Bruce Irvin says Seahawks limited him: 'I haven't scratched my surface'

A hallmark of NFL free agency is a player signing with one team and taking some not-so-veiled shots at his old team. How dare they not maximize his talent to the point they were willing to let him leave!

Two examples popped up on Tuesday, with new Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace forgetting he was cut by the Vikings and taking a moment to bash Teddy Bridgewater.

Former Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, now with the Raiders, pointed out on Sirius XM Radio how the Seattle defensive system was holding him back. 

"I honestly felt if I stayed in [Seattle’s] system, I don’t think I would ever be the player I think I can be in this league, being a pass rusher. SAM outside linebacker is cool," Irvin said. "But you can do your job the whole game at SAM linebacker and you have two tackles. I just want to be utilized more and get put in position more to make plays. I really think Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton are going to do a great of allowing me to do that."

Part of the problem, Irvin said, was dealing with more rushers coming in and being pushed into a linebacker role, where he was forced to play more coverage. 

Bruce Irvin thinks he was underutilized in Seattle's system. (USATSI)

"I was drafted to be a pass rusher. The situation in Seattle, they brought in Cliff Avril my second year and Michael Bennett," Irvin said. And I was kind of pushed into a linebacker role, which I didn’t complain. I just went with the flow. But I think Jack Del Rio and Coach Norton are really going to let me rush more. I don’t have a problem rushing, but I prefer to go forward more than I go backwards.

"Coach Del Rio watched film on me and he said he noticed I’m in coverage a lot. And he said that’s one of the things he wanted to change, was having me go forward more than I go backward."

Irvin, who signed a four-year, big-money deal with Oakland, also added he hasn't even "scratched the surface" in terms of his production as a pass rusher.

"I haven’t even scratched what I know I can do. Like I said, Seattle kind of limited me in that defense. I did the best I could do, but I haven’t scratched my surface. I’m far from it," Irvin said. "I feel like I got a lot more great years and a lot more to prove. The money is cool. Everyone wants to be paid, but at the end of the day it’s about the last name on the jersey and the legacy you’re going to leave."

Irvin's an interesting case -- drafted in 2012 as somewhat of a surprise first-round pick for Seattle, he was set up to be a guy the Seahawks used as terrifying force off the edge on obvious passing downs.

But he hasn't produced huge numbers (8 sacks his rookie season and never more than 6.5 sacks since) and maybe his role in Seattle had something to do with it. 

Plopping him on the field and telling him to chase the quarterback while the opposing offensive line is also busy concerning themselves with stopping Khalil Mack? That's a terrifying prospect and why there's reason to be excited about Irvin's potential improvement in Oakland.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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