Tight end Luke Willson tweeted a goodbye to Seattle on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, he announced where he would be playing next season.
Willson is joining the Detroit Lions and reconnecting with former Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate in the Motor City.
It's a homecoming of sorts for Willson, who grew up just across the Detroit River in LaSalle, Ontario, Canada. The Lions were one of three teams to host Willson on free agent visits over the past week. Willson also made stops with the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Willson actually spoke of how much he would like to play in Detroit if things didn't work out for him to remain in Seattle during the week of the Super Bowl in Minneapolis with Dave "Softy" Mahler. In discussing Earl Thomas telling Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett to "come get me," Willson brought up the allure of playing close to home for him.
"I don't want you to take this the wrong way. I love Seattle and there won't be a happier guy in this world if I'm back for a long-term deal. I would be thrilled," Willson said. "I would love to play in Detroit. I would love it. I grew up 10 minutes from Ford Field, even though I'm Canadian. My mom and dad are there. Like personally, outside of football, playing in Detroit would be awesome for me."
Willson issued a goodbye to Seattle in a Twitter post Tuesday night.
"As my time in Seattle comes to (an) end and I reflect on the past 5 years, I am filled with gratitude. All I can say is thank you," Willson wrote. "Pete Carroll and John Schneider thank you guys for believing in a Canadian kid from Rice University. My coaches especially TE coach Pat McPherson thank you. To everyone involved in the Seahawks organization from my boys in the (equipment) room, to the food services, strength coaches, PR, and the entire 3rd floor of the VMAC thank you. These last 5 years have been a dream come true."
Willson was a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks out of Rice University in 2015. He served as the team's primary backup at tight end and part-time starter due to injuries to Zach Miller and Jimmy Graham. e appeared in 62 games with Seattle and started 37 games. He posted a career-high four receiving touchdowns in 2017. His most productive season came in 2014 after replacing an injured Miller, catching 22 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns.
Willson also caught a crucial two-point conversion in Seattle's frantic come-from-behind victory over the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFC Championship game.
After serving out his initial four-year contract with the Seahawks, Willson re-signed with the team on a one-year deal last year. Seattle changed course at tight end as well in signing former Panthers tight end Ed Dickson to a three-year deal. Both Graham (Green Bay) and Willson won't be with Seattle in 2018.
Seahawks reportedly sign D.J. Fluker:
Seattle added some help to their offensive line on Tuesday with the reported signing of D.J. Fluker.
Fluker was a first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2013 and spent his first four seasons with the team. He signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants last offseason, where he played under new Seahawks offensive line coach Mike Solari.
Fluker played guard in New York and pencils in as a guard in Seattle as well. At 6-foot-5, 345 pounds, Fluker and right tackle Germain Ifedi combine to give the Seahawks some considerable size on the right side of their offensive line. Fixing the ground game has been a primary focus of Seattle's offseason efforts and the addition of Fluker could help assuage some of those problems.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 20: Tight end Jimmy Graham #88 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates his touchdown with teammate Tight end Luke Willson #82 against the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field on November 20, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)