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The Seattle Seahawks held their annual mock game at Lumen Field on Friday, August 4, which gives new players their first feel what it’s like to play at the iconic stadium in front of fans. However, the evening didn’t go well for rookie cornerback Andrew Whitaker.
The undrafted player out of Washington University, who attended the Seahawks minicamp in May, and signed a three-year, $2.695 million contract with the team in July, appeared to get injured during a punt coverage play, per Fox 13 Seattle‘s Curtis Crabtree. He was carted off the field minutes later.
KPRC 2 reporter Aaron Wilson shared a devastating update on Saturday, August 5. Wilson tweeted that Whitaker injured “his patellar tendon and will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the damage.” SI‘s Corbin K. Smith reported that Whitaker faces ‘an extensive rehab period of 10-12 months.”
Whitaker was a promising prospect for the Seahawks. The 6-foot, 183-pound corner started 30 of 39 games during his tenure with the Bears, totaling 145 tackles, 23 passes defended, and seven interceptions, as reported by WashuBears.com. He earned Second Team All-CCIW honors as a junior before nabbing First Team All-CCIW honors in his final season.
Whitaker, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3, spent time with the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks in the spring joining the Seahawks. Washington University’s head coach Aaron Keen said of Whitaker aftr he signed with Seattle, “I am extremely proud to see Andrew pursuing his dream in an NFL training camp.
“He has committed himself to the pursuit of a professional football career. Andrew is an extremely talented individual who has a bright future in front of him. He has excelled in all areas of his life. This is a tremendous story for a great player, student and person.”
Andrew Whitaker Is a Versatile Athlete, Studied to Be a Doctor at College
Not only was Whitaker a force on the football field, but he also excelled on the school’s track and field team, winning the 2022 National Championship and individual titles in the 60-meter hurdles and the 4X400 relay.
The Ohio native was also a stellar student. Whitaker earned a biomedical engineering degree and was a civil scholar at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, per his Linkedin profile. In an interview with NFL Draft Diamonds last year, the defensive back called his “competitive gene” the key to his success on the football field.
“I like to compete to win,” he said, “and I have this clutch gene where I always want to do what it takes to do it and that no one can beat you and also at corner you need speed but skill also and anticipation of the next play and trust your speed.”
The corner believed his “attention to detail to know how to use your technique, speed, and strength,” set him apart from other defensive backs. As for handling possible roadblocks, “I think the best way to handle challenges is take them head on and go brick by brick like building a house getting through them.”
The Seahawks Have Solid Depth at Cornerback
While Whitaker’s injury is a tough blow for the Seahawks, the team has solid depth at the position, so much so that head coach Pete Carroll has been experimenting with shifting the cornerbacks around.
During the mock game scrimmage, cornerback Devon Witherspoon, Seattle’s No. 5 overall pick from the 2023 NFL Draft started off in the nickel slot, where he’s been taking the bulk of reps at training camp while Coby Bryant, last season’s primary nickel, practiced at safety. Tre Brown started at the left corner while Mike Jackson took the right.
Witherspoon is still in the mix to be the starting outside corner, “He’s right in the battle,” Carroll told reporters on August 3. “We’re just logging reps right now. Tre Brown and Mike have done really well. Tre’s had a terrific first week. There’s no rush (to decide right now).” The pending return of Tariq Woolen makes the position battle that much tougher.
Veteran cornerback Artie Burns earned praise following his performance at Friday’s scrimmage, as he had multiple pass breakups, per The Athletic. “He’s been really solid,” Carroll said. “He’s been the veteran guy, showing the other guys how things work and making the calls. Very good technician. He’s playing very good football.”
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