Cory Redding: A Lion or Dancing Bear?

SportsFootballNFLPatrick KerneyMatt HasselbeckHouston TexansJulian Peterson

Was Cory Redding really a Lion?

Now in Seattle, the huge defensive lineman looks more like adancing bear. He's merrily skipping, singing and flying aroundSeahawks training camp.

No wonder Redding has a smile as wide as his mammoth shoulders.The 6-foot-4, 292-pound defensive lineman escaped NFL purgatory -Detroit - in a trade following the only 0-16 season in NFL history.He also left behind years of criticism that he wasn't worth theseven-year contract worth nearly $50 million the Lions gave him in2007.

"The day I got traded felt like I got drafted all over again,"he said, smiling again.

"It was rough. I did a lot of growing up in Detroit. I believewhat I experienced there, good and bad, made me a better person anda better player."

He's also escaped playing exclusively inside, becoming arevelation to the Seahawks at end.

And he's finally fled the training room, where he'd been sincedislocating his knee cap last October.

Yeah, this Texan loves Seattle.

"Man, I'm having fun. Got to enjoy it, man. If not, two-a-dayswould be dog days," Redding said with a deep chuckle, minutesafter he spiced up another practice on Tuesday evening.

"I'm like a young spring rooster again on the barnyard orsomething. I feel good. I feel fresh."

Tuesday, he exhorted the 1,500 or so fans watching practice tomake more noise for the defense during goal-line drills. He skippedinto the huddle to begin team drills.

He pointed to and cheered fellow defensive end Darryl Tapp, thenemphatically ruled a sack should have negated a slow-developing,no-tackling play, on which quarterback Matt Hasselbeck scrambledaround and finally threw a touchdown pass.

Thing is, it's not all just fun with Redding. That's why theSeahawks are thrilled with the former two-time All-Big 12 star atTexas and third-round draft choice in 2003, for whom they tradedfour-time Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson to Detroit in March.

"The guy's a MAN!" new Seahawks coach Jim Mora said. "I thinkhe was a really good addition to this football team, both on thefield because of his size, his stature, his ability, and in thelocker room because of his professionalism."

In a pass-rush drill Tuesday, Redding bowled over rookieoffensive lineman Max Unger, a second-round pick who could start atguard this season. Then Redding ran around Sean Locklear before heflicked the starting tackle to the ground seemingly with just aflick of the wrist.

"Yeaaaaaah!!!" fellow defensive end Patrick Kerney bellowed.

Was Tuesday the full display of what he can bring to a defensethat desperately needs a pass rush if it wants to improve from lastseason's 4-12 debacle?

"Just a little bit," he said coyly. "A little flash here, alittle flash there."

Redding's been so impressive already, five days into camp, hehas moved Kerney, a two-time Pro Bowler, to the other side of thedefensive line and Tapp out of a starting job. The versatileRedding is going to be Seattle's left end on first and seconddowns, a position he hasn't played regularly in four years. He willbe a pass rusher inside on third-down passing situations as adefensive tackle, where the Lions kept him.

Redding missed all of spring minicamps while recovering fromthat dislocated knee cap which occurred Oct. 19, when he tried tochange direction in a game against the Houston Texans. His bodywent left, his leg stayed planted right.

He should have been out for weeks, if not months. But Redding, aLions captain, just popped the knee back into place himself andplayed the final 2½ quarters of that game, plus seven more games.He finally shut it down for good in the final three weeks of thatlost season.

He says at times it seemed he'd never leave Detroit.

So how did he get through 0-16?

"One day, one play, one hour, one second at a time, man," hesaid. "Seriously."

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