Seahawks sign former Meridian, WSU tight end Andrei Lintz

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 1, 2013 

The family of former Meridian High School and Washington State University tight end Andrei Lintz is not one to blow anything out of proportion too soon. They prefer to be a little more reserved.

"I'm from Russia, and we have a tradition not to celebrate something until it actually happens," Lintz's mother, Galina, said in a phone interview Thursday morning, Aug. 1. "If it happens, then it's a good deal."

Though Lintz still has a long road ahead, it is time to celebrate — at least just a little.

After taking a team physical early Thursday, Lintz signed a free agent contract with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound undrafted free agent was one of two additions by the team on Thursday, joining wide receiver Perez Ashford, who was claimed off waivers from New England. To make room, Seattle waived running back Ray Holley and former Eastern Washington University receiver Greg Herd.

"We haven't actually spoken to Andrei, yet, but we got a call from his agent, and apparently they have gone ahead and signed him to a contract," his father, Jeff, said in a phone interview. "His mother (Galina) keeps a scrapbook of everything, so his agent sent us a copy of the contract, and she already has it in the scrapbook.

"At least as of today, he's a Seahawk. The rest is up to him."

The signing came shortly after Lintz completed a physical with the team early Thursday.

"His agent called at about 5 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday, July 31) and said they were interested in bringing him in and look at signing him to a free agent contract," Galina said. "They said the Seahawks wanted to bring him in, so they had him stay in a Seattle hotel … last night. They gave him a physical at 8 this morning (Thursday, Aug. 1). I talked to him after, and they were still going to do some more tests."

Galina said those tests were to include an X-ray on an ankle he broke during practices for the Earl Barden East-West All-Star Classic after his senior season at Meridian and an MRI on a neck injury he suffered while playing for the Cougars.

"He's very excited," Galina said. "We talked to him last night, and he got a massage in the hotel."

The family's excitement, obviously has only grown with news of the signing.

"Certainly, we are very happy, but at the same time, there are 89 others on the roster and in about a month, that number will be down to 54," Jeff said. "We have that sign on Prospect Street that says, ‘Welcome to Bellingham, the City of Subdued Excitement.' We're kind of like that right now."

Lintz, who graduated from Washington State last spring, went to a tryout with the New Orleans Saints in April.

"They had six good tight ends in camp, and the coach said it was the best group of tight ends they had ever had," Galina said. "Andrei thanked his agent after that and said, ‘That's it,' but his agent said, ‘We might not be done.'"

And Thursday, the Seahawks showed interest.

Thursday's signing is just another in an impressive list of accomplishments by Lintz this summer.

After his tryout with the Saints, Lintz interned in Omaha, Neb., with a company putting on the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament. He made such an impact, they invited him to Los Angeles to work with the CrossFit Games.

"I just picked him up at SeaTac on Monday on his way back from LA, and Tuesday I had to drive him back down to Bellevue to check into the Seahawks' hotel," Jeff said. "It was a pretty short trip home."

But the family is excited he'll be staying close to home.

"His mom is happy because he'll be close enough to home that if he gets hungry from some Russian food, we can pack it up and get it down to him," Jeff said.

Big things were expected out of Lintz last fall during his senior season at Washington State, but a knee injury limited him to two receptions for 14 yards.

Lintz appeared in 43 games for the Cougars and made 10 starts during his career. He finished with 10 catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns and was a three-time All-Academic Pac-12 selection.

In May, he was named to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame 2013 Hampshire Honor Society, which honors the college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career.

While at Meridian, Lintz piled up 628 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns as a senior in 2007 and 718 yards and 16 scores as a junior.

The Seahawks currently list six tight ends on their active roster, and seven-year pro Zach Miller, who was expected to be the team's starter, is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a lingering foot injury.

The team signed fourth-year pro Michael Palmer two days before the start of training camp to compete with Sean McGrath and rookie Luke Willson for the backup position behind Miller.

On Tuesday, July 30, Seattle waived tight end Victor Marshall and replaced him with linebacker/tight end Jameson Konz.

First-year pro Darren Fells and second-year pro Cooper Helfet also are on the Seahawks' active roster.

Whatcom County currently boasts two other former high school players on NFL rosters — former Ferndale and Western Washington University punter Michael Koenen with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Ferndale and University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker with the Tennessee Titans.

"He (Lintz) knows it won't be easy from here, but he has the best fallback plan in the world at Washington State," Jeff said. "They really like him in the athletic department and he has a graduate assistant position waiting for him if he goes back to Pullman, so he can do that while he's working on his masters."

Reach David Rasbach at 360-715-2271 or david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com .

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