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080311 chase reynolds

Former Montana running back Chase Reynolds signed with the Seattle Seahawks after a Tuesday workout.

While Chase Reynolds was running a shuttle drill in Seattle Tuesday, a few Montana Grizzly fans were jumping the gun.

Reynolds, the Grizzlies' career touchdown leader, signed a 3-year free agent deal with the NFL Seahawks late Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day it seemed like a foregone conclusion for many.

"I was doing my workout and I got back to my phone, and I had all of these text messages congratulating me," Reynolds said. "I was like, ‘Oh, man.' I'm thinking, ‘That's going to suck, if I don't get signed.' "

Seattle made contact with Reynolds' agent, Marc Lillibridge, at around 2 p.m. Monday. The Drummond product, who finished his Griz career with 4,070 rushing yards and 59 touchdowns, boarded a 7:25 p.m. flight out of Missoula.

Tuesday brought the workout.

"It was pretty much a pro day," he said. "I ran the shuttle, the ‘L drill,' and I caught a lot of passes and basically worked my ass off for about 30 minutes. Then I sat around with another guy while they talked for a couple hours."

Meanwhile his phone was blowing up.

"The deal was, ‘We want to work you out and if we like you, we'll sign you,' " said Reynolds. "I just told a couple people that I was coming to Seattle and then everybody was acting like I made the team.

"But they just came down about 20 minutes ago (around 4 p.m.) and said they want to sign me."

Reynolds finally met with team officials and signed what he called the standard rookie contract at around 9:45 p.m.

It's a non-guaranteed deal, meaning Reynolds still has to make the team. The 23-year-old had a pair of spectacular seasons at UM as a sophomore and junior, before a shoulder injury marred his senior campaign.

He still ran for 982 yards in 2010 and was UM's leading receiver with 40 catches. He scored 12 touchdowns, eight on the ground.

His blend of speed and power made him a Walter Payton Award candidate, for the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision, as a junior and senior; the 195-pounder also played special teams as late as his junior season.

The Seahawks won the NFC West last season at 7-9, before knocking off defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans in the playoffs. Seattle currently has five running backs in training camp in Renton, Wash.: Justin Forsett, Chris Henry, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Robinson and Leon Washington.

Forsett, a fifth-year pro who was second on the Seahawks with 523 rushing yards in 2010, is the youngest. Lynch, a sixth-year pro, led the team in rushing with 573 yards.

Seattle has its first preseason game Aug. 11 at San Diego.

Fritz Neighbor can be reached at 523-5247 or at fneighbor@missoulian.com.

 

 

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