The Seattle Seahawks returned from four days off at the end of the bye week to start preparing for the team’s upcoming game against Chicago.
But one player was conspicuously absent from today’s workout – Deion Branch.
The veteran wide receiver was the discussion of trade speculation last week, and according to several reports had preliminary discussions about the possibility of joining his former team, the New England Patriots.
Branch attended a ceremony at his Alma Mater Louisville over the weekend, where his No. 9 jersey was placed in the Ring of Honor.
Asked about a possible trade to New England, Branch had this to say: “I'm going to leave that to the people that handle that. Right now I'm still a Seattle Seahawk, and whatever happens happens.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll also said little about the whereabouts of his receiver on Monday.
“I gave him a personal day out of here today,” Carroll said. “So he was excused today.”
Asked why he gave Branch a day off, Carroll joked: “It’s personal.”
Asked later about Branch’s absence and if there was uncertainty with his role with the team moving forward, Carroll said: “Not at this point.”
Carroll went on to say at this point he anticipates Branch being at practice on Wednesday, and that there was no redundancy in the receiver group with the recent addition of Brandon Stokley and the rest of the receiving corps.
So as of now, Branch remains a member of the team – until he isn’t. The Seahawks have until the league's trade deadline on Oct. 19 to move Branch.
Offensive lineman Sean Locklear (knee) did not practice today, but Carroll said he’s expected to play on Sunday. Same with Marcus Trufant, who rested a ailing ankle and did not practice.
But offensive lineman Chester Pitts (knee), Ben Hamilton (knee) and Russell Okung (ankle) all made it through today’s practice. Pitts and Hamilton split time at left guard with the first unit.
Carroll said one of things his team needs to work on creating explosive plays in all three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams.
“We’ve got to get to the explosive part of all aspects of our game,” he said. “If you compare it to the wins, that’s what shows up. Without that, it’s difficult to score. So I’m hoping that we’ll see production in special teams that makes a difference in the game. Production on defense that makes a difference and the same on offense.”
Recent addition running back Marshawn Lynch continues to get work with the first unit, and is expected to get significant time against the Bears this week.
“He’s doing all right,” Carroll said. “It makes sense to him. He’s a very bright football player. I see Justin looking over his shoulder and helping him, and Matt giving him a couple cues here and there as far as going to the line of scrimmage. He’s very much into it. I don’t think there’s going to be any problem for him to play a lot this week.”
Carroll said he went down to L.A. for a couple days of rest during the bye week.