RENTON – It has been quite some time since the injury-riddled Seattle Seahawks received good news regarding players’ health.
But they finally were able to get some relief when they learned this week that the knee injuries suffered by middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu and quarterback Charlie Frye on Monday night were not serious.
Tatupu will miss Friday’s exhibition season finale against the Oakland Raiders but should be available for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 7.
Frye could play against Oakland if he needed to, but Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is likely to hold him out and let Seneca Wallace and Dalton Bell run the offense. Starter Matt Hasselbeck continues to nurse a sore back and will not play.
The Frye news was welcome, but the Tatupu report was paramount to the Seahawks’ hopes for this season. He is a three-time Pro Bowl player and the anchor of the defense, making him nearly impossible to replace.
Both players received magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans Tuesday, a day after suffering injuries in the 18-17 exhibition loss to San Diego. Tests revealed nothing beyond bruises, though both players sat out practice Wednesday, the only one the team is having this week.
“Lofa is very important to this football team,” Holmgren said. “In preseason, they have to get ready and they have to go, but you kind of hold your breath the entire time. Last week there were some very good players who were hurt (around the league), and you just hold your breath and hope it doesn’t happen to (your team).”
Meanwhile, the Seahawks signed 38-year-old snapper Jeff Robinson and released Tim Lindsey.
Of more concern is the long-term future of Tyler Schmitt, the team’s sixth-round draft pick who was supposed to solidify a position that created much dismay last season.
Schmitt was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, and Holmgren revealed Wednesday the 22-year-old’s career may be in jeopardy.
“He is a young man and he has a back like mine,” said the 60-year-old Holmgren. “It’s not good.”
Holmgren said the team did not know about Schmitt’s back condition before they drafted him out of San Diego State and gave him a four-year contract.
“We wouldn’t have (drafted him) had we known,” Holmgren said. “At the (scouting) combine, they do a pretty thorough physical … and we do interviews. There wasn’t any indication there was a problem there. We found out about it and tried to treat it and it was the doctor’s opinion it wouldn’t get better.”
Robinson was brought out of retirement last season after neither Derek Rackley nor Boone Stutz could sufficiently do the job.
The team had hoped to make Schmitt its long-term answer, but the job has reverted to Robinson, a native Washingtonian who still lives in the area.
“What a gig he’s got,” Holmgren cracked. “The baby sitting thing is over. He said it crushed him to miss all of training camp. And then he reminded me that he practiced as much as (center) Chris Spencer. He’s a funny guy.”
Spencer, who has missed all of training camp with a sore back, actually worked with the first team in practice Wednesday – though he fell down twice making routine blocks – and Holmgren said he will see his first action of the exhibition season against the Raiders.
Defensive tackle Red Bryant also will play against the Raiders, and Holmgren hopes Bryant returns the form he had early in camp before he tore cartilage in his knee and needed surgery.
“He is a big, strong guy but he is a little bit behind,” Holmgren said of Bryant.
Meanwhile, rookie kicker Brandon Coutu, who missed Monday’s game with a sore groin, returned to practice. He missed a 45-yard field goal into a stiff wind coming off Lake Washington, but so did veteran Olindo Mare.
Defensive tackle Craig Terrill (back), offensive lineman Samuel Gutekunst, receivers Deion Branch and Bobby Engram and defensive lineman Chris Cooper also missed practice. …
The team must trim its roster to 53 by Saturday afternoon. Eight players who clear waivers can be placed on the practice squad.