The Engram-Springs connection

Shawn Springs and Bobby Engram were Seahawks teammates for two seasons (2002-03), and are again on the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team – Springs as the nickel back, Engram as the slot receiver.

They even played against each other after Springs signed with the Washington Redskins in 2004.

But their relationship is even older than that. Much older.

“We go way back,” Engram said. “I hosted Springs when he came to Penn State on his (recruiting) visit.”

That was in 1993, when Springs was a highly recruited all-state player from Springbrook High School in Maryland and Engram was a sophomore-to-be for the Nittany Lions. But Springs opted to go to Ohio State.

“I guess I didn’t do a good enough job,” cracked Engram, now an offensive assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers.

Reminded of that, Springs matched Engram crack for crack, offering, “I wanted to go to Penn State, but my dad didn’t.”

That would be Ron Springs, also an Ohio State alum and former running back for the Dallas Cowboys who died last month following a lengthy illness.

Well aware that the nickel back covers the slot receiver, Engram said, “I could take Springs. That’s a good matchup.”

Springs’ retort: “Tell Bobby he only had two catches on me when we played. He cheated every time we practiced against each other, because he just pushed off all the time.”

Despite taking these can’t-resist shots, there’s also mutual respect in this friendly rivalry that goes back to their college days.

“Bobby’s a good football player,” Springs said. “His footwork is incredible. The little things he did in games. He wasn’t the strongest, or fastest. But the things he did in games to get open were incredible. And the only way you would know it is if you’re a student of the game.

“He would cut you off, so you couldn’t catch up. He would give a little shove as he was coming out of his break. His footwork, body control and toughness were incredible. He was one of the few guys in the NFL I played against that I couldn’t get off his game. He would not waver. He wasn’t scared. I couldn’t intimidate him. I couldn’t get him to talk back. I couldn’t get him frustrated. He was just a rock, man.”

Said Engram: “Shawn is smart, a student of the game. He could make it tough on you. You had to come to work and make your plays.”

Springs’ story is the 20th in a series of articles on the players selected to the 35th Anniversary team. Engram’s story ran last month.

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