RENTON – Deon Butler understands that Sunday at Arizona is his last chance to impress the Seattle Seahawks coaches until the team’s offseason program starts in March.
A third-round draft pick out of Penn State in 2009, Butler got a late start this season because of a broken leg suffered in 2010. He started on the physically unable to perform list before returning midway through the season.
But because receivers Sidney Rice, Kris Durham and Mike Williams all landed on the season-ending injured reserve list, Butler has been one of five active receivers the past four games.
And although he has only five catches for 40 yards, Butler has started the process of earning the trust of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson – something he hopes to build on through more offseason work.
“Every game I feel like I’m just getting back to being myself,” he said. “It was good for me to actually get a good hit in last week like that, so that was the next step. And just knowing that I feel like I’m fully back right now, and I feel comfortable out there.”
And Butler’s hard work in practice and in games has not gone unnoticed.
“He has big-play capability and speed,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “He’s another guy where you can kind of see him starting to get involved in the offense a little bit as well.”
Butler proved he could contribute during his second season with the Seahawks. Before suffering a gruesome broken leg in the final minutes of Seattle’s 40-21 loss at San Francisco on Dec. 12, 2010, Butler started eight of 13 games, finished second on the team with 36 receptions for 385 yards, and tied for the team lead with four touchdowns.
And Butler knows he has a final chance to prove he belongs with the Seahawks’ core group of receivers for 2012.
“You’re only as good as your last film that you put out,” Butler said. “This last part of the season is the only shot I’ve had at the season. I just feel comfortable and I feel good at what I’m doing. And there’s definitely something to look at and build on going into the offseason and OTAs (organized team activities), moving forward from there.”
After taking most of the week off, receiver Ben Obomanu eased coach Pete Carroll’s concerns by making it through the team’s 90-minute workout Friday without any issues with his strained knee.
If Obomanu can play, the Seahawks should have five receivers available Sunday. Obomanu would start at split end, and Golden Tate would start at flanker.
Linebacker David Hawthorne also returned to practice Friday after resting most of the week because of a knee injury, and he should be OK to play Sunday.
Hawthorne and Obomanu are listed as probable.
Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini (abdominal) and defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (calf), who missed practice Thursday, were full participants Friday and should be ready to go – despite being listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.
Also, cornerback Kennard Cox (hamstring), quarterback Jackson (pectoral), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (concussion), linebacker Malcolm Smith (concussion) and safety Jeron Johnson (illness) are all probable.
For Arizona, safety Rashad Johnson (knee), quarterback Kevin Kolb (head), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring), running back Beanie Wells (knee), safety Kerry Rhodes (ankle) and cornerback Patrick Peterson (Achilles tendon) are questionable. Cornerback Michael Adams (shoulder) and safety Sean Considine are probable.
A league spokesman confirmed that Seattle linebacker Adrian Moten was fined $7,500 for a late hit on San Francisco kick returner Kyle Williams. Cornerback Richard Sherman was fined $15,000 for a horsecollar tackle on Niners running back Frank Gore. And running back Marshawn Lynch was fined $10,000 for wearing his Skittles-colored shoes. The fine was Lynch’s second offense in violating the league’s uniform policy. He was fined $5,000 for wearing rave green socks against St. Louis.