Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that defensive end Chris Clemons will practice for the first time this season on Wednesday, but will not play in Sunday’s game at Carolina.
“We’re real excited about that,” Carroll said. “He’s had a great preparation to get back. It will be light on Wednesday. But he’s been really busting it, so we’ll just bring him along, and we’re going to take our time.”
Carroll also said that projected starting defensive tackles Brandon Mebane (groin) and Tony McDaniel (groin) will practice on Wednesday.
Michael Bennett also returned to practice after having a procedure done on his toe over the weekend.
Carroll said that defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring) ran pretty well today, and he’s anxious to see how he performs on Wednesday.
Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill (strained bicep) does not have a time table on his return, but Carroll maintained that he’s still expected to be out for just a short period of time.
“I was with him today, and he’s feeling way better, and he’s getting closer,” Carroll said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be, but it’s not going to be a long time before he has a chance to get back.”
With all the injuries up front, recent addition D’Anthony Thomas, who is wearing No. 94, will get an opportunity to contribute.
“We were looking for a little depth here, and a guy who could battle for us,” Carroll said. “We liked his movement. And he could understand our system. He got indoctrinated a little bit from his other camp. He looked active enough that he could help us, and he’s active and fit. So we’re a little bit knocked up at the defensive line spot, and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a guy who can play.”
Carroll addressed the tough decision he had to make in cutting down the roster, including letting veterans like Michael Robinson and Antoine Winfield go.
“It was very difficult,” he said. “We had a lot of tough decisions, and Mike was one of them. Mike’s been with us for a long time. All these guys that left hurt us in a sense. They bought in and given us everything they had. And Mike was a very instrumental guy on this football team as we come along, so they’re all tough decisions.”
Robinson’s departure also coincided with the impressive play of second-year pro Derrick Coleman, who not only proved he could be serviceable at fullback, but also showed flashes of being a good special teams player.
Coleman will be Seattle’s starting fullback when Seattle goes with a base formation.
Carroll said the Winfield was beat out by Walter Thurmond for the starting nickel cornerback job. That development, along with the fact that Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell can play nickel, made Winfield expendable.
“He’s a terrific player still today,” Carroll said. “He ran up against Walter Thurmond, and Walter just had a great camp. He did a fantastic job for us. He’s at his very best he’s every been – versatile and all over the special teams units. He’s returning as well, and we’re really excited for him at the nickel spot.”
On losing fourth round selection Chris Harper from the practice squad to San Francisco’s active roster, here’s what Carroll had to say: “We were fortunate enough to get him back on the practice squad. That’s how you go about it, and it’s a gamble that you take. They picked up a good football player.”
On going with two tight ends, Carroll said the team does have some versatility in being able to use Mike Person as a sixth offensive lineman in goal line or short yardage situations.
Rookie offensive lineman Michael Bowie’s shoulder injury turned out less serious than expected.
“The news was really good; he should be out at practice on Wednesday,” Bowie said. “He had an old injury that showed up, and it was a little confusing at the start. But he has a chance to be ready to go for Wednesday’s practice, which is great.”
Carroll said that Sidney Rice (knee) will practice on Wednesday, and Jermaine Kearse will be up first on kick returns.
Also, receiver Stephen Williams (concussion) should practice on Wednesday, a good sign that he could be ready for Sunday’s game.
John Lotulelei switched to No. 58, while defensive end Ty Powell is now wearing No. 46. Tharold Simon switched to No. 27 now that Winston Guy is gone.