The Seahawks defensive line took another hit Friday when end Marcus Smith, who had 2½ sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 games as a backup the past season, unexpectedly had his contract terminated Friday for personal reasons that coach Pete Carroll declined to specify after practice, ahead of Saturday’s 7 p.m. exhibition in Los Angeles against the Chargers.
“There were some personal reasons that came into it,’’ he said of Smith, 26, who was sufficiently well-regarded in March to have signed a one-year deal worth up to $1.425 million, with $400,000 guaranteed. “He’s been a great kid in the program and, all things considered, that’s as far as I’m going with it.”
Asked whether the decision was mutual or the team’s choice, Carroll said, “It was the right thing to do and he understood and he agreed with it. We talked through the whole thing. I just kind of want to leave it alone because it’s personal stuff.”
A 6-3, 258-pounder from Columbus, GA, who attended Louisville, Smith was strong where the Seahawks are weaker — rushing the passer. In training camp, he was backing up Frank Clark and figured to make the roster as part of a rotation that Carroll emphasizes to keep linemen fresher. He already missed the past two days to deal with what Carroll described as a family matter.
He was the 26th pick in in the first round of the 2014 draft by Philadelphia, which waived him prior to the start of the Eagles’ 2017 camp, when the Seahawks signed him.
Besides the losses of veteran stars Cliff Avril (injury) and Michael Bennett (trade), the Seahawks are missing DE Dion Jordan, of whom much was expected. He has a stress reaction in a shin that has kept him out of camp and may cost him regular season games.
In partial response, the Seahawks signed Erik Walden, 32, a 6-2, 250-pound pass-rushing end who has played for six teams in 12 NFL seasons. Last year he was in Tennessee, where he had four sacks in 16 games, two as a starter.
Carroll wasn’t offering many specifics for his role.
“We’ve got to get him on the field and see,” he said. “We’ve had him in the workout so far. That’s all I know, and I’ve seen him on film. He’s an outside linebacker that rushes in nickel situations.”