The Seahawks have helped their depth problem at safety while giving rookie Paul Richardson the kickoff -- and maybe punt -- return job.
Seattle released kick and punt returner Bryan Walters of Kirkland today so it could add Terrance Parks off the practice squad to bolster a safety position that had just three healthy players for Sunday's game against Oakland.
Walters was only on the roster because the Seahawks had decided after Week 1 that All-Pro safety Earl Thomas was too focused on new punt-return duties. Now, with Walters off the roster, Richardson becomes the apparent kickoff returner one week after his 47-yard run back of a Carolina kickoff set up the Seahawks' only points of the first half in the eventual win over the Panthers.
The speedy, second-round draft choice from Colorado has caught punts out of a machine after practices since the summer, but coach Pete Carroll has been reluctant to have the rookie debut in the return game on punts and their inherent traffic and risk.
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Until, perhaps, now.
Other options at punt returner include Richard Sherman, the All-Pro cornerback who did it in a fill-in basis last week when Walters was out with a concussion. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin has experience on kickoff returns.
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Parks was an undrafted rookie in 2012 out of Florida State invited to the Kansas City Chiefs' preseason but cut that August. He didn't play for anyone that 2012 season, then played two games for Hamilton of the Canadian Football League last season. Seattle initially signed him this past February. He has yet to appear in an NFL game.
In an earlier blog post I had written rookie safety Eric Pinkins, activated off the non-football injury list two weeks ago to return to practice only, was on the active roster. He is listed that way on seahawks.com's team roster, but I confirmed Pinkins is not as of now on the 53-man. The Seahawks have one more week to add him to the roster after taking him off the NFI list Oct. 15.