You didn’t see it – unless you were one of the few thousand ticket-holders that beat Seattle’s grotesque, 5 p.m. traffic and were inside CenturyLink Field an hour or so before kickoff.
Well before Thursday night’s television broadcast of the Seahawks’ third preseason game against Dallas began, Jimmy Graham took his best step yet toward playing in this regular season.
The star tight end looked fast, fluid and comfortable running routes for Russell Wilson with the first team offense in full pads during pregame warmups. While Graham is not yet ready to play in a game -- and it remains iffy he’ll be ready when the season begins Sept. 11 against Miami -- Thursday’s warmups gave encouraging signs four days short of nine months after he ruptured the patellar tendon in his knee.
Actually, coach Pete Carroll sounded beyond encouraged. As usual.
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“He looked great in pregame. He was flying. He was really fired up,” Carroll said. “He ran a ton of sprints before that workout, with the throwing and the catching and then he took all those plays, and then he took the pregame warmup.
“He was lit up about it afterward. He really felt good and that was a big step for him. I’m excited for him.”
Before Graham took his next, incremental step in his eventual return, he took a few in an old, familiar setting.
Carroll and the Seahawks had the former University of Miami forward, dunker, shot-blocker and rebounder...
...making V cuts and pivots and reactions to the ball recently on a basketball court.
“The idea was to give him a chance to have to make moves that are not controlled,” Carroll said. “You have controlled workouts where you have bags and you’re changing direction and all those kind of things. I thought if he would just feel that, it would show him that he’s ready to go to the next level. We just had some fun doing it.”
Then Carroll, who loves to shoot hoops, couldn’t help but throw in: “I had him 3-2, in fact. He didn’t want me to tell you that.
“Then I stopped playing.”
Practices that resume Sunday will be the next indicator how close Graham is to playing in a game. No one expects him to play in Thursday’s preseason finale on the baseball-field dirt at Oakland.