Meet No. 98: Shamar Stephen looking for spot on new-look Seahawks D-line

RENTON, Wash. - The Seahawks defensive line will look much different this season and Shamar Stephen is hoping to find a place in the rotation.

The veteran defensive tackle was nursing an injury when he first arrived in June but that didn’t stop coaches from speaking highly of him.

“Shamar has made an impression about his work ethic, even though he’s not on the field,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The way he studies, the way he communicates. He’s helped younger guys grow and learn.”

The second former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle signed by the Seahawks this offseason after Tom Johnson, Stephen played at the University of Connecticut from 2009-14.

He was drafted by the Vikings in the seventh round and played in 37 games for Minnesota, making 18 starts and recording 98 tackles over the past four seasons. In 2016 he started every game.

Seattle enters the season with uncertainty along the defensive front with the departures of stalwarts such as Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Stephen will be among those hoping to fill the void and Carroll said he’s doing everything right so far despite the injury.

“He’s made a really good first impression,” Carroll said.