RENTON, Wash. (AP) In a roundabout way, DeShawn Shead is back where he always wanted to be.
When Shead entered the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State it was easier for him to learn the responsibilities and techniques of a cornerback. But his size made him a perfect option to also be a safety in Seattle's system.
After being bounced between the two spots, Shead may have finally found his spot as Seattle's starting right cornerback for now.
''A couple of years ago when I came in I would probably say I would prefer corner because that's what I was familiar with but as time went by and I had a lot more reps at safety and lot more experience at safety now it doesn't matter to me,'' Shead said. ''It doesn't matter whether I'm at corner or I'm at safety as long as I'm on the field to try and make an impact for this team.''
Shead is expected to make his second straight start at cornerback on Sunday when the Seahawks travel to Minnesota. Shead took over in place of Cary Williams midway through Seattle's win over San Francisco two weeks ago and made his second career start at cornerback last week against Pittsburgh.
And it was quite the indoctrination. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 456 yards against Seattle, the most ever allowed by the Seahawks. Shead was matched up on Martavis Bryant, Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton. And the consensus afterward was even with the massive yards put up by the Steelers, Shead more than held his own.
''Just to see him go out there and shine like that, it's just giving me confidence in him,'' Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. ''Playing at middle field, you have to trust both of your corners, because they're asked to do a lot. He held up. He made some big, big plays.''
When training camp began, Shead was one of Seattle's options at safety with starting strong safety Kam Chancellor holding out. Shead started in Week 2 at strong safety before Chancellor's return, giving Seattle the flexibility to start moving Shead around in the secondary.
But making the move permanently to cornerback didn't take hold until two weeks ago. With Williams struggling, Seattle turned to Shead to step in and play opposite Richard Sherman. Against the Steelers alone, Shead was credited with four passes defensed. Williams has four passes defensed all season.
''There's another guy, he steps up for the opportunity. He comes through in a big way and the guys really rally around him,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ''He's just one of our guys dyed in the wool of being a Seahawk. So the fact that he gets that opportunity and comes through in such a big way just speaks to the kind of player he is, the kind of kid he is, and his dedication to the game, and really dedication to being a great teammate, too. He really is that.''
There's no guarantee that Shead stays at cornerback for the long term. His size - 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds - make him an option at any spot in the secondary going forward.
''We've been in some tight spots this year, where we were short on guys. Shead came in and he can play anything,'' Sherman said. ''If one of our (linebackers) went down, I'm sure he could play (middle linebacker) for a couple snaps for us. He's that kind of player.''
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