Rookie Safety Saves the Day

Nov. 29, 2004
Nov. 29, 2004

Table of Contents
Nov. 29, 2004

Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
SI Players
Pro Basketball
  • In a spectacular flameout after he retired from tennis, Roscoe Tanner deceived his friends and family and ended up penniless and in jail. Now he hopes to heal the wounds he's inflicted and repay all his debts--but it won't be easy

Inside College Football
Inside Golf
Inside The NFL

Rookie Safety Saves the Day


Seahawks safety Michael Boulware may be a rookie struggling to learn a new position, but he knows plenty about making big plays. His latest--a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown in the final minute against the Dolphins on Sunday--turned a potential defeat into a 24--17 victory and moved Seattle back ahead of the Rams and into first place in the NFC West.

This is an article from the Nov. 29, 2004 issue Original Layout

The Seahawks had planned to make the 6'3", 223-pound Boulware their starting strong safety after selecting him in the second round of the April draft because he had displayed exceptional speed and athleticism as an outside linebacker at Florida State. But Michael, whose older brother Peter is a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Ravens, struggled to learn defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes's system in training camp and never seriously challenged Terreal Bierria for the starting job. Instead, he has played mostly in nickel packages and on special teams.

However, limited playing time hasn't kept Boulware from making an impact. He is tied for the league lead in interceptions among rookies, with four, and three of those have helped seal victories for the Seahawks. His third-quarter pickoff in the opener against the Saints set up an insurance touchdown in a 21--7 win. The next week Boulware intercepted a Bucs pass at the Seattle 15 with 1:11 left in a 10--6 win.

Playing their first game under interim coach Jim Bates, the Dolphins were poised to pull off a major upset on Sunday. They had rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit and had a first down at the Seattle 41 when Boulware stepped in front of an A.J. Feeley slant pass. "That dude is so blessed, it's ridiculous," Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander said. "He's always in the right place at the right time."

COLOR PHOTOMIKE URBAN/SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER/AP (BOULWARE)TURNING THE TIDE Boulware rescued the Seahawks with his last-minute interception return.