NFL dream takes hold

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Having dreamed of playing in the NFL since he was a kid, of course Jesse Lumsden was anxious to hear his name called.

But in signing a free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks a couple hours after the draft ended on Sunday, the running back got what he wanted most.

"I'm just happy about going to a team that is going to give me a real, honest chance," the running back said yesterday. "All around, it's a great opportunity."

How great will begin to unfold when the 22-year-old Hec Crichton Trophy winner attends a mini-camp this weekend.

It is clear that in Seattle there are doors that can be pushed open if Lumsden performs. The team's feature back and touchdown machine, Shaun Alexander, is without a contract and has made noises about wanting out of town.

Alexander's backup, Maurice Morris, has rushed for just 518 yards in three seasons. The No. 3 back, Toronto native Kerry Carter, has had just seven carries in two seasons.

The Seahawks also are in need of a kick returner, a perfect opportunity for a rookie and an aspect of the game Lumsden excelled at in his first three seasons at McMaster.

"They seem very serious about bringing me in and they have made it clear they want me back returning kicks," Lumsden said. "If I get that opportunity and get the chance to carry the rock a couple of times (this weekend), I'll be happy."

Lumsden had interest from a handful of teams after not being one of the 255 players drafted on the weekend.

But, in concert with his father Neil and agent Dan Lawson, he decided on Seattle.

The Seahawks were familiar with the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Burlington native after flying him to Seattle for a workout. In evaluating the draft, the Lumsden camp also was impressed the Seahawks didn't select or sign any running backs.

"I was really happy that they didn't take anybody above me," Lumsden said. "It showed me they were serious about giving me a shot."

Lumsden wouldn't be human if he wasn't disappointed about going through an anxious weekend undrafted. But having heard all of the reasons why he can't make it to the NFL, the minor setback has only strengthened his resolve.

"(Kansas City running back) Priest Holmes wasn't drafted and he is a star," Lumsden said. "All I need is one person to believe in me and I have that with Seattle.

"It just goes with the rest of the process. This hasn't been a picture-perfect story so far. This is just one more thing that adds to the excitement."


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