KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Derek Devine is a third-string quarterback in Seattle's preseason camp.
No, not third string for the Seahawks - not yet, anyway. Devine was a backup to a backup at Marshall last season.
Matt Hasselbeck, the Seahawks' Pro Bowl and Super Bowl starter from the 2005 season, often mentions he was never invited to the NFL's scouting combine for 300 or so prospects. But Devine wasn't just passed over for the combine. He was passed over by two guys on his own college team.
What is a guy who threw just eight passes in two years at a losing, mid-major conference school doing throwing next to Hasselbeck during minicamp? Exactly what he thinks he should have been doing for the last two years.
Devine thinks just being on Seattle's preseason roster - the Seahawks like his strong arm - suggests Marshall was wrong about him.
``Sure looks that way,'' he said, after working alone of the field on footwork drills this week.
He wasn't laughing.
It's not unprecedented for a college backup quarterback to make an NFL roster. Matt Cassel, a former bench warmer at Southern California, is entering his third season with New England. But Cassel backed up Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
But third string? From Marshall?
``I think it's a real positive for a young man who could have been discouraged,'' Seahawks quarterback coach Jim Zorn said.
``I mean, these guys are upset if they aren't playing, but he didn't go so far in the tank that he didn't work in the offseason to get to a camp.''
Devine has more confidence than experience. He said he could understand sitting in college behind ``a Vince Young or something, someone who did win, someone who did go to bowl games and did have success.''
``I always felt I could play,'' he said. ``Get with the right coaching staff. Get in the right system. Just get a look, really, that's all it is.''
Oh, he already has a look.
His new teammates love poking fun at the long, blonde hair that waves out of the back of the Wilsonville, Ore., native's helmet. Some call Devine ``Sunshine'' - after Ronnie ``Sunshine'' Bass, the quarterback with a flowing blonde mane in the movie ``Remember the Titans.''
Two weeks after Devine arrived at the Huntington, W.Va., school from Mount San Antonio, Calif., junior college in 2005, coach Bob Pruett retired. In came Mark Snyder, a former assistant at Ohio State. Snyder installed an offense in which the quarterback was a runner, not a passer.
And ``that obviously wasn't what I was best at,'' Devine said.
So Bernard Morris, a year younger than Devine, started ahead of Jimmy Skinner. Yet Devine stayed.
``The thing was, the first year we won four games. So I figured, they're probably not going to stick with this kid again,'' he said. ``They said everything was open. Stuff wasn't open.''
Last winter, Devine sent a DVD of his work to all 32 NFL teams. Seattle, Jacksonville and Minnesota responded.
But what was on the DVD for a guy who never played in college?
``My JUCO film and scrimmage film from Marshall,'' Devine said.
Turns out, the same Marshall coaches who buried him on the depth chart talked Devine up to Seahawks scouts. And when Devine came home to participate in a pro day workout at Oregon, he wowed scouts from 28 NFL teams who saw him throw darts to other, more known prospects like Jordan Kent, an eventual Seahawks draft pick.
When coach Mike Holmgren told general manager Tim Ruskell that he wanted a couple of more passers for preseason camps, Seattle signed Devine to a two-year contract.
Devine may eventually challenge David Greene, the third-round pick in 2005 from Georgia whom the Seahawks had hoped would have advanced further by now, for the No. 3 job. But he is getting limited chances so far. As the offenses and defenses scrimmaged for the last 45 minutes or so of practice, Devine didn't get a snap. He stood near a dry erase board than a staffer was using to show each play that was being run.
``They are trying to win a Super Bowl here, so you take what you can get,'' Devine said.
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