RENTON – While nursing a nagging calf injury, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane has been impatiently waiting to get back on the field
And after missing a month of football for the first time in his playing career, the former Cal player finally got that opportunity on Wednesday.
“It’s been a learning experience,” Mebane said. “I’ve never really missed four straight games in my entire playing career, period. So things like this happen. And I think it was a test for me, testing whether I was going to give up or keep striving.”
The Seahawks sure could use the 6-foot-1, 320-pound spark plug in the middle of the defense. The ability to effectively stop the run was one of the Seahawks’ strong suits early in the season, but the last two weeks Seattle gave up an average of 218 rushing yards a contest. That dropped them from second to 19th in rushing defense, giving up an overall average of 112.6 yards a contest.
So coach Pete Carroll is pleased to welcome Mebane back to the fold.
“It helps enormously,” Carroll said about having Mebane back. “He’s one of our front-line guys. He’s very active. He’s been a big figure in what we’ve done and we’ve counted on him.”
Mebane said along with rehabilitating his injury, he changed his diet and is drinking more water as a preventive measure to keep him healthy. And although it has been a struggle having to watch from the sideline, Mebane said he looks forward to getting back on the field on Sunday.
“This is what I love to do,” he said. “I’ve wanted to do this since I was like in the third or fourth grade, so this is very exciting for me to get back out there and have that feeling again and make plays, and just being there with my teammates.”
Another player Carroll was happy to see was quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The 35-year-old veteran was cleared to play this week after sitting out last week with lingering concussion symptoms.
Hasselbeck made his presence felt with the first unit by taking command of the huddle and calmly directing the team at the line of scrimmage.
Carroll said the expectation is that Hasselbeck will play on Sunday when Seattle plays at Arizona.
“I think he’s ready,” Carroll said. “He needs to go through the week practicing and make it through just like everybody else does, but I’m anxious to get him back out there and get him back to take over.
“I think Charlie (Whitehurst) will grow enormously from his experience and will be better for it and all that, but Matt’s been our guy and that’s where we’re going.”
OT OKUNG LIMITED
Rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung returned to the practice field on Wednesday but was limited, working through individual and team drills during the first half of practice.
Carroll said he’s hopeful Okung can return from a high ankle sprain that kept him out of action the past two weeks. If Okung can’t go, reserve Tyler Polumbus also returned to practice from a knee sprain that caused him to miss last week, and should be ready to go.
“Russell worked in walk-through today,” Carroll said. “He’ll work through individuals, so we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to take him just one day at a time, one period at a time as he comes back out.”
Tight end Chris Baker (foot), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle), fullback Michael Robinson (hamstring), wide receiver Golden Tate (ankle) and linebacker Lofa Tatupu (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Running back Marshawn Lynch (thigh) and Okung (ankle) were limited participants in practice. Seattle released quarterback Zac Robinson and offensive tackle Breno Giacomini from the active roster this week. With those vacant spots, the Seahawks signed quarterback J.P. Losman and brought back center Chris White to the active roster. Seattle then brought back Giacomini to the practice squad, along with adding Josh Pinkard after he cleared waivers. Pinkard had been on the team’s reserve/nonfootball injury list to begin the season. The Seahawks also cut receiver Pat Williams from the practice squad and added another receiver, Antonio Robinson, out of Nicholls State.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks
Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 13, 97.3-FM