Former Duck star Amadi shows he can compete
SEATTLE — Four games into his NFL career, Ugo Amadi is still in a pinch-me, is-it-for-real mood.
"I'm having fun," said the former Oregon safety and current Seattle rookie after the Seahawks' 33-27 loss to New Orleans on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. "I've worked all my life to make it to the NFL. It's a dream come true for me. I'm the first in my family to be a professional athlete as well."
The 5-9, 200-pound native of Nashville is getting a heavy dose of special teams as he fills a spot on Seattle's 53-man roster.
"It's good for me," Amadi said. "I'm getting my feet wet and competing. That's what it's all about here. You compete to the finish."
After a sterling career at Oregon — where as a senior in 2018 he claimed the nation's Lombardi Award, which honors college football's outstanding player/leader — Amadi was drafted in the fourth round by the Seahawks in April. That meant while he would be given every opportunity to win a job, a roster spot wasn't certain.
"That's just been my 'M.O.' all my life," he said. "Growing up, I wasn't always the biggest or strongest, but I just kept at it, kept a chip on my shoulder. I just always put on film the good that God has given me."
Amadi had enough highlights during the preseason to ensure his roster spot, which left him "ecstatic" and coach Pete Carroll appreciative of his talents.
"He has shown special stuff," Carroll said before the regular season started. "He has really jumped out. In every (preseason) game, he has done something good. That stands out in your mind. He is learning and growing like the other players, but he seems to have a knack for doing something."
Amadi played on the punt, punt return and kickoff units against New Orleans. After the Saints' Deonte Harris busted a punt return 53 yards for the game's first touchdown, Amadi — playing the "gunner" position — nailed him for no gain with a "banana tackle" on Harris' second return.
"I had to make that tackle," he said. "Every time I go down on a punt, I feel like I gotta be the guy to make that tackle. (The Saints) had taken one back (for a TD) on us. I was like, 'The next time, I gotta make a play on it, try to get the momentum back for our guys,' and it worked."
Amadi played a little nickel back in Seattle's season-opening 21-20 win over Cincinnati but hasn't seen the field other than special teams since then. He knows this is a year of growth and learning for him, and he is enjoying his time with the Seahawks' organization.
"I like it a lot, and I'm enjoying living (in Seattle)," Amadi said. "A lot of guys have come through here from Oregon. We have a lot of Pac-12 guys on the team this year.
"I came to Oregon at the age of 17. I'm used to the West Coast. I've adapted here. I feel at home."
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