For the second time since training camp began, the Seattle Seahawks are giving a former college basketball player a shot at playing tight end.
The Seahawks signed Mark Vital, a four-year starter for the Baylor Bears’ basketball program, to their practice squad Thursday.
Vital was a key part of Baylor’s run to the national title last April. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder averaged 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest in 30 starts in his final collegiate season. He was a three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection and made the All-Big 12 third team two years ago.
After spending NBA Summer League with the Portland Trail Blazers and failing to make an NBA roster, Vital announced earlier this week that he would pursue an NFL career. He told a news station in his native Louisiana that he hasn’t played football since middle school.
“I was never going to leave basketball just to leave basketball. I had a plan, but I had to make sure that the plan was right,” Vital said. “I’m leaving basketball with things on the table. I had exhibit 10s, two-ways and overseas deals. For me to leave that, I actually had to have something in football.”
Meanwhile, the Seahawks continue to experiment with the concept of a basketball-to-football transition. On Aug. 6, they signed former Nebraska and Iowa State college basketball player Michael Jacobson to play tight end. They released the 6-9 Jacobson four days later.
Seattle has three tight ends with NFL experience on its initial 53-man roster: Gerald Everett, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson. But Parkinson has a broken foot and his status for Week 1 is unknown.
The Seahawks nearly had found a solution when they brought back Luke Willson, who played for the franchise for parts of seven seasons. But one day after signing a one-year contract, Willson changed his mind and retired from football, citing a “severe” pericardial effusion that he battled over the offseason.
Vital, who played guard for Baylor, follows in the footsteps of former Baylor forward Rico Gathers, who spent 2018 playing tight end for the Dallas Cowboys.
–Field Level Media