Seahawks tight end Zach Miller makes welcome early debut

Staff writerAugust 29, 2013 

Just in time for next week’s regular-season opener at Carolina, Zach Miller got his one and only tune-up: a single series.

The six-play, 80-yard scoring drive to open the Seattle Seahawks’ 22-6 exhibition win over Oakland was the only action Miller saw, but it gave the 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end a taste.

Offseason foot surgery meant Miller spent all but the past two weeks of training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. A few reps in Thursday’s final preseason game had Miller feeling “good to get into a rhythm again.”

Getting the go-ahead from coach Pete Carroll to play ahead of Miller’s projected debut for the regular-season opener against the Carolina Panthers wasn’t easy, but an impressive practice session earned Miller an earlier shot – against his former team, no less.

“I felt really good the last two weeks,” Miller said, “I wanted to get work in before the regular season. Just a little bit helps.”

Miller gelled with the No. 1 offensive unit during his brief appearance. He saw value in the first unit’s strong series as it prepares for the Panthers.

“That gives us a little bit of confidence,” Miller said. “I expect our offense to be explosive this year, so it’s what we should to do start a football game.”

Miller’s return was a welcome sight. Of the five tight ends on the team’s 75-man roster, Miller has the most NFL experience. Backup Sean McGrath saw action in the team’s final four games – two regular-season and two postseason – last season, while Darren Fells, Cooper Helfet and rookie Luke Willson have never appeared in a regular-season game.

Willson made the most of the exhibition season with Miller out, finishing with a team-high eight catches for 82 yards, including four catches for 45 yards Thursday, entering the game after Miller’s one-and-done series.

SNOOP DOGG IN THE HOUSE

Wearing a wolf grey Marshawn Lynch jersey, rapper Snoop Dogg was on the field for pre-game warm-ups Thursday night.

Snoop Dogg was in town to play a concert in Seattle scheduled for the same night as the Seahawks’ game.

The 41-year-old rap star is a friend of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and a fan of USC and the Oakland Raiders growing up.

But even with his favorite teams on the opposing sideline, Snoop Dogg, who now goes by the name of Snoop Lion after his latest reggae music project, showed his support for the Seahawks.

“It was good to see him in 24,” Carroll said. “I thought he might be a little torn because he’s got a little Raider-love going, but Marshawn overwhelmed him with it.”

EXTRA POINTS

Seattle receiver Stephen Williams left the game with a concussion after making a diving grab on a 50-yard catch by Russell Wilson, and did not return. Offensive lineman Michael Bowie suffered a shoulder injury in the first half, and did not return. Fullback Derrick Coleman appeared to suffer an ankle injury in the second half, but returned to the game. Carroll said that offensive lineman Alvin Bailey suffered an injured ankle, and defensive tackle Michael Brooks suffered an injured finger ... Seattle players that were held out included receiver Sidney Rice, running back Lynch, fullback Michael Robinson, defensive end Cliff Avril, defensive tackle Michael Bennett, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, defensive tackle Jordan Hill and Tony McDaniel. ... The Seahawks played a much cleaner game against the Raiders, finishing with eight penalties for 65 yards.

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