After deal goes south, Furney eyes Seahawks

THE STAGE is set for Andrew Furney. On Thursday morning, the 'ol Coug kicker reports to Seattle for minicamp, hoping to convince the defending Super Bowl champs he's worthy of a roster spot. Following the undrafted free agent process, Furney tells he feels fortunate to have this chance... especially after having seen his 'done deal' get snatched away in a matter of minutes.

Furney sat in his home in Burlington on Saturday nervously waiting for the phone to ring. The draft had just ended, and like he expected, Furney did not hear his name called. However, the former WSU kicker, who had been in contact with double-digit NFL teams, including Arizona, Philadelphia, San Diego and many others, knew an undrafted free agent deal could come his way.

And it did.

Furney got a call from an NFL team, whom he asked CF.C to keep private, and reached an agreement to sign as an undrafted free agent. He was ready to pack his bags for his new home and go out and compete for a starting NFL job in 2014.

But then Furney, still riding the high and thinking he was on his way to chase his pro dreams, received a call he was not expecting.

"I got a call from a team that was on my short list of top teams," Furney said. "We reached a deal and we were very excited about everything, but then their specials teams coach called back a little later. He told me that they decided to go in another direction and wanted to bring in a local kid instead of me.

"It was extremely frustrating because to be honest with you, I kind of got screwed there. With kickers, there's so few openings. Free agents, after the draft, sign with teams within probably 20-30 minutes. I thought I was good to go and then when my offer was taken away, I kind of got left behind the magic eight ball."

WITH HIS FUTURE in question, Furney and his agent, Robert Sheets of KRS III Sports Management, went back to the phones and tried to see if there were any options left out there.

"We're filled up," Furney and Sheets were told again and again.

Although his free agent signing options were gone, Furney still had an invite on the table. And the invite, of course, is mini camp with the team he grew up cheering for, the Seattle Seahawks.

"They had offered me that mini camp invite earlier in the day, but we told them we had a free agent deal, so we went with that," Furney said. "When everything fell through we got in contact with them and they said the invite was still there. Thank God it was too because without it, I'd be empty handed right now.

"Believe me when I say I feel blessed to have that mini camp ahead of me, though. The way I look at it, now I've got to take the tough road to make my dreams come true. If I had to do that anywhere, it'd be Seattle. I'm motivated to make it through the preseason and make the team. I know it's going to be a battle, but I'm going in ready to compete."

THERE'S NO DENYING Furney's entering the Seahawks camp with his body backed up against a wall. Seattle just resigned kicker Steven Hauschka to a three-year $9.15 million dollar deal.

The six-year pro had one of the best seasons of any NFL kicker, connecting on 33-of-35 field goal attempts last season and a perfect 44-for-44 on his PATs. Don't think for a second Hauschka's impressive campaign will affect Furney, though. The 5-10, 210-pounder said that being a kicker, your outlook on a day-to-day basis is much different than others.

"Anyone wants to go in an compete for a job right away, but it's tough for a kicker," Furney said. "I had my low point over the weekend and we came out with nothing guaranteed, but there's nothing wrong with that. I can't complain, and for me, it's time for me to turn some heads and show I have what it takes to play at the next level.

"If that's my stage, I'm going to go out and do what I do. I'm playing one day at a time, because that's really what it is for me. If I go out and perform, I get to live another day. That's my outlook on it and I'm very excited for this opportunity."

Furney, who went 16-of-20 for WSU this season, said he's used to the underdog role and he's learned to embrace it.

"If anything, this shows me that God really does have a plan for me," he said. "I've always had people doubt me and I think that helped me at Wazzu. I played with a chip on my shoulder and I know this weekend I'll have to go out and prove myself. I have to go out and fight for it.

"It's funny because I've talked with my family about this too and my new journey is basically how it's always been for me. In high school (Burlington-Edison), I was behind a guy and wasn't supposed to play. At WSU, I arrived there as an unrecruited walk on who was never supposed to see the field. This is my chance to prove people wrong one more time on the big stage."

THAT STAGE IS SET for Furney, who certainly has the resume of an elite college kicker. He ranks third on WSU's all-time list with 47 career fields goals, 130 PATs made and four-made 50-yard or more field goals, highlighted by his 60-yarder against Eastern Washington in 2012.

It wasn't a long one but Cougar football fans also won't soon forget his game-winning FG against USC in week two of 2013, lifting the Cougs to the stunning 10-7 victory at the Coliseum. A tying kick, and later a game winner, against UW in the 2012 Apple Cup will remain fresh in the minds of WSU fans for quite some time as well.

He's made the kicks. He's shown he's clutch in pressure situations. But now he enters this weekend with few believing in him and even less thinking he's got a snow cone's chance in hell to make the team in Seattle. It's a similar situation to his days leading up to his arrival in Pullman.

Things worked out for him then, and now it's up to Furney to provide a similar ending this time around.

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