Artie Burns hopes to capitalize on new chance with Seahawks

Whether injured or underperforming, Artie Burns never quite lived up to the expectations that followed him after graduating from college.

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Whether it was an injury or underperformance, Artie Burns never quite lived up to the expectations that followed him after college.

But he still has the talent that made him a first-round pick six years ago. And after a promising 2021 season in Chicago, Burns is hoping his move to Seattle and the likelihood of him becoming a cornerback for the Seahawks will continue his upward trend.

“To have the opportunity to bring him here, it’s hard to find a kid with those measurable traits and talent,” defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt said. “We still have the feeling that he is a rising player.”

Burns’ move to the Seahawks was the completion of a process that began in the 2020 offseason and was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He had narrowed his choices down to Seattle or Chicago and finally settled on the Bears because of the proximity to his family.

Moving across the country in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t the burden he wanted to put on his children, who were 6 and 3 at the time.

“They’re super clingy. They don’t want me to be too far away,” Burns said.

But the opportunity and the situation were different this time. His children are older and his family felt more comfortable moving to the Pacific Northwest. He was offered a healthy contract, signing $2 million for that season. He was given the chance to succeed Chicago’s Sean Desai after being hired as Seattle’s new assistant head coach.

Burns arrived, too, knowing he’d likely be a starter even with two promising rookies pushing for game time.

“We can all run. That’s an advantage,” Burns said. “Everyone is challenging. It’s a good environment for everyone to get better.”

Those rookies pushing for chances are fourth-rounder Coby Bryant and fifth-rounder Tariq Woolen. Bryant is polished and appears poised to take on a prominent role. He was overshadowed by Sauce Gardner in Cincinnati, but Bryant was the one named the Jim Thorpe Award winner for the country’s top defenseman.

Woolen is raw, but his 6-foot-4 frame is horribly reminiscent of the tall, physical cornerbacks Seattle has had in the past.

“Coby’s creativity and playmaking skills are evident. He’s got incredible hands and playmaking ability on the ball. It’s already showing,” said coach Pete Carroll. “We haven’t had a more physically capable guy than Tariq. He is long and tall and very fast. He’s a talented mover. He’s smart and gets it. We’ll see what happens.”

Bryant and Woolen clearly represent Seattle’s hopes for the future. But the expected starters – Burns and Sidney Jones – are both coming off the season that saw their careers revived.

Jones, a former Washington college star, returned to the Pacific Northwest last season and thrived when he landed a starting role.

Burns started in six of the last seven games for Chicago last season after missing the entire 2020 season after suffering an ACL tear. The injury gave him time to study Chicago’s defense and he was able to take that to the field last season.

It’s a very similar defense to the one the Seahawks are looking to run this year and which Desai was in charge of.

“Sure enough, he’s familiar with the program because he was in Chicago last year. You’ve seen that advantage pay off since he’s been here,” Hurtt said. “He has great commands, helps the young people, and I see the arrow go up on Artie where he’s going.” Artie Burns hopes to capitalize on new chance with Seahawks

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