Lintz living a 'lifetime dream' with Seahawks

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 4, 2013 

A couple of days earlier, former Meridian and Washington State University tight end Andrei Lintz was considering buying tickets so he could watch the Seattle Seahawks in training camp.

On Friday, Aug. 2, it was his family that was in the crowd at the Seahawks' facility in Renton watching practice. Lintz, meanwhile, had the best view in the house - on the sideline with his new teammates.

"I've honestly been pinching myself every 20 minutes the last couple of days, making sure I'm awake and this isn't a dream," Lintz said in a phone interview on Saturday, Aug. 3. "This is a complete dream come true. It's surreal. I just went through my first practice as a professional football player, and I never thought that would be real. This is a great opportunity. You never know what will happen."

On Thursday, Aug. 1, Lintz signed an NFL free agent contract with the Seahawks - the team he grew up rooting for just 100 miles north in Whatcom County.

Lintz said he had nearly given up the dream of playing pro football after he had heard very little following an April workout with the New Orleans Saints during their rookie mini camp. But that all changed late Wednesday, July 31.

"I just got off the field at Lynden High School, where I was working out and running sprints," Lintz said. "I went to the YMCA for a little bit, and when I got back in the car, there was a voicemail from my agent. I called him back and he said the Seahawks wanted to bring me in, and I was like, 'No friggin way.'"

A quick trip down to the team hotel that night, and Lintz made it to an early-morning physical on Thursday, followed by a few more medical tests. Before he knew it, he was working out for Seahawks brass, including coach Pete Carroll and tight ends coach Pat McPherson, who watched the way he moved, caught passes and blocked.

"Twenty minutes later, they said come with me, and we went upstairs, and I thought they were going to let me go," Lintz said. "Then I saw a folder on the desk with my name on it, and there was a contract inside, and I was like, 'No friggin way.' I signed it and became and official Seattle Seahawk."

One day later, Lintz was in full pads for the first time since the Apple Cup in December 2012 watching his new teammates go through their first mock game.

"The majority of the time, I was hanging out with Coach McPherson, huddling with him so he could tell me what we were doing," Lintz said. "They've been in practice for a week and a half - almost two weeks - now, so I have a lot of catching up to do, but it was great to be out there. They definitely got me in for a few plays at the end, and that felt unbelievable."

Saturday was an off day, and Lintz said he spent a good portion of it familiarizing himself with the iPad playbook the Seahawks gave him.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Lintz was assigned jersey No. 38 - a number you wouldn't normally think of for a tight end.

"I was thinking something in the 80s, but then I did some research last night and realized No. 38 was the number worn by (former Seahawks fullback) Mack Strong," Lintz said. "He was a guy I grew up watching. A big, tough guy - they type of guy I'm proud to wear his number. I'm going to have to play that same way."

Lintz said getting this opportunity was a little bit of vindication after a knee injury limited him to two catches for 14 yards during his senior season at Washington State in a year big things were expected out of him.

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

Lintz said he already is fitting in well with the Seahawks' tight ends.

"I'm the eighth one to join the team, and we have a couple that are injured," Lintz said. "To a man, they've been awesome welcoming me into the group. Luke Wilson, their draft pick, and Zach Miller, their starter from last year, have been very welcoming. They've pulled me aside and told me what was going on to make sure we're all on the same page. It's a huge family atmosphere."

An atmosphere Lintz said he hopes to get to be a part of for as long as possible.

The Seahawks roster currently is at 80. On Aug. 27, the NFL mandates teams cut down to 75 players in preparation for the final cut down to 53 players on Aug. 31.

"My approach is just to try to study and learn the playbook as fast as I can," Lintz said. "I don't know what is in the cards for the preseason and making the roster, so I'm just living one day at a time and enjoying it as much as I can. I know I have a lot of work ahead. It's an uphill battle, and it's going to take a lot of hard work and sacrifice and a whole lot of sweat, but I'm going to enjoy every second of it. It's a lifetime dream I honestly never thought I would get to experience, especially here in Seattle. It's too good to be true."

Reach David Rasbach at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2286.

Reach DAVID RASBACH at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2271.

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