NFL dreams haven’t come true yet for former Husky quarterback Keith Price
Record-setting Washington quarterback Keith Price wasn’t drafted, then signed with the Seahawks. He was cut before minicamp. Now Price is the third-stringer for Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football League.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Keith Price was convinced all he needed was a foot in the door in the NFL. Then, he figured, all his dreams would follow.
But when the first door he tried to pry open in Seattle was slammed shut faster than he ever imagined, Price was forced to call an audible.
And that explains how he found himself Friday night in Edmonton, manning the sideline as the third-team quarterback for the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
“I’m having one hell of a journey already, I’ll tell you that,’’ Price said in a phone interview earlier in the week.
One he admits hasn’t been anything like what he expected a year or so ago. Following the 2011 Alamo Bowl, when Price set a Washington record by accounting for seven touchdowns and statistically outdueling Heisman winner Robert Griffin III in a 67-56 defeat against Baylor, an NFL career seemed more a matter of when than if.
And even if he encountered a few more potholes than planned his last two years at UW, Price figured his overall resume was of a quarterback who deserved a good, long look. He left UW with school records for most career touchdown passes (75), best career completion percentage (64) and highest career passer rating (143.2).
Then came a succession of humbling events.
In February, Price learned he wouldn’t be one of 335 players invited to the NFL Draft Combine. Then came the draft itself, with Price clinging to the thought he’d still be taken, based in part on what he felt was a good performance at UW’s Pro Day.
But when the draft ended after 256 picks, Price still was available.
That didn’t last long, though. After what he said was “literally less than a minute’’ following the draft, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called, offering a spot on the roster as an undrafted free agent. Price accepted immediately, declining to see what else might be out there.
While he knew he’d be joining a crowded roster at quarterback — Price’s signing gave Seattle five at the time, including Terrelle Pryor — he had what he felt was a good workout with the Seahawks, was familiar with Carroll and the team’s offense and was comfortable in Seattle.
Everything, he thought, looked good after a promising performance in the team’s rookie minicamp. But a tight groin held him out of the first two days of the team’s OTAs a week later, and Price never took a snap in a team setting again.
Following the completion of OTAs and just before minicamp, Price was released, lasting just 36 days with the Seahawks as the team decided it needed only four quarterbacks.
Asked if he was surprised, Price says, “No doubt, man. No doubt.’’
Price says he was told the Seahawks couldn’t get him enough work to develop him properly. Essentially, the team decided to keep B.J. Daniels as its developmental quarterback instead. A key moment, Price says, came when Daniels concluded one of the final OTAs with a touchdown drive in a team setting.
“He threw a couple of strikes, and that was all she wrote for me,’’ Price said.
Price says he doesn’t regret signing with Seattle, but can’t help but second-guess what would have happened if he had gone to a team with fewer quarterbacks.
“I thought at least I’d get a chance to get some reps in there and maybe play a little bit during the preseason,’’ Price said. “It was just unfortunate that I wasn’t given the opportunity that I thought I was going to get.’’
He returned home to Southern California and waited for the phone to ring. He had a tryout with the Patriots, but no offer.
His agent told him teams worry about his size (6 feet 1, 202 pounds) and durability. Price, though, points out that despite bumps and bruises, he sat out only one entire game at UW.
“As many shots as I took, I never, knock on wood, needed surgery or had any structural damage with my body,’’ he said.
Once the NFL season began, Price grew resigned to a season on the sideline. The CFL, though, he always knew might be an option. Price had been told while at UW that Saskatchewan held his rights and met with team representatives while playing in the East-West Shrine game in January.
Price happened to be watching a Saskatchewan game on television a few weeks ago when he saw starter Darian Durant get hurt. The phone rang a couple days later with an offer to take his spot on the roster, and Price signed Sept. 10. Price is backing up two other Americans — Tino Sunseri of Pittsburgh, now the starter, and Seth Doege of Texas Tech — for a 9-3 team that is the defending Grey Cup champs.
“Ah, man, it’s been a hell of a year for me,’’ said Price. “It’s just been so much negative, you know what I mean? It’s hard to continue working when you don’t know what’s next in your life. But I’m just trying to stay positive and trying to put myself in the best position to continue to try to catch my dreams and show the NFL that I can play in that league. But this is a great opportunity for me to prove I can play here, and then maybe I will get a shot down the line.’’
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com.