Waterford's Hurd agrees to a deal with the Seattle Seahawks
For most prospective National Football League draftees who go undrafted, the wait to sign a free agent contract lasts only a day or two.
In Zach Hurd's case, the wait was three months.
After finishing a UConn career that saw him garner All-Big East honors twice, set a school record for games played and captain a team that made a BCS bowl game for the first time in program history, Hurd finally gets his NFL shot.
Hurd, the 6-foot-7, 321-pound Waterford native, agreed to terms on a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, just a day after the NFL's lockout was lifted and the league opened for business. He left for Seattle on Tuesday afternoon.
Hurd, an offensive lineman who helped the Huskies to a share of the Big East regular season title and a berth in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, was projected to be a mid-to-late-round selection in April's draft, but his name was never called.
"I know that was hard for him because he had a vision of how it's all supposed to be and the only thing I told him when it happened was, in the end, you get to where you need to be," Waterford High coach Mike Ellis said on Tuesday. "Now he's at the point where he has to go play football. He has to go do his thing. Everybody in camp, whether it's someone who was drafted, whatever, it will be the best person who stays. So he's got his chance."
Hurd played in a school-record 53 games in his UConn career and served as one of four captains as a senior. He started all 13 games at right guard last season and started 39 games in a row between left and right guard over his last three years.
"People know what I can do," Hurd said prior to April's draft. "They know my passion and love for the game, and they've seen what I can do on film, which is knock people around.
Seattle selected Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter in the draft's first round and used a third-round pick on Wisconsin offensive guard John Moffitt, who played high school at Notre Dame-West Haven. Six of the teams' other seven picks were on defense.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Seahawks had agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who is expected to sign on Friday, the first day free agents can sign contracts. It was also reported that longtime Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will not return.
Rich Moran, the agent for veteran Seattle offensive guard Stacy Andrews, confirmed his client has been informed he will be released.
Also on Tuesday, UConn linebacker Scott Lutrus agreed to terms with Jacksonville, while long snapper Derek Chard signed with Pittsburgh.
They join four UConn players who were drafted in April - fullback Anthony Sherman (fifth round, Arizona), linebacker Lawrence Wilson (sixth round, Carolina), tailback Jordan Todman (sixth round, San Diego) and linebacker Greg Lloyd (seventh round, Philadelphia).
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The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees, as expected, voted Wednesday to accept an invitation to return its athletic programs to the Big East Conference.
UConn football is on the road to independence and the American Athletic Conference is not feeling any pressure to replace the Huskies when they leave for the Big East.