Sports

Seattle running backs Michael, Rawls on regular-season roster ... for now

Undrafted running back Thomas Rawls has impressed this preseason with the Seahawks, including the final exhibition game where he rushed for 87 yards against the Raiders. He made the 53-man roster Saturday.
Undrafted running back Thomas Rawls has impressed this preseason with the Seahawks, including the final exhibition game where he rushed for 87 yards against the Raiders. He made the 53-man roster Saturday. The Associated Press

Rarely has the caveat “initial” applied more to the Seahawks’ 53-man roster for the start of a regular season than it does now.

A likely waiver claim could be part of the reason Seattle kept undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls on the 53-man roster it settled Saturday afternoon for the start of the regular season. Rawls rushed for 87 yards Thursday in the exhibition finale against Oakland and likely would have had a team claim him on waivers.

But Rawls may not last on this initial regular-season roster. Friday night a league source said the Seahawks were likely to finalize a one-year contract for free-agent running back Fred Jackson by the end of this holiday weekend. When they do, the team will need to release one more player to make roster room for Buffalo’s former lead runner and Marshawn Lynch’s good pal.

Christine Michael drives coaches — and many fans — batty with his fumbling, holding the ball in the wrong arm, missed assignments, pouting, etc. Yet the second-round pick in 2013 is still on the team because of his undeniable physical skills and cuts he made like an exquisite one outside left for 27 yards on a run last weekend at San Diego.

Seattle kept nine offensive linemen, including line coach Tom Cable’s latest favorite project he’s converted from being a defensive lineman. Rookie Kristjan Sokoli, a defensive tackle at the University of Buffalo through last season, became one of the first, if not the first, Albanian-born player on an NFL regular-season roster.

To make room for all the linemen the Seahawks kept six wide receivers, one fewer than last season. That decision and the versatility of B.J. Daniels also being able to play quarterback and special teams is why he is on the team and former University of Washington wide receivers Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams got waived. Both former Huskies could get on Seattle’s practice squad, but only if no other team claims either one before the league’s waiver deadline Sunday.

Ricardo Lockette made the team because he is better and more experienced than both Smith and Williams on special teams.

The Seahawks traded a reported fifth-round draft choice next year to Kansas City to acquire safety Kelcie McCray. McCray, who has played for Miami, Tampa Bay and the Chiefs since entering the league out of Arkansas State in 2013, primarily played free safety last season in K.C. He is regarded as a special-teams ace. So the trade may or may not be another sign of the Seahawks moving on from still-holding-out strong safety Kam Chancellor.

Dion Bailey also made the roster. For now, the 2014 undrafted free agent from USC who spent last season injured and then on the practice squad is the starting strong safety in place of Chancellor for the Sept. 13 opener at St. Louis.

The Seahawks terminated the veteran contract of 30-year-old Will Blackmon. That means rookie draft choice Tye Smith from Towson has a chance to be the fifth, “nickel” defensive back in the first game against the Rams — unless McCray emerges upon his arrival for practice Monday.

Beyond Lockette, special teams is also why DeShawn Shead (another potential fill-in for Chancellor at strong safety) and Will Tukuafu are on this initial 53-man roster. Tukuafu was a surprise to some as a second fullback behind a healthy Derrick Coleman. But the fact Tukuafu also played on Seattle’s defensive line last season and is likely to be all over special-teams units again in 2015 is why he stuck.

At least for now, until the team needs to find room for Jackson, that is.

As expected from Friday, Robert Turbin is not on the roster because of his high-ankle sprain. Lynch’s primary backup went on season-ending injured reserve. So did cornerback Mohammed Seisay, who cost Seattle a sixth-round draft choice in 2016 in a trade with Detroit last month. Seisay got hurt in the exhibition finale Thursday.

As suspected, defensive tackle Jesse Williams went on the reserve/non-football-

injury list to end his Seahawks season. Doctors continue to search his body with regular scans to see if the cancer found in his kidney and lymph nodes has spread. The 24-year-old Australian missed his first two NFL season on the Seahawks’ injured-reserve list with knee injuries. He could still reach an injury settlement and play for someone else after a negotiated time, but for now he has more important issues to settle.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 13: Season opener, Seattle at St. Louis, 10 a.m., Ch. 13, 710-AM, 97.3-FM

SEAHAWKS’ MOVES

Terminated Veteran Contract

CB Will Blackmon

TE Anthony McCoy

Waived

LB Tyrell Adams

TE RaShaun Allen

QB R.J. Archer

DE Obum Gwacham

S Keenan Lambert

DT T.Y. McGill

CB Douglas McNeil III

S Ronald Martin, Jr.

G Keavon Milton

S Ryan Murphy

G/C Will Pericak

LB Eric Pinkins

T Terry Poole

LB Alex Singleton

WR Kevin Smith

RB Rod Smith

DE Julius Warmsley

WR Kasen Williams

Placed on Injured Reserve

CB Mohammed Seisay

RB Robert Turbin

Placed on Reserve/

Non-Football Illness

DT Jesse Williams

Physically Unable to Perform

(eligible to return after sixth week of regular season)

Jeremy Lane

Paul Richardson

CURRENT 53-MAN ROSTER

OFFENSE

QB: Russell Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson

RB: Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael, Derrick Coleman, Will Tukuafu, Thomas Rawls

TE: Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet

WR: Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Ricardo Lockette, Chris Matthews, B.J. Daniels

OL: Russell Okung, Justin Britt, Drew Nowak, J.R. Sweezy, Garry Gilliam, Alvin Bailey, Kristjan Sokoli, Patrick Lewis, Mark Glowinski

DEFENSE

DL: Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Jordan Hill, Brandon Mebane, Cassius Marsh, Ahtyba Rubin, Frank Clark, David King, Demarcus Dobbs

LB: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Bruce Irvin, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Brock Coyle, Mike Morgan

CB: Richard Sherman, Cary Williams, Marcus Burley, Tye Smith, Tharold Simon

S: Earl Thomas, Dion Bailey, Kelcie McCray, Steven Terrell, DeShawn Shead

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Steven Hauschka, P Jon Ryan, LS Clint Gresham

Note: S Kam Chancellor is on Reserve/Did Not Report

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