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Seahawks sign 10 to future contracts

Phil Bates

The Seahawks have signed 10 players to future contracts, including eight who spent time on the practice squad this season – wide receivers Phil Bates and Bryan Walters, cornerbacks Chandler Fenner and Ron Parker, running back Derrick Coleman, tight end Cooper Helfet, linebacker Kyle Knox and defensive tackle Myles Wade.

Also signed were linebacker Korey Toomer, a fifth-round draft choice last year; and wide receiver Stephen Williams, who was with the Cardinals in training camp last summer but waived/injured in August.

These future signings can be insignificant moves. But in the past two years, players signed by the Seahawks in January included cornerback Brandon Browner, who has become a starter and played in Pro Bowl last year; guard Paul McQuistan, who started all 16 games this season and 10 last season; and wide receiver Charly Martin, who played in four games this season before being placed on injured reserve.


Monday in Hawkville: Pete Carroll connects reality of finale to fun of playoffs

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 31:

Pete Carroll

FOCUS ON

Reality ball and fun. Coach Pete Carroll used both terms today when discussing the Seahawks’ 20-13 victory over the Rams in their regular-season finale on Sunday and their playoff game this week against the Redskins at FedExField.

First, the Rams’ game, which was a return to reality for the Seahawks after they had won by 58, 33 and 29 points in their previous three games: “It was a game that was good for us, in that it was hard and tough and we were behind and had to work our way back. I think that was good after the games that we’ve had, to get back to real football – reality ball, how it can be.”

And how it was, as well. Five of the Seahawks’ first seven victories came by two points (Packers), four points (at the Panthers), one point (Patriots), 10 points (Vikings) and six points in overtime (at the Bears). They also beat the Cowboys by 20 and the Jets by 21.

The win over the Rams didn’t come until quarterback Russell Wilson capped a 90-yard drive by scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:39 to play and cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted Sam Bradford’s fourth-down pass at the goal line with 33 seconds left.

“That’s high odds going against you,” Carroll said of the late scoring drive. “But we got great play. Guys executed beautifully at that time. The quarterback did a great job, made a couple big plays scrambling and running.

“And we scored early enough to give the defense a chance to do their thing, as well. And it was good to see that because we’ve had some issues at times. I think the thing that was exciting for us is that we kind of expected to pull this thing off here at the end.”

Now, the fun that is the reward from winning their final five regular-season games and seven of their past eight to reach the playoffs: “It’s more fun, because of where you are and the focus and all that. There will be a feel about the playoffs, there’s always kind of that air about it. You can sense it. It’s different.

“But the key is not allowing that to factor into what it really takes to prepare well, and not miss the message. They’ll be excited to play and everybody’s going to have great focus this week, just because it is the playoffs. But that’s something we’re trying to create on a regular basis, so when we get to this time we’ve already ‘been-there/done-that.’ ”

The Seahawks advanced to the playoffs in 2010, their first season under Carroll, and knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in a wild-card game in Seattle. They then lost to the Bears in Chicago in the divisional round.

So this Seahawks team is looking to do something no Seahawks team has done since 1983: Win a playoff game on the road.

“It’s about consistency when you get into this opportunity,” Carroll said. “You’ve got to bring what you’ve got. Don’t show up without your stuff on that day. We know how to do that. Now we have to see if we can bring it to life and not get distracted by the fact it’s the playoffs.”

BROWNER RETURNS

Cornerback Brandon Browner returned to the Seahawks today from his four-game suspension.

To clear a roster spot, cornerback Walter Thurmond was placed on injured reserve. Thurmond injured a hamstring in practice earlier this month and has missed the past three games.

“We couldn’t get him over the hump on it,” Carroll said. “He kind of re-tweaked it again last week, and that means it’s going to be a couple of weeks again.”

Browner, an alternate to the Pro Bowl last season who was added to the NFC squad as an injury replacement, started the first 12 games on the right side.

“He’s worked out real hard. His weight’s in good shape,” Carroll said. “He’s still fast and all that. He’s going to have fresh legs. But we’ve got to see how he does. Unfortunately, we have guys that can play. If he’s not quite right or he doesn’t get off to a good start during the week, we’ve got other guys who can play for him.

“But we’re going to give him a heckuva chance to play. We’re thrilled to get him back. We’ll see what happens.”

The club also signed rookie defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga and cornerback Ron Parker to its practice squad.

Meatoga was with the Raiders earlier this season. He fills the spot that opened when linebacker Allen Bradford was signed to the 53-man roster on Friday. With Parker being added, wide receiver Corbin Louks was released. Parker was with the team in training camp, released on the roster cut to 75 players and then signed to the 53-man roster off the Panthers’ practice squad Dec. 5 before being released last Friday.

SIX SEAHAWKS FINISH AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS

Leon Washington finished second in the league and led the NFC in kickoff return average (29.0).

Sherman tied for second in the league in interceptions (eight) and led the team with 24 passes defensed; while Chris Clemons tied for ninth in sacks (11.5) and Bruce Irvin led all rookies in sacks (eight).

Marshawn Lynch slipped to third in the league is rushing when Redskins rookie Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards on Sunday night. Lynch finished the regular season with 1,590 yards, while Morris had 1,613. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson led the league with 2,097. Lynch also was fourth in total yards (1,786) behind Peterson (2,314), the Titans’ Chris Johnson (1,964) and Bucs’ Doug Martin (1,926); tied for sixth in first downs (79); and tied for seventh in scoring among non-kickers (72 points).

Wilson was fourth in the league in passer rating (100.0) behind the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (108.0), Broncos’ Peyton Manning (105.8) and Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (102.4); fifth in fourth-quarter passer rating (102.7); fifth in third-down passer rating (96.2); and eighth in completion percentage (.641).

Jon Ryan was ninth in net punting average (40.8) and tied for seventh in punts inside the 20 (30).

As a team, the Seahawks ranked No. 3 in rushing offense, No. 4 in total defense, No. 6 in passing defense and No. 10 in rushing defense. The offense was No. 17 overall and No. 27 in passing offense. They also were plus-13 in turnover differential, which tied for fifth in the league.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the team in tackles with a franchise rookie-record 140, while linebacker K.J. Wright (96) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (91) finished 2-3. Heath Farwell led the team with 15 special teams tackles.

KING VOTES WILSON, WAGNER FOR ROOKIES OF THE YEAR

Peter King at SI.com has a vote for the NFL awards given each year by the Associated Press, and he tabs Wilson as the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Wagner as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

King on Wilson: “Wilson over Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. Morphing from a laughed-at 5-foot-11, 75th pick in the draft into a tornado-like force at quarterback by December (three games, 150 points, including 42 against the mighty Niners), and playing like Fran Tarkenton with a better arm, Wilson nipped Griffin in my opinion. But if you want either other man, I have zero problem or argument with you.”

King on Wagner: “Bobby Wagner, edging Green Bay cornerback Casey Hayward and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly. Wagner turned a suspect group of Seattle linebackers, the weak point of the Seahawks defense, into a competitive group by being great against the run (more tackles than Patrick Willis) and good dropping into coverage (three interceptions, excellent instincts).”

STAT DU JOUR

We ran the chart of the rookie QBs with the best passer ratings in league history last week, but that was before Wilson and Griffin rewrote it on Sunday. So here’s the new Top 5, with those who fell out of it and the other rookies in this year’s class:

Player, team (year)                                Rating

Robert Griffin III, Redskins (2012)       102.4

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2012)        100.0

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (2004)     98.1

Dan Marino, Dolphins (1983)                 96.0

Greg Cook, Bengals (1969)                      88.3

Dropping out:

Matt Ryan, Falcons (2008)                      87.8

Cam Newton, Panthers (2011)              84.5

Other 2012 rookies:

Nick Foles, Eagles                                     79.1

Andrew Luck, Colts                                  76.5

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins                        76.1

Brandon Weeden, Browns                     72.6

UP NEXT

New Year’s Day, of course. The players had today “off” and will be “off” on Tuesday as well, although many were in today for a workout, treatment or to get a jump on their video preparation for Sunday’s game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Whatever awards come Russell Wilson’s way, we understand it. He’s just such a complete kid. That’s a really cool award for what he’s done off the field. He’s just on on all cylinders hitting it. The players would recognize that. The people in the community would recognize that. And the coaches certainly know that, as well. Anything with Steve Largent’s name on it is pretty cool.” – Carroll on Wilson being voted the Steve Largent Award by his teammates


Brandon Browner rejoins team

Brandon Browner

Cornerback Brandon Browner returned to the Seahawks today from his four-game suspension.

To clear a roster spot, cornerback Walter Thurmond was placed on injured reserve. Thurmond injured a hamstring in practice earlier this month and has missed the past three games.

Browner, an alternate to the Pro Bowl last season who was added to the NFC squad as an injury replacement, started the first 12 games on the right side. He was suspended prior to the Dec. 9 game against the Cardinals.

The club also signed rookie defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga and cornerback Ron Parker to its practice squad.

Meatoga was with the Raiders earlier this season. He fills the spot that opened when linebacker Allen Bradford was signed to the 53-man roster on Friday. With Parker being added, wide receiver Corbin Louks was released. Parker was with the team in training camp, released on the roster cut to 75 players and then signed to the 53-man roster off the Panthers’ practice squad Dec. 5 before being released last Friday.


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Butler re-signed, again

Deon Butler

For the second time in two weeks, wide receiver Deon Butler has been re-signed by the Seahawks.

Butler was with the team the past three seasons, but was released in August on the roster cut to 53 players. He was re-signed on Dec. 15, the day before the Week 15 game against the Bills in Toronto, but released on Monday. Butler was re-signed again this morning.

To clear a roster spot, cornerback Ron Parker was released. Parker was with the Seahawks for two games last season, but was released in August on the roster cut to 75 players. After spending time on the Panthers’ practice squad, Parker was re-signed on Dec. 5.


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Thursday in Hawkville: Wilson, Wagner flaunting their rookie games

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 20:

Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner

FOCUS ON

Rookies of the Year. There’s no question that quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner have been the Seahawks’ offensive and defensive rookies of the year.

You would have to consider their production heading into Sunday night’s bigger-than-big rematch with the NFC West-leading 49ers at CenturyLink Field as beyond impressive for seasoned vets. Wilson has passed for 21 touchdowns, run for 402 yards and three scores and taken the offense to unprecedented heights. Wagner leads the league’s No. 3-ranked defense with 121 tackles and has developed into a productive every-down player, as evidenced by his three interceptions and two sacks.

Not surprisingly, Wilson, who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft, and Wagner, a second-round pick, have played their way into contention for the league rookie honors as well. And each definitely has noticed the contributions of the other to the Seahawks’ 9-5 record.

Wilson on Wagner: “Bobby Wagner has done a tremendous job. He’s one of our leaders on our defense, for him to be able to play at such a high level. He can run around. He can make all the plays. He’s come up with several interceptions already. What he’s doing as a rookie and how he approaches the game, in terms of just getting here early and doing what he needs to do to be successful on Sunday and lead, is really exceptional.”

Wagner on Wilson: “I think Russell should win it. I feel like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, they were kind of deemed rookie of the year before they even set foot on the field or even proved themselves. The stuff Russell has been doing, going out there and performing every week, I feel like he has the numbers. So you can’t be biased just because the hype before those other guys got here. For me it’s like, the first-round guys, you expect them to do that. You didn’t expect Russell to come in and do what he’s done.”

But this stumping for Wilson and Wagner transcends VMAC. In his weekly rookie rankings at ESPN.com, Matt Williamson has elevated Wilson into the top spot (up from No. 3 last week) and lists Wagner at No. 10 – and as the third defensive player behind Packers cornerback Casey Hayward (No. 6) and Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (No. 9).

Williamson on Wilson: “Led by Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and an extremely talented and opportunistic defense, the Seahawks are simply on fire right now. Wilson’s Seahawks have amazingly scored 108 points over the past two weeks, after dismantling the Bills in Toronto. Wilson was his usual efficient self throwing the ball, but he also ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries. Wilson must be strongly considered for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors – and he is now quarterbacking the best team of any of this year’s rookie signal-callers.”

Williamson on Wagner: “Wagner has been on and off the Top 10 all season, and he is an excellent candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. What Seattle’s defense has done of late is nothing short of remarkable, and Wagner is a key component to that great success. Against Buffalo, Wagner had 12 tackles, 10 of them solo. He is an exceptionally productive every-down linebacker on one of the elite defenses in the NFL.”

HAWAII CALLING?

The fans balloting for the Pro Bowl concluded on Monday, and the Seahawks players and coaches cast their votes today. Each segment counts one-third toward selecting the NFC squad for the NFL all-star game on Jan. 27 in Honolulu.

After the fan voting, Marshawn Lynch is second among the NFC running backs (534,073 votes) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (828,225). Richard Sherman is third among the cornerbacks (169,404) to the Bears’ duo of Tim Jennings (312,595) and Charles Tillman (221,364). Leon Washington is third among the kick returners (68,151) behind the Packers’ Randall Cobb (131,626) and Bears’ Devin Hester (102,688).

Kam Chancellor is fourth among the strong safeties (83,310). Jon Ryan is fourth (81,208) among the punters. Max Unger is fifth (116,135) among the centers. Chris Clemons is fifth (159,088) among the defensive ends. Earl Thomas is fifth among the free safeties (63,585).

Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the top vote-getter in fan balloting with 993,045.

The NFC and AFC squads will be announced next Wednesday on the NFL Network.

LYNCH, OKUNG HONORED

Lynch and left tackle Russell Okung have been selected by their teammates as the Seahawks’ NFLPA Pulse Award winners.

The NFL Players Association recognizes players each year for their community service. From the field of team winners, five finalists will be selected and from that group will come the recipient of the Byron Whizzer White Award – the highest honor the NFLPA can bestow on a player. The White Award winner will be announced during a press conference at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Also among the team winners are four former Seahawks: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (Titans), wide receiver Nate Burleson (Lions), defensive lineman Cory Redding (Colts) and linebacker Aaron Curry (Raiders).

JONES OUT, FANGUPO UP, WALTERS IN

With defensive lineman Jason Jones being placed on injured reserve earlier today, it opened a spot on the 53-man roster for practice-squad lineman Hebron Fangupo, which opened a spot on the practice squad for wide receiver Bryan Walters.

“He’s really strong inside,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said of the 6-foot-1, 293-pound Fangupo. “It will be exciting to see, if he has a chance to play.”

Walters, who went to Juanita High School in Kirkland, played in four games for the Chargers last year and was with the Vikings in training camp this summer before being released.

“It’s pretty fun to be able to just be a part of the team you grew up watching and rooting for,” Walters said. “Even when I was on other teams, I was looking at the scoreboard to see the Seahawks’ score.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as released by team:

Did not practice

WR Sidney Rice (foot)

CB Richard Sherman (not injury related)

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

Limited in practice

S Jeron Johnson (groin)

RB Robert Turbin (illness)

Full participation

DT Alan Branch (ankle)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

RB Leon Washington (illness)

With Trufant and Thurmond still out and Sherman excused from practice, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell worked at the corners with the No. 1 defense and Ron Parker joined them as the third corner in the nickel.

Branch and Washington returned after not practicing on Wednesday, while Lynch took part in all phases of practice after being limited on Wednesday.

For the 49ers:

Did not practice

LB Clark Haggans (shoulder)

DT Justin Smith (elbow)

Limited in practice

LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder)

CB Tarell Brown (shoulder)

LB Tavares Gooden (ribs)

WR Mario Manningham (shoulder)

RB Bruce Miller (shoulder)

LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)

DT Will Tukuafu (concussion)

Full participation

K David Akers (pelvis)

OG Alex Boone (knee)

LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder)

S Dashon Goldson (foot)

RB Frank Gore (wrist)

OG Mike Iupati (shoulder)

CB Carlos Rogers (knee)

LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)

Justin Smith did not practice for the second consecutive day because of the elbow he injured in Sunday night’s win over the Patriots in New England.

STAT DU JOUR

Among Wilson’s mounting accomplishments has been his impressive performance in the red zone. The Seahawks’ rookie QB has the NFC’s fifth-best passer rating inside the oppositions’ 20-yard line. Here’s a look at his numbers, and those who rank ahead of him:

Player, team                          Att.  Comp.  Pct.    Yds.   TD   Int.   Rating

Aaron Rodgers, Packers       52       33      63.5    216    18    0      111.9

Drew Brees, Saints                81       50      61.7    359    25    0      111.6

Jay Cutler, Bears                    39       22      56.4    160    10    0      105.8

Robert Griffin III, Redskins   38       23      60.5    100      9    0      104.6

Russell Wilson, Seahawks     51      27       52.9    198   13    0      102.0

UP NEXT

“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the players will hold their final full practice before Sunday night’s game. And don’t forget, the kickoff against the 49ers is 5:20 p.m., not the originally scheduled 1:25 p.m., after the game was flexed into the primetime spot on NBC.

 YOU DON’T SAY, LOCAL EDITION

“It’s going to be a blast. And we know it’s going to be a battle all the way to the very end of the game. We’re excited about that opportunity.” – Wilson on Sunday night’s game

YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL EDITION

“The Seahawks are playing fast-break football in December, and they don’t seem to know they’re not supposed to be hanging a Hawaii 5-0 on opponents. But this week is the ultimate test. If Seattle can put up a stupid number against the 49ers’ stout defense (kind of the way the Patriots did in the second half), then a case of legitimate Super Bowl fever may break out in the Pacific Northwest.” – Don Banks in listing the Seahawks at No. 7 in his weekly NFL power rankings at SI.com


Tuesday in Hawkville: Lane handling life in the fast lane

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 18:

Jeremy Lane

FOCUS ON

Jeremy Lane. It didn’t take the Bills long to see what the rookie cornerback had during Sunday’s game at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

On their second play, and first pass play, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick went to wide receiver T.J. Graham – and at the Seahawks’ sixth-round draft choice. But there was Lane, not only matching Graham stride for stride as they ran up the sideline, but having a better read on the ball than the intended receiver as the pass fell incomplete.

“He did a great job,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They went after him right off the bat and tried to get him and he played a great deep ball.”

Lane, who was making his first NFL start, could be needed again in Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the NFC West-leading 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Carroll is keeping his fingers crossed that Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant will be able to return from the hamstring injuries that have sidelined them – Thurmond for the game against the Bills, Trufant for the past three games.

But when the players begin practicing for the 49ers on Wednesday, it’s likely that Lane will be on the right side and Byron Maxwell will be the nickel back. The coaches also got a good look at Ron Parker, who was just re-signed last week, in the fourth quarter of the 50-17 rout of the Bills.

“All three guys did a good job,” Carroll said. “All of those snaps are just hugely valuable to us in bringing those guys along and getting a feel for them.”

Carroll also gave credit where credit is due – to secondary coach Kris Richard and passing game coordinator Rocky Seto, who were down to their third and fourth options with Lane stepping in for Thurmond, who had stepped in for Trufant, who were needed but unavailable because Brandon Browner is serving a four-game suspension.

“Kris Richard and Rocky Seto are doing a really good job coaching those guys,” Carroll said. “They’re playing with really good technique and again this week they stayed on top like they’re supposed to. They’re gaining confidence. We’re seeing reason to trust them more. And it’s really crucial for us that that’s happening right now.”

McGRATH ADDED TO 53-MAN ROSTER

Sean McGrath’s up-and-down season with the Seahawks spiked today when the practice-squad tight end was signed to the 53-man roster. He replaces tight end Evan Moore, who was released.

Moore was signed in September after tight end Kellen Winslow was released. But Moore caught only one pass for six yards.

McGrath, a rookie free agent from Henderson State, was signed in April after the NFL Draft. He was released on the roster cut to 53 players on Aug. 31, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released two days later. He returned to the practice squad on Sept. 8, was released again on Sept. 27 and then signed again on Oct. 2.

STATS ’N STUFF

Marshawn Lynch remains No. 2 in the league in rushing (1,379 yards). He’s the first Seahawks back to surpass 1,300 yards since Shaun Alexander led the league in rushing with 1,880 yards in 2005, and only the fourth back in franchise history it do it – joining Curt Warner, Chris Warren and Alexander. Lynch also is fourth in the league in total yards (1,542) and tied for seventh in first downs (69).

Leon Washington also remains second in the NFL in kickoff return average (30.0), while Jon Ryan is fifth in net punting average (41.6). Rookie QB Russell Wilson is eighth in passer rating (95.5).

With six interceptions, cornerback Richard Sherman is tied for fourth in the league, and defensive end Chris Clemons is tied for fifth with 11.5 sacks.

As a team, the Seahawks rank No. 3 in the league in overall defense, passing defense and rushing offense. They’re also sixth in turnover differential at plus-11.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, even if they don’t beat the 49ers. According to the scenarios issued by the league, here’s how the Seahawks can get in:

Beat the 49ers.

Tie the 49ers and have the Giants lose and the Bears lose or tie; or the Giants lose and the Vikings lose or tie; or the Bears lose or tie and the Vikings lose or tie; or the Cowboys lose, Redskins win and Bears lose or tie; or the Cowboys lose, the Redskins lose and the Vikings lose or tie.

The Bears, Vikings and Redskins lose; the Bears and Vikings lose, the Cowboys lose or tie and the Redskins tie.

UP NEXT

The players return from having two “off” days to begin practicing for Sunday’s game on “Competition Wednesday.”

Just a reminder: Kickoff for Sunday’s game is 5:20 p.m., not 1:25 p.m., after it was flexed in the primetime spot.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Oh, I realize that the 49ers-New England matchup was supposed to be the most epic event in the history of the free world. But when you consider all the factors, beating Seattle is more paramount.” – San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy


Carroll: With Browner out, Thurmond steps in

Walter Thurmond

Walter Thurmond

Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 2:00 p.m. practice and preparation for their Week 14 home matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

With the four-game suspension announced for cornerback Brandon Browner for violating the League’s policy on performance enhancing substances, Carroll addressed the club’s situation at cornerback, starting with a reiteration of roster moves that the team announced earlier in the day.

In Browner’s place, Carroll said third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond will get the first chance to start. Thurmond was active for the first time this season in the Seahawks’ Week 13 road win over the Chicago Bears, working as the club’s nickel corner in place of the injured Marcus Trufant, who was inactive while rehabbing a hamstring injury.

On Trufant, Carroll said he will continue to rest his hamstring and they will find out more on his status at the end of the week. So with Thurmond sliding over to one of the starting cornerback spots and Trufant’s status uncertain for Week 14, Carroll said rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane will get the first crack as the club’s nickel corner. Lane has impressed this season, successfully downing punts and securing good field position in the “gunner” role on special teams.

Carroll said that second-year cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Ron Parker, who was recently signed to the active roster from the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad, and rookie cornerback DeShawn Shead, who was recently promoted from the club’s practice squad to the active roster, will be in competition for work as the team’s fourth cornerback.

Carroll discussed the move of offensive guard James Carpenter to the reserve/non-football illness list, emphasizing that the former first round draft pick will be fine in the long haul, but with lingering injuries to his knee and having suffered a concussion this year they decided to end his season. Carroll said that no surgery would be required on Carpenter’s knee.

Carroll said wide receiver Sidney Rice passed concussion evaluations and has been cleared to practice today, but will be limited.

“We’re counting on him playing,” Carroll said of Rice.

Linebacker Leroy Hill will also be limited today with an ankle injury. Carroll mentioned that second-year linebacker Malcolm Smith, who played well in place of Hill last Sunday in Chicago, has a chance to challenge Hill for the starting job.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Carroll said of the competition between Hill and Smith.

Carroll said that defensive end Red Bryant will not practice today, insisting that he needs another day of rest for a plantar fasciitis (foot) injury.

Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. And in case you missed it, stay tuned to Seahawks.com for Carroll’s full video press conference.


Browner suspended

Brandon Browner

Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, the league announced today. The suspension begins immediately and Browner will miss the team’s four remaining regular-season games.

The club has taken steps to fortify its secondary by signing cornerback Ron Parker off the Panthers’ practice squad and elevating cornerback DeShawn Shead from its own practice squad. Parker was with the Seahawks for 10 games and played in two last season, after being claimed off waivers from the Raiders. He also was with the team in training camp before being released on the cut to 75 players. Shead, a rookie free agent, was released on the roster cut to 53 players and signed to the practice squad the next day.

To fill Shead’s spot on the practice squad, running back Derrick Coleman was signed. He was with the Vikings in traning camp, but waived in August.

Walter Thurmond is the likely replacement for Browner at left cornerback, starting with Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Thurmond was expected to be the starter at that spot last season, before an injury sidelined him in training camp and opened the door for Browner, who ended up leading the team with six interceptions and playing in the Pro Bowl.

Thurmond began this season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, but was added to the 53-man roster on Nov. 7. He was inactive for his first two games, but replaced an injured Marcus Trufant as the nickel back in Sunday’s victory over the Bears in Chicago.

The Seahawks also have rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane and second-year corner Byron Maxwell.

Browner will be able to rejoin the team on Monday, Dec. 31, the day after the Seahawks’ regular-season finale against the Rams. Browner is eligible to participate in the postseason if the Seahawks qualify.


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 13:

FOCUS ON

Marshawn Lynch. How productive has the Seahawks’ Skittles-back been during his current six-game surge? Best-in-the-league productive.

That’s right. No back in the NFL has rushed for more yards since Week 9 than Lynch.

“No, man,” quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said after Monday night’s victory over the Rams when asked if anything Lynch does anymore surprises him. “I just enjoy watching him, listening to him, just everything. Just being Marshawn.

“He’s a fun guy to be around and his play on the field pretty much speaks for itself.”

Or screams. Just check out what Lynch has done in the past six games: 135 yards and a 5.9-yard average against the Cowboys’ eighth-ranked run defense; 109 yards and a 3.4-yard average against the Ravens’ second-ranked run defense; 88 yards and a 3.3-yard average against the Rams; 111 yards and a 4.6-yard average against the Redskins; 148 yards and a 6.7-yard average against the Eagles; and 115 yards and a 5.0-yard average against the Rams.

Lynch also has scored six rushing touchdowns in this stretch.

Put it all together, and here’s what you get:

Player, team                                     Att.   Yds.   Avg.   TD

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks         151    706    4.7       6

Chris Johnson, Titans                      110    573    5.2       3

Ray Rice, Ravens                              119    540    4.5       5

Michael Bush, Raiders                     136    527    3.9       4

DeMarco Murray, Cowboys            106    497    4.7      1

IN ’N OUT

Cornerback Ron Parker was placed on injured reserve today. He had been claimed off waivers from the Raiders on Oct. 24. The team did not make a move to fill his spot on the 53-man roster.

The club also switched defensive ends on its practice squad, signing John Graves and releasing Keith Darbut, who was just signed last week.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks have strung together six consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards for the first time since 2002-03, and only the fourth time in franchise history during the same season. Here’s a look at their longest runs in this category:

Games       Stretch

12               Last three in 1978, first nine in 1979

9               Last eight in 1977, first game in 1978

9               1979

8               1977

7                1978

7                Last four 1987, first three games 1988

7                Last four games 1997, first three games 1998

6                Last four games 2002, first two games 2003

6                2011

UP NEXT

The players were “off” day today, so the coaches could compile the game plan for Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago. The players return on Wednesday to begin this week’s preparations.

Lynch will sign autographs at the Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field today from 6-7 p.m.

Tickets remain for the Christmas Eve game against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field and can be purchased here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’ve played there a number of times, and everything that you hear is true. It’s one of the great places in this league to play outside, and they generate a ton of noise.” – Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on CenturyLink Field and the 12th MAN crowd to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Monday night’s game


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Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 24:

FOCUS ON

Injuries. They were the major topic during coach Pete Carroll’s day-after news conference, and for good reason.

The Seahawks’ injury list is topped by cornerback Walter Thurmond, who was placed on injured reserve today because the ankle injury he got in Sunday’s loss to the Browns in Cleveland will require surgery. But it also includes:

Marshawn Lynch – The team’s leading rusher did not play against the Browns after experiencing back spasms in pregame warm-ups, and Carroll said it’s a situation Lynch has had for some time.

“He’s a little better than he was,” Carroll said. “We were surprised by that; that it popped up and became such an issue. So we’re going to have to be careful on how we project this right now, because he was OK going into game day. He had some symptoms, but this kind of jumped at us.

“So we’ll have to be careful with him through the week and make sure that we do the right things. He is determined to play for sure in his mind, but we’re really not going to know until we get to the end of the week.”

Lynch’s situation is “not a new issue,” Carroll said, and the club’s trainers and medical staff have been able to manage it.

Tarvaris Jackson – The team’s starting QB sat out the loss to the Browns because of the strained pectoral he got in the pre-bye week game against the Giants. As with Lynch, whether Jackson plays in Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field will be determined by how he makes it through the week.

“We’re just going to start over this week and see where it is,” Carroll said. “We’ll see where he is and see how he can come back. I think it’s going to be all week long and we’ll just take it one day at a time and see where it goes.”

Zach Miller – The team’s starting tight end has what Carroll called a serious concussion. Miller got it against the Giants and did not play against the Browns.

“We’re going to have to wait and see on Zach, too,” Carroll said. “Zach would not be cleared (to practice) today. So Wednesday will be real important. He’ll have all his tests and things to clear.”

Max Unger – The team’s starting center also sat out the Browns game with a foot injury he got against the Giants.

“Max is a lot closer (to returning),” Carroll said. “He’s much better than he was and he’s getting along better. But we won’t know if can do all the pushing and stuff that he has to do to play full speed until probably late in the week.”

Unger. Jackson. Lynch. “We missed some guys right down the middle of the offense,” as Carroll put it. “That’s how it was, and we just tried to play around it.”

Lemuel Jeanpierre made his first NFL start in place of Unger. Charlie Whitehurst made his third NFL start for Jackson. Lynch was replaced by a combination of Leon Washington and Justin Forsett.

PLAYER WATCH

Ron Parker. The rookie cornerback was claimed off waivers to fill Thurmond’s roster spot, although rookie Richard Sherman will take Thurmond’s spot in the starting lineup – as he did after Thurmond fractured an ankle in Sunday’s game.

Parker was with the Seahawks in training camp. After being released he played three games with the Oakland Raiders. The coaches like his size (6-foot, 206) and speed.

“I really liked what he had done for us in camp,” Carroll said. “He’s got a lot of potential. He’s got great speed and is a big, strong kid. So it’s a good deal for us that he was available for us.”

IN ’N OUT

Running back Vai Taua has been re-signed to the practice squad. He was released Friday when linebacker/running back Allen Bradford was signed to the practice squad. Taua fills the spot that opened when safety Chris Maragos was signed off the practice on Saturday.

STAT DU JOUR

The defense’s ability to get off the field on third downs has played a big part in the Seahawks being 2-4. Opponents are converting 36.6 percent of those situations, but there have been some uneven efforts to reach that middle ground. Here’s a look at the opposition’s third-down efforts:

Opponent        Third downs     Pct.

49ers                  1 of 12             .083

Steelers             8 of 15             .533

Cardinals           3 of 14             .214

Falcons              9 of 16             .563

Giants                1 of 12             .083

Browns            12 of 24            .500

UP NEXT

The players are off Tuesday, but will return on Wednesday to begin preparing for Sunday’s game against a 4-2 Bengals team that is coming off its bye week.

Tickets for Sunday’s game against the Bengals can be purchased here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s a process. Put anybody that’s playing right now in their third start and they’re up and down, they’re trying to figure it out. And they learn and grow tremendously from these experiences. And Charlie will. He was surprised that it was this difficult. … It’s just what happens.” – Carroll when asked if Whitehurst’s performance against the Browns was step back in his progression


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