A recap of the day’s activities:
Leon Washington. The running back and Pro Bowl kick returner who was acquired in a draft day trade with the New York Jets will take the next huge step in his recovery from a severely broken right leg Saturday night when he plays in the Seahawks’ preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Qwest Field.
Washington sat out the opener against the Tennessee Titans.
“We’re really excited about Leon playing this week,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s had terrific preparation for it. He’s been banged around plenty of times (in practice, been knocked off his feet and been tackled.
“He’s ready to go at this point. We’ll see where he is.”
Ready to go? Washington broke into a huge smile as he offered, “I can’t wait.”
He hasn’t played since last October, when Washington suffered a compound fracture of his fibula as Raiders’ 300-pound defensive tackle Tommy Kelly fell on his leg. Washington needed surgery to place a steel rod in his leg.
“I’d like to see him get a good dose of plays out there so he gets comfortable,” Carroll said. “We’re not going to overdo it, but we certainly want to see what he can do right at this stage. Then we’ll re-evaluate and see where we are.”
Washington was voted to the Pro Bowl as the AFC kick returner in 2008, when he averaged 25.6 yards on kickoffs and 10.4 yards on punts. But Carroll said Washington will not return kickoffs against the Packers.
Walter Thurmond. The cornerback from Oregon is another player coming off a serious injury. With Thurmond, it was tearing three ligaments in his right knee while returning the opening kickoff in the Ducks’ fourth game of the season.
Thurmond continues to wear a brace. But, like Washington, he also continues to impress when on the field.
“He’s just an active, physical kid and he continues to make things happen,” Carroll said. “So that’s a good sign for us and is just another great pick for us.”
The Seahawks got Thurmond in the fourth round of the draft.
“Had he been healthy, we think he would have had a chance to be a very high draft pick with his speed, athleticism and kick-return ability,” Carroll said. “And he’s a very physical kid, too.”
Not to mention tough.
ON THE FIELD
The players had an 80-minute final tune-up this morning for Saturday’s game. The emphasis on “No Repeat Friday” was on everything from personnel groupings for the various special teams units to execution in the red zone for the offense and defense.
THE NEW NO. 95
Defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer, who was obtained in a Monday trade with the San Francisco 49ers, has switched to No. 95. He had been wearing No. 78, but his new number became available when defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson was traded to the Detroit Lions on Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of stuff that went into that,” Carroll of trading Jackson, who played for him at USC and was the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2008. “I love Lawrence Jackson. I’ve known him since he was 14-years old. I care a lot about his future and what he’s doing.
“This is a good opportunity for Lawrence. So we made a deal. John (Schneider, the GM) got a chance to work something out. Hopefully that will work out for Lawrence and we’ll be rooting for him.”
Fans attending Saturday night’s game are reminding that the 520 bridge will be closed. The closure starts at 11 p.m. tonight and the Evergreen Point Bridge will not reopen until 5 a.m. Monday.
STUFF THE BUS
Fans also are asked to donate school supplies for the team’s annual “Stuff the Bus” drive that benefits Communities in Schools of Seattle (CISS). An actual bus will be parked outside the Qwest Field Event Center and collection bins also be located at all gates.
The donated supplies will be given to Seattle schools with the highest percentages of free and reduced lunches. CISS supplied 28 schools with donated items last year. Needed supplies include backpacks, notebooks, crayons, rulers and folders.
YOU DON’T SAY
“If I had to prioritize, I’d put health first and getting some live game reps second.” – quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, on the fine line between playing enough and playing too much in the preseason