Ravens Coach Sends Message to Seahawks After Surprise Cut Backfires

John Harbaugh

Getty Ravens head coach John Harbaugh at FedExField on August 21, 2023.

The Seattle Seahawks continued fine-tuning their roster after cutting the team down to the 53-player league limit last week, and have ruffled some feathers with their latest waiver wire pickups.

Even though the Seahawks have solid depth at cornerback, Seattle still snagged Kyu Blu Kelly off the waiver wire. The move was a major blow for the Baltimore Ravens, who selected Kelly in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh assumed they’d be able to get the young run defender back on their practice squad, but the gamble backfired.

Harbaugh admitted he was disappointed after Kelly, 22, was picked up by the Seahawks. “We were hoping to get Kyu to the practice squad. I’m sure he would’ve come to the practice squad,” Harbaugh said per SI’s David Harrison.

“He was very happy here, but what an opportunity for him to go to Seattle and be on the 53 [-man roster]. I texted him. [I’m] really happy for him, and we’ll be pulling for him.” The Ravens will see Kelly again when Baltimore hosts the Seahawks in Week 9 of the regular season.

In order to make room for Kelly, the Seahawks waived veteran Artie Burns, who was re-signed to the practice squad. During his four years at Stanford, Kelly recorded 147 total tackles, three interceptions, 23 passes defensed, and one forced fumble.

Kyu Blu Kelly Is ‘Such a Seahawky Corner’

Kyu Blu Kelly

GettyFormer Standford corner Kyu Blu Kelly at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 03, 2023.

The Seahawks basically got a bonus fifth-round pick by picking up Kelly, which must be frustrating for Harbaugh. Former Seahawks scout Jimy Nagy, who’s now the director of the Senior Bowl called Kelly “such a Seahawky corner,” on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We had fringe Top-100 grade on Kyu for (the) Senior Bowl, but then he slid on draft day because of a low-4.5 time at (the NFL) Combine. Another good young depth-level player for Hawks secondary.”

Throughout the preseason, Kelly recorded six tackles, including a goal line stop against the Washington Commanders. So, why did the Ravens let him go? Harrison noted, “He also allowed a pair of touchdowns in coverage with quarterbacks posting a 122.1 passer rating when targeting him. This led to his release on Tuesday, opening the door for the Seahawks to put in a claim to acquire him.”

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said of the rookie corner during an press conference on August 30, “We saw him all through the process and I really liked what he looked like as a cover guy. He hits well and reminds me of another Stanford corner I’ve seen back in the day. Kind of long and is really in control, body-control-wise, and all of the stuff. That was really cool.”

Josh McDaniels Wasn’t Thrilled to See the Seahawks Pick Up LB Drake Thomas

Josh McDaniels

GettyRaiders head coach Josh McDaniels at Allegiant Stadium on August 13, 2023.

Harbaugh wasn’t the only NFL head coach the Seahawks bothered with their waiver wire selections. In addition to Kelly, the Seahawks picked up former Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Drake Thomas, which clearly frustrated head coach Josh McDaniel.

“The odds are technically in your favor until they’re not,” McDaniels said. “He was a great kid. He gave us everything he had…He was competitive in the kicking game, competitive on defense. It’s one of those things where you try to create the right 53 and, sometimes, you’re going to miss out on a guy here if you want to keep working with them on the practice squad. I wish him nothing but the best. He’ll do a great job there. They got a good football player.”

The 6-foot, 238-pounder tallied 292 total tackles, 19 sacks, and four interceptions during his four years at NC State. In order to make room for Thomas, the Seahawks released veteran linebacker Jon Rhattigan, who was re-signed to the practice squad.

Carroll said of Thomas’ game, “He hits with everything he’s got. He’s not the biggest guy but brings everything he’s got and is a very effective special teams guy as well. He looks like an exciting guy to add to the mix in hopes that he can find his way into special teams right off the bat and then work his way from there.”