Russell Wilson warms up about 50 minutes before the Seahawks host Chicago in the third exhibition game (Gregg Bell/Staff writer).
The Seahawks have all healthy players in uniform and available tonight for the third exhibition game, against Chicago at filling-up CenturyLink Field.
Seattle left about a baker’s dozen of veterans home for the exhibition opener at Denver. Last week at home against San Diego, left tackle Russell Okung sat out despite having been back at practice for a week following offseason surgery on his toe and foot.
Okung is expected to play tonight. That would be the first time Seattle has its starting line on the field for a “game” since February’s Super Bowl.
The Seahawks have posted on Twitter that usual outside linebacker K.J. Wright is scheduled to start at middle linebacker while Bobby Wagner remains out with a hamstring injury. That hints that the versatile, valuable Wright, who has played in the middle before during the regular season on a fill-in basis, is the Plan B if Wagner is not ready to start the regular season. Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday the team hopes to have Wagner on the practice field next week.
Chicago says defensive end Jared Allen, the pass-rushing menace formerly with Minnesota whom the Bears signed in the offseason to a $32 million contract, will not play because of a shoulder injury. That means Okung, rookie right tackle Justin Britt and backup tackles Alvin Bailey and Eric Winstrom won’t be getting that challenge tonight.
Carroll said Thursday “it’s time” for Marshawn Lynch to get his first carries of the preseason tonight.
This third week of the preseason is usually the one in which the starters play the most before taking it easy in next week’s exhibition finale. So this is essentially the Seahawks’ first-teamer’s final “dress rehearsal” before they host Green Bay on Sept. 4 to begin the NFL’s regular season.
The list of those “not expected to play” (in numerical order), according to the Seahawks:
WR David Gilreath
WR/PR Bryan Walters
CB A.J. Jefferson
CB Eric Pinkins
LB Horace Miller
LB Bruce Irvin
LB Bobby Wagner
G C.J. Davis
DT Jimmy Staten
DT Michael Brooks
WR Kevin Norwood
None are surprises, as all have been out injured. Walters hasn’t practiced all week after hurting his ribs running fearlessly upfield in traffic on punt returns last week against the Chargers. Sitting out tonight stops the momentum he had gained at the job. Earl Thomas is expected to again be the first man back to return punts early for the Seahawks.