RENTON Turns out, the hip surgery Robert Turbin had this offseason was twice as challenging than previously understood.
The fourth-year backup to Marshawn Lynch as Seattle’s lead running back — the man quarterback and camp roommate Russell Wilson described as “an elite running back” — had a touchdown as the No. 1 rusher in the Seahawks’ scrimmage Saturday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Turbin said later that he had double-hip surgery this offseason, outside the team’s medical staff, at a specialty clinic in Colorado.
Coach Pete Carroll said this spring that Turbin was away “up north” recovering from hip surgery, and that the rehabilitation was in concert with the team’s medical staff and was going well.
Turbin said Saturday that his labrums were torn in both hips. He said the pain began in his second league year, in 2012, then got progressively worse in 2013 and last year.
“I thought, ‘If I’m going to be better, as a football player, I’ve got to find out what’s wrong internally, with my body,” said Turbin, who rushed for 310 yards and caught 16 passes for two touchdowns last season.
He started three times when Lynch’s back was tight at the beginning of games, and had his first career 100-yard game on Dec. 9 in the romp past Arizona. Yet Turbin didn’t feel as great as he looked in flashes spelling Lynch, often in Seattle’s 2-minute offense.
In the offseason, Turbin and his agent sought the advice of specialists at the renowned Steadman Clinic for orthopedics in Vail, Colorado. That’s where he had his surgery and part of his rehabilitation.
The rest of his postoperation work was in his native California.
“Yeah, it’s healed up great now,” Turbin said. “It’s really a credit to the people at the Steadman Clinic and the people I worked with in California.”
August, of course, is Turbin’s prime time. Lynch gets few if any carries each preseason. That leave Turbin and third-year back Christine Michael as the showcased runners in Carroll’s run-first offense during exhibition games — only to then fade into spot, fill-in roles in special packages behind Lynch when the games get real.
What is the source of Turbin’s patience with this annual arrangement — especially entering what for him is a potential contract year?
“You know, it’s just about staying ready,” he said. “This is a very unpredictable game. You never know what’s going to happen. You have to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. You do your job to the best of your ability whenever you get the chance, whether that’s one carry or 14 carries.”
Turbin is entering the final year of his four-year, $2.56 million contract as Seattle’s fourth-round draft choice out of Utah State; he was a college teammate of Bobby Wagner there.
“I’m not concerned with it at all,” Turbin said. “Not the least bit. I’m really just relaxed. I’m just chillin’.
“I know what I’ve done since February up to this point to be ready, so there’s no real reason for me to be tight. I’m just chillin’. I’m doing what I’ve been doing since I was 10 years old, playing the game I love. ... All that other stuff, you know, it always falls where it’s supposed to.”
KASEN WILLIAMS’ BIG DAY
The Seahawks’ first day in full pads featured the most complete scrimmage of the summer, six days before the preseason opener against Denver.
The first-team units faced the second-team squads in work that was full-go — except for no tackling.
The starting offense scored two touchdowns and a field goal. Turbin scored on a 1-yard pass from Russell Wilson and Luke Willson scored on a tumbling catch after a short pass from Wilson.
The first-team defense scored when third-string quarterback R.J. Archer, continuing to look shaky, threw a pass at the goal line that was far too short. New nickel back Will Blackmon intercepted and ran untouched the other way.
Wilson ended the first drive with a way-underthrown ball down the left side, intended for Jimmy Graham, that new cornerback Mohammed Seisay easily intercepted just outside the goal line.
Graham, the towering, new tight end acquired from New Orleans in March, said he was impressed by Wilson. The quarterback pulled him aside to run that same route four more times, to get it and the throw right.
Later in the scrimmage, Wilson threw a pass high over the middle that Graham effortlessly pulled down in front of a flat-footed — and probably awed — rookie free-agent linebacker Tyrell Adams.
“The chemistry’s more than I could ever imagine,” Graham said of his early connection with Wilson.
Wilson said he’s never had a giant, dominant target such as Graham at any level of football.
“Just trying to see what he can do,” Wilson said. “And he can do it all."
Cary Williams, signed in the spring as a free agent from Philadelphia to replace Byron Maxwell as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, made a nice peel-back move that Tarvaris Jackson never saw. Williams intercepted the sideline pass intended for Kasen Williams.
Carroll said after the scrimmage that the starting right cornerback job remains open. But Williams leads Seisay and Tharold Simon — by plenty. Carroll said Simon is due back in “a couple weeks” after offseason shoulder surgery.
Christine Michael had a short rushing touchdown with the second-string offense, for which former University of Washington wide receiver Kasen Williams came up clutch.
The undrafted rookie and former Parade magazine national player of the year at Skyline High School in Sammamish had four catches against the first-team defense. The receptions tied Doug Baldwin for the most in the scrimmage.
Williams’ first catch was his most impressive: a 30-yard sprint past Cary Williams on a go route for the catch.
As Carroll noted again, Kasen Williams’ senior season at UW got derailed by a broken leg and displaced foot bone midway through his junior season. But Carroll said Williams now looks like he did coming out of Skyline, when Carroll was recruiting him for USC.
The exhibition games are going to be huge for Williams, the coach said.
Earl Thomas isn’t likely to be back practicing fully for another couple of weeks, Carroll said. The All-Pro free safety came off the physically-unable-to-perform list Wednesday so he could participate more in the team’s walk-through practices each afternoon, which follow the fuller, morning practices. … Drew Nowak continued to get most of the first-team plays as the center. Carroll said last week if the team had to play a game now, Lemuel Jeanpierre would be the center to replace Max Unger, whom Seattle traded for Graham. But Nowak, the 2014 practice-squad guard and college defensive tackle at Western Michigan four years ago, is getting a long look. The sense is that line coach Tom Cable knows what he has in Jeanpierre, the five-year backup to Unger. He wants to see all he may have at center with Nowak. Nowak had a shotgun snap go off Wilson’s hands for a ruined play. Jeanpierre and Jackson had a mishandled snap, too. … As advertised, Graham and rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett were all over formations, inside and outside as slot and wide receivers. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is going to have options galore with those two. Lockett got targeted twice and had one catch. … Jackson was 8 of 15 in passing in five drives. Those drives ended in punts three times, one interception and Michael’s touchdown run. … Archer was 4 for 9 with two interceptions. Expect the Seahawks to keep auditioning potential third-string QBs, or just be content to have converted-to-wide-receiver B.J. Daniels as the emergency No. 3 passer — if Daniels makes the roster.
FRIDAY: Exhibition, Denver at Seattle, 7 p.m., Ch. 13