Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said fullback Mike Robinson and cornerback Byron Maxwell both have second-degree ankle sprains and will not be available this week.
Carroll said because of Robinson’s absence, the Seahawks may look to add a fullback.
Former Rams fullback and Kentwood High graduate Mike Karney could be an option. He had a couple visits with Seattle during training camp but the team never signed him, instead evaluating younger options for the position.
Seattle used tight end Zach Miller as a fullback in running sets against San Francisco on Sunday with Robinson out.
Both Robinson and Maxwell are special teams players, and with that unit’s failures against San Francisco, Carroll said it will be important for his young players to improve this week in preparation for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.
Carroll also said to expect regular starters such as Kam Chancellor and Marcus Trufant to help out there as well.
“Byron did a fantastic job in the preseason,” Carroll said. “He was the star player (on special teams). And so you need a few guys to be the standout guys, and we’ve got to get a couple guys to elevate. Richard Sherman’s done a very nice job. (Matt) McCoy’s been on it and done a good job. Dexter’s (Davis) always been a guy we’ve counted on.”
Linebacker David Hawthorne should be a full participant Wednesday after sitting out the game against the 49ers because of a knee issue. Carroll said he decided to keep Hawthorne out because he wasn’t 100 percent healthy, and didn’t want to risk him getting more seriously injured.
“We were hoping by not playing him this game he should be back to 100 percent,” Carroll said. “He didn’t feel 100 percent at the end of last week. He practiced the whole time, but not to the level that we thought we should go for it. So this week that’s what we’re thinking the situation is – he’ll be able to play.”
The return of offensive lineman Robert Gallery and receiver Sidney Rice are still uncertain, Carroll said. Gallery missed Sunday’s game with a sprained knee, while Rice sat with a sore shoulder. Carroll said he needs to observe both during practice to determine their availability for Sunday.
But if Gallery can play on Sunday, he will start, Carroll said.
If so, that would mean rookie James Carpenter would go back to rotating at right tackle with Breno Giacomini.
LEAVY GETS THE CALL
NFL official Bill Leavy, the referee involved in several controversial calls during Super Bowl XL, is scheduled to be the head official when Seattle plays at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
During training camp last year at an annual officials meeting held with regular beat reporters to discuss rule changes, Leavy admitted to getting two calls incorrect in Seattle’s Super Bowl appearance, a 21-10 loss to the Steelers in 2006.
One of those calls was a low block penalty on Matt Hasselbeck for making a tackle after throwing an interception.
Another was Sean Locklear being called for holding as the Seahawks were driving.
“It was a tough thing for me,” Leavy said. “I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights and I think about it constantly.
“I’ll go to my grave wishing that I’d been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn’t good enough. When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It’s something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl it’s difficult.”
The league office is responsible for assigning officials for the week’s games.
Leavy did not ref a Seahawks game for the rest of Mike Holmgren’s tenure in Seattle after the Super Bowl game.
He was assigned a Seattle game in 2009 at San Francisco. And he also worked Seattle’s exhibition game in Denver this year.