Kentwood product Mike Karney meets with Seattle Seahawks, remains free agent | NFL
August 4, 2011 · 9:01 PM
The carpet was pulled from beneath Mike Karney's feet Wednesday afternoon.
Karney, a 1999 Kentwood High graduate and current NFL free agent, flew from his Arizona home Tuesday to meet with the Seattle Seahawks. The 5-foot-11, 260-pound fullback had every intention of signing with his hometown team shortly after passing a physical.
The offer Karney was seeking, the one both he and his agent expected, however, never materialized.
"I was hoping it was going to happen," Karney said by phone Thursday night. "I got a call early in the morning Tuesday by my agent, who told me that a situation came up (in Seattle) where I could go there, take a physical and sign. I was told to pack for training camp and head up. I took the first flight out (Tuesday) and thought that as long as I passed my physical that a deal was going to get done."
As expected, Karney, who turned 30 July 6 and remains in impeccable shape, passed the physical. After meeting with the Seattle brass, a signing appeared imminent, but contrary to some media reports, never happened.
"There was stuff posted online that I signed (with Seattle)," Karney lamented. "I had people I haven't heard from in years calling and congratulating me."
Instead of inking the seven-year veteran, the Seahawks are looking to go young and possibly convert a tight end into the blocking fullback position, Karney said.
"They just converted a couple tight ends to fullback and want to see if they can give them more time," Karney said. "My meeting went extremely well. My physical went well. I think they just want to see if these guys can get it done. If they can't, I think I will be the first guy they call.
"I packed as if I was going to training camp."
Karney has no intentions of retiring just yet, though the former Kentwood High star is aware that he's nearing the end of his playing career. This offseason has been particularly difficult as the NFL lockout has put the future of many players — like Karney — in doubt.
"It has been tough," admitted Karney, whose wife Kim gave birth to the couple's first child, Daxton, six months ago. "The short window of free agency has been tough on me. All that time off ... I haven't been able to communicate with any teams. That's tough to deal with. That normal free-agency period, you get 4-5 months when teams can get to know you. Now (teams) are just throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks."
Karney spent last season with the St. Louis Rams, where he was used sparingly. Karney, who is primarily a blocking fullback, carried the ball six times for 12 yards.
"My biggest fear (before the lockout) was of being washed out," said Karney, who has traditionally run a football camp at French Field every summer, but opted to take this year off due to the birth of his baby boy. "A lot of guys are in my situation right now. There are still 300-400 guys on the street because of the situation. That was the worst-case scenario. And that's basically where I am at right now."
Karney has had conversations with several teams, but had hoped to land in Seattle. It still may happen, but the bruising fullback is willing to sign with any team that will give him an opportunity.
"I am not looking to get paid a big amount. I am looking for a one-year deal," he said. "It would be great to sign with Seattle and be back home.
"Right now, I am down here (in Arizona), staying in shape and waiting for a call."