Surely you remember the big revelation on the first day of Seahawks training camp last year. New threat Percy Harvin had a hip injury that might need surgery. Wait, you mean that the guy who cost three draft picks and $26 million guaranteed is broken?
It was giant news at the time. As it was when it turned out his surgery would endanger his entire season. In the end, the team excelled in his absence.
By this time next week, we’ll know a lot more about the 2014 Seahawks, as Friday’s first practice of training camp will be our first look at them in more than a month. And if any Harvin-esque bombshells developed during the Seahawks’ summer vacation, we’ll hear about them.
A couple developments that will intrigue will be how well the rehabilitation of post-surgical Pro Bowl talents has gone since the last minicamp. Safety Kam Chancellor and left tackle Russell Okung are the two most concerning. Chancellor (hip) and Okung (foot) were on the hoof but not participating during OTAs, with their readiness for training camp pending this last month of recovery.
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Coach Pete Carroll’s standard approach is to be cautious and patient when bringing players back from surgery. And there’s no need to rush veteran players like these two.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin is coming back from hip surgery, too, but since it was conducted this spring, he’s not expected to be back as soon as Okung or Chancellor. Irvin’s game is about speed, so a full recovery is crucial to his effectiveness. And while Okung and Chancellor have enough experience at their positions to be able to slip back into the lineup when health permits, Irvin was in his first season at linebacker last year, and could be fairly considered as someone still developing in that role.
Of curiosity, of course, will be the drama that attends back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch conspicuously missed OTAs and sat out minicamp with what was called a sore ankle. Speculation held that the workhorse back is unhappy with his contract. He’s the engine that drives the Seahawks’ run-based offense. But he’s 28, been heavily used, and the Hawks have been stockpiling depth behind him. He gets such limited action during training camp as it is, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a story for either his ankle or his contract situation.
Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith is coming back from ankle surgery, too. And receiver Sidney Rice continues his recovery from knee issues that cost him much of last season. As we look back to last year’s early days in camp, another hot item was Rice’s trip to Switzerland to get treatment for his knee. He ended up having a small impact (15 catches) on the team in a season when the depth and talent of the Seahawks made so many of the big camp concerns fade into minor stories.