With last season's leading tackler, Bobby Wagner, nursing a sore shoulder, the Seattle Seahawks started a former running back at middle linebacker in their 31-10 thumping of the San Diego Chargers in Thursday night's preseason opener.
Allen Bradford played running back at the University of Southern California for then-coach Pete Carroll. Bradford joined Carroll in Seattle two years ago, spending time on the Seahawks' practice squad while making the transition to defense.
Given the chance Thursday, Bradford picked up where Wagner ended last season, leading the Seahawks in tackles (eight) from his linebacker position.
"The adrenaline was going," Bradford said, per the Tacoma News Tribune. "I don't know if it was nervousness, but I just wanted to do everything right. And sometimes you can't play like that. Even if you're wrong, you have to go 100 miles per hour at it."
Bradford was a two-way player out of high school, and while there were discussions about using him on defense at USC, Carroll made him a running back. Coach changed his mind after claiming the sixth-round draft pick off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011.
At 5-foot-11 and 235 pounds, Bradford has the size and nimbleness needed to play in the middle. He clearly won't threaten Wagner come the regular season, but Bradford proved Thursday he can be a good backup and insurance in case of injury.