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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
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April 17, 2007

So long to Tafoya

Posted by Jose Romero at 6:25 PM

As a reporter I'm in the unique position of having the chance to get to know the athletes and people I write about a little better than what we all see on the field or read and hear in stories and interviews.

Joe Tafoya is one of those players I know slightly better, as per our conversations about everything from the comedy of Carlos Mencia and George Lopez to the fact that I have relatives with his last name to the time when I watched him hold court for Spanish-speaking reporters at media day of Super Bowl XL to the afternoon in San Diego when I met his mother before going to the Seahawks-Chargers exhibition game.

Tafoya, for the past two years a backup defensive end for the Seahawks and one of the team's better special-teams players when he was able to get on the field, is a Seahawk no longer. After he signed a one-year deal to play for the Arizona Cardinals next season, I had to call and congratulate him.

Tafoya wasn't really in the Seahawks' plans after last season, one in which he missed three games with a knee injury but had nine special-teams tackles and two forced fumbles. The team was stacked at his position, especially after Patrick Kerney was signed in free agency and Darryl Tapp was seen as part of the future at end. Tafoya said the Seahawks pledged to talk to him about coming back with the team a couple of weeks into free agency, but nothing materialized, and Tafoya, an unrestricted free agent, decided he couldn't risk waiting for the team to decide what to do.

A good thought, especially with the draft less than two weeks away.

So he took a visit to the Arizona Cardinals and signed last week. And just like that, he is gone.

Well, not quite. Tafoya took part in the Cardinals' three-day voluntary minicamp last week, playing some outside linebacker and rush end under new Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt. Today, he was back in the Seattle area, telling me he wanted to remain a Seahawk.

He has homes in Woodinville and Redmond, both which he will keep. He'll tie up some loose ends in town and then head off to the desert this Sunday, where he played his college football (University of Arizona). Tafoya wants to take part in the Cardinals' workout and conditioning program before the next team camp on May 12.

I wished him well. And I remembered how hard he worked to make the Seahawks' opening-week roster in the two years he was here, and felt happy for him that he got to play in a Super Bowl.




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