Brady Quinn says he's ready as Seahawks backup quarterback
Former Notre Dame star hasn't played well in NFL but believes he is ready to back up quarterback Russell Wilson in Seattle.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — A season of great anticipation for the Seahawks also carries one huge question mark — what happens if the unthinkable happens and Russell Wilson gets hurt?
Brady Quinn, who almost certainly would be called on to replace Wilson, says not to worry.
He may have a 4-16 record as a starter with the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs, a mark that has inevitably earned him the label of "first-round bust." But he also has confidence that if needed, he can help the Seahawks fulfill all of their lofty goals.
"Oh, without a doubt," he said after Monday's Organized Team Activities (OTA). "This team is loaded with talent and all kinds of ability and I think that always gives you an opportunity as a quarterback to excel. And with the scheme and everything else we are doing out there, it's definitely something that is to my liking."
Quinn's familiarity with the system helped convince the Seahawks to sign him in April as the backup to Wilson after trading Matt Flynn to Oakland. Quinn worked with current Seahawks quarterback coach Carl Smith in Cleveland in 2009, and he says aspects of Seattle's offense are similar to what he ran early in his career at Notre Dame.
"It's the West Coast (offense) I've been trying to get to," Quinn said.
Quinn set many records at Notre Dame, perhaps the most storied program in college football, finishing in the top four in Heisman Trophy balloting in both 2005 and 2006, when he threw 69 touchdowns against just 14 interceptions.
When Quinn was drafted in the first round by Cleveland, 140 miles from his hometown of Dublin, Ohio, some envisioned the local hero coming home to save a struggling franchise.
The storybook ending, though, never happened. Quinn barely to beat out Derek Anderson for the starting job, went 3-9 over two seasons, and after three years was traded to Denver, where he didn't play a down in two seasons. He signed as a free agent last season with Kansas City, where he went 1-7 after starter Matt Cassel went down with a concussion for a team that finished 2-14.
"It's been tough," Quinn said of his career. "A lot of times when you are put in adverse situations you just try to do the best you can. We had some tough seasons in Cleveland — the organization is still trying to come around. Last year was obviously a lot of things occurring off the field."
Quinn can only wonder what might have been had he landed starting jobs in better circumstances.
"Who knows?" he said. "I think sometimes life is about timing and the opportunities you are presented with, and you just have to take the cards you have been dealt and play them as best you can, and that's what I'm doing."
That means embracing being a backup in Seattle, where Wilson is the acknowledged leader of the team.
Quinn said he talked with the Chiefs about returning, and with the Titans (where he might have been the backup to Jake Locker), but was drawn by what could be accomplished by the Seahawks. He was one of four quarterbacks to work out for the team in April, the others being Matt Leinart, one-time Seahawk Seneca Wallace and Tyler Thigpen.
"It's a little bit more of a set role here," Quinn said. "In the past there has been the opportunity to compete, or I was the guy getting the job. But that's the job I've been given, so I'm going to do my best to help out the team that way."
Quinn, 28, will have to beat out first-year player Jerrod Johnson of Texas A&M as backup. Asked who has the upper hand, Smith said, "Brady's a seven-year vet."
Smith added that what happened in Cleveland, where Quinn never completed more than 53.1 percent of his passes, doesn't reflect the player he is today.
"He's significantly better than when I had him in Cleveland," Smith said. "He's physically better, he's throwing the ball better, he's moving better than he did."
The Seahawks also signed the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Quinn because of a work ethic that is said to rival Wilson's, regularly showing up alongside Wilson for early-morning film study.
"So he shows up (and), he already knows the offense," Smith said.
• RB Marshawn Lynch, CB Antoine Winfield and OL Breno Giacomini were not present for Monday's workout, one of two this week that is open to the media. Carroll did not speak to the media afterward so there was no official explanation for missing the voluntary workouts.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.