Seattle Seahawks‘ newly signed tackle Eric Winston has started 119 games in a row. He sits fourth on the list of active players behind Eli Manning (151), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (128) and Philip Rivers (128). He’s healthy and ready for No. 120 against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4. The question remains, will he start?
To begin the summer, it was second-year tackle Michael Bowie competing with second-round pick Justin Britt. Bowie suffered a shoulder injury, prompting the Seahawks to sign Winston July 29 just before putting Bowie on the waived/injured list. Liking his upside and willing to wait a year, the Cleveland Browns signed him.
Now it’s Britt and Winston working for the right tackle spot vacated when Breno Giacomini signed with the New York Jets. The relationship seems more amicable than adversarial with a healthy side of the competition Pete Carroll loves. According to the Seahawks website:
“Any time you become a vet in this league you’ve got an obligation to young guys that come after you to help them and teach them,” Winston said, “and obviously compete against them.”
The pair have been taking turns with the No. 1 offense. As Winston takes Britt’s place on the field, he stops to give some advice.
“Eric is great competition,” Britt said, “but along the way he’s definitely helped me learn some stuff, so it’s great having him here.”
As NFLPA president, Winston has a strong presence of professionalism that benefits a young player.
Winston began his career with the Houston Texans, starting the final seven games of 2006. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 and then played for the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. Since getting his first chance to start, he hasn’t missed once.
He credits his durability to some luck and a dedication to flexibility. When met with an irresistible force, Winston knows you must bend rather than break.
Is Winston worried about his consecutive start streak? No doubt. One man stands in the way of No. 120: Justin Britt.
Are the Seahawks concerned about his streak? I’d hope not at all. They’d love him to leave no doubt that he’s their starting right guard, but no one in the Seahawks’ organization will put a Week 1 win against the Packers in Seattle ahead of the legacy of a freshly signed free agent.
Might as well let him start for the next eleven and half years and go after Brett Favre‘s 297.
So as we approach September, my thoughts are about protecting Russell Wilson and making holes for Seattle runners. I hope Britt wins the job and is a pillar on Seattle’s line for many years. But a bit of me is pulling for Winston to keep his ironman streak alive.