Poona Ford never heard his name called on draft day, but it didn’t stop the Lowcountry legend from making a name for himself on the biggest stage. After three impressive seasons in Seattle, the former Hilton Head Island High and University of Texas defensive lineman cashed in on Tuesday, signing a two-year, incentive-laded contract with the Seahawks that reportedly could earn him up to $14 million.
After going undrafted back in 2018, Ford was acquired by Seattle and impressed immediately in the ensuing preseason, making the 53-man roster and becoming a key cog in the squad’s defensive line. The 25-year-old set career highs in 2020, starting all 16 regular-season games and racking up 40 tackles, including eight for loss along with two sacks.
A prominent force in Pete Carroll’s run defense, Ford’s penetration caused trouble for even the best backs in the league, helping the Seahawks to become the fifth-best against the run in the NFL while earning a third straight playoff appearance.
After dominating at Hilton Head High School under coach BJ Payne, Ford initially committed to play for Charlie Strong at Louisville but followed Strong to Texas, where he put together a remarkable career, earning Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year honors in his senior season. The former Longhorn delivered many stellar performances throughout his time in Austin, shutting down running lanes and forcing key turnovers en route to a 2017 postseason win.
Ford never stopped working at his craft and overcame tremendous adversity on his way to the highest level, beating the odds to land a spot on the Seattle roster. The South Carolinian never forgets his roots, continually supporting the HHIHS program and returning to coach youth camps on the island.
Ford reportedly will receive over $4.4 million in the 2021 season and will have a chance at even more in the following year before free agency in 2023 at the age of 27.
By Wes Kerr