jacob Green.

"He said I just kept building," Green said of the nickname. "From the foundation on up."

It's a blueprint Green has done his best to hand down to the man who's become such a revelation at his old position of defensive end.

"He's making a mark for himself," Green said of Bryant.

They wear the same No. 79. They went to the same school, Texas A&M, and Bryant is married to Janelle, one of Green's three daughters.

The similarities only go so far, though, because they followed very different paths to end up at the same position on Seattle's defensive line.

Green was the 10th overall choice in 1980, a starter from the moment he was drafted. Green missed only seven games in his 12 seasons with the team. And starting in 1982, when sacks became an official statistic, until 1991, Green's final season in Seattle, there were just two men who surpassed Green's total of 98.5 sacks: Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White. Green now lives in College Station.

Bryant started out in the middle of Seattle's defense, not the edge. He was the 6-foot-4 defensive tackle Seattle chose in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, and underwent knee surgery before he played a regular-season game.

For two years, he was like a square peg the Seahawks were trying to fit into a round hole on defense. Make that a very large square peg. He never found a consistent role in his first two seasons as a Seahawk, designated as inactive more often than he was in uniform.

"He was trying to find out who he was and how he could play," said Gus Bradley, who became Seattle's defensive coordinator in 2009, Bryant's second season. "We tried to move him around."

When Pete Carroll was hired in 2010, the Seahawks made the decision to try him at defensive end. The big man was skeptical. "I thought I was getting ready to get cut," Bryant said.

The move turned out to be as significant for Seattle's defense as it was for Bryant's career. An afterthought at nose tackle, he became the bedrock of a rush defense that was surprisingly stout last season. At least it was until he suffered a season-ending knee injury halfway through Seattle's seventh game. The Seahawks began a nosedive they didn't truly correct until Bryant returned to the starting lineup this season.

"He has a tremendous energy and fire," coach Pete Carroll said.

Bryant is a big man, country strong, and comes from the small town of Jasper in east Texas. Listed at 6-4, 323 pounds, he eats up plenty of space, among other things, but ask his high-school football coach to explain Bryant's prowess and he points to one specific playoff game. In basketball.

"He scored 54, maybe 56 points," said Royce Hill, who coached Bryant from seventh through 12th grade.

Throw in more than 20 rebounds, and it was a singularly dominating performance that epitomized Bryant's ability.

"He had his mind made up," Hill said. "In his mind, he would not be stopped."

The Cleveland Browns can testify to that. Bryant was at the heart of Seattle's admirable defensive effort last Sunday with four solo tackles and half a sack, and he blocked two field-goal attempts as the Seahawks allowed just six points despite being on the field for almost three-quarters of the game.

Bryant wasn't on the field by the end, though, after he was ejected after head-butting Cleveland tight end Alex Smith in front of an official.

"It was a costly mistake," Bryant said.

One that cost his team one final possession and resulted in a fine, though Bryant didn't disclose how much. His father-in-law had some advice on that, too.

"He just said I need to do a better job of not getting caught," Bryant said.

That's one more lesson handed down from one generation to another.

"He has always been a perfect gentleman, a perfect son-in-law," Green said. "He's such a fine young man. It's a privilege for him to be my son-in-law. I think the world of him."

Note

• Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson remained limited in practice Thursday, while TE Zach Miller (concussion), C Max Unger (foot) and RB Marshawn Lynch (back) all practiced without limitation and are on track to play Sunday.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Rushing defense with Bryant
Looking at how Seattle's rushing defense has fared with Red Bryant as the starting defensive end, compared to how it played in the 9 ½ games he missed because of a knee injury last season, shows just how integral he is to Seattle's defense.
2010 with Bryant 2010 without Bryant 2011 with Bryant
Games 6 ½ 9 ½ 7
Avg. yards per carry 3.4 4.7 3.1
Avg. yards per game 82.6 130.1 105.0

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