Well, sort of.
Six months and 13 days after they lost in the final seconds in Super Bowl 49, the Seahawks play Friday night. And even though it’s just the first of four exhibition games, coach Pete Carroll says “everybody’s playing” against Denver at CenturyLink Field (7 p.m., Ch. 13 in Puget Sound, NFL Network nationally).
He said that multiple times in 5 minutes, in fact, following today’s light, walkthrough practice here in Renton.
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Turns out, not everybody will play.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman has “a little bit of irritation” in the hip-flexor area. He’s sat out the last two practices and won’t play at all against the Broncos.
“We are going to take care of him and make sure he is right for the long haul,” Carroll said of the NFL’s leading interception man (24) since 2011.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, the 2014 fourth-round draft choice from Boston College who has been zooming into the starting defense at outside linebacker in the first two weeks of training camp, also won’t play. He has a strained shoulder, Carroll said, adding it is not the shoulder that ended his rookie season early last year.
New nickel back Will Blackmon won’t play, either. He’s missed the last two practices with a “real slight” groin strain, the coach said.
Marcus Burley is likely to start for Sherman with rookie fifth-round pick Tye Smith in line to get many snaps there, too. Smith and Burley could also be the nickel, fifth defensive backs.
So the “Legion of Boom” will be the “Legion of... Whom?” against the Broncos. The likely starting defensive backs: Cary Williams and Burley as cornerbacks, Steven Terrell and DeShawn Shead as the safeties.
They will be opposing Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler to start; Peyton Manning reportedly will not play.
Russell Wilson definitely will, though. Carroll said his two-time Pro Bowl quarterback who beat Manning in Super Bowl 48 two seasons ago will play “some...you’ll see.” Carroll said his starters don’t even know how long they are going to play. His philosophy for preseason openers is to have his veterans get back to preparing mentally as if they are going to play, a rehearsal for the real deal that begins Sept. 13 at St. Louis.
“We are going to go play football, start it off and get ready,” Carroll said. “It’s important as anything for me, particularly for the first guys, is to get mentally ready. They start practicing to get ready to play. And so them not knowing how much they are going to play is part of it. And you not knowing how much they are going to play is part of that. I want them to go and get ready to get go, and then when we take them out we take them out. I think there is a real process to getting mentally right to play this game at this level that we expect. And this is their first chance to get mentally ready. We are going into it (as) it’s a big deal to us.”
Expect Wilson and most of the starters to play one series or two, though it would still be a surprise if running back and usual exhibition-game chiller Marshawn Lynch plays that much if at all. Earlier this week No. 1 wide receiver Doug Baldwin mentioned getting “four to eight plays” and then watching the remaining three quarters or so Friday.
The most compelling story Friday night could be Jesse Williams. He will play tomorrow night about 2 1/2 months after he had surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center to remove his cancerous kidney.
Williams missed his first two NFL seasons with knee injuries for Seattle. Now this -- and his remarkable return Friday night.
“Jesse’s going. We are going to play Jesse,” Carroll said. “Can you imagine that? What a story. He’s never, never hinted that he wouldn’t make it back and get ready. He’s practiced well. He’ll play -- we’ll control the number of snaps that he plays -- but he’s going to be out there battlin’. I think it’s a great tribute to the kid. He’s a real competitor.”
CHANCELLOR’S HOLDOUT, DAY 14
Kam Chancellor missed his 12th practice and 14th camp day while holding out for more than the $4.55 million he scheduled to earn this year. The Seahawks and general manager John Schneider could fine him in excess of $600,000 now, not that they will.
“The conversations there are ongoing,” Carroll said. “John continues to visit with Kam and his representation. Nothing’s changed at this point.”
DeShawn Shead and Dion Bailey will get much of the time as the fill-in strong safeties tomorrow night. Undrafted rookie Keenan Lambert, Chancellor’s younger brother by four years, will also play there, probably throughout much of the second half.