The Seattle Seahawks signed Kasen Williams to their active roster last weekend to add depth at receiver and athleticism on special teams.
They also got themselves a neat, rare roster oddity.
The Seahawks now have three former Washington Huskies among the five wide receivers on the active roster: Jermaine Kearse, Kevin Smith and Williams.
“We like those Huskies,” coach Pete Carroll said cheerfully Wednesday, four days before the regular-season finale at Arizona. “We want to get them all out there at the same time if we can. It’s pretty unique.”
Smith had an excited term for it.
“It’s awesome!” he said before practice Wednesday.
Carroll is right that the situation is unique — if you define the criteria tightly enough.
Miami has three offensive linemen from Tennessee. Three New England defensive backs are from Rutgers.
But yes, only the Seahawks have three players from the same school among its receiving corps. And all undrafted free agents, at that.
Of course, those aren’t the common qualities their coach values.
“All good football players,” Carroll said. “They’re versatile guys. They’re tough guys. They’re great to have in the program. They’ve just fit us very well. I think it’s ironic that they’re right across the lake there.”
Kearse played at Lakes High School in Lakewood and UW before becoming a Seahawk in 2012. He has 109 catches over his four seasons. He’s gone from his first rookie minicamp in 2012 catching passes from some rookie third-round pick named Russell Wilson wondering if they’d make it to earning $2.35 million this season. He can become a free agent in March.
Smith was signed by Seattle in 2014 after overcoming a torn knee ligament during his junior season at UW. The Seahawks released him after training camp last year; he finished 2014 loading FedEx trucks in his native Southern California. Smith signed on again in February — and stuck after starring in the preseason on special teams. He has six catches over six games.
Williams signed in June after participating in minicamp on a tryout basis. He also is returning from major injury: a broken leg and foot displacement during his junior season with the Huskies. Seattle signed him to the practice squad at the end of this preseason.
The Seahawks promoted Williams to the active roster Saturday, the same day his alma mater beat Southern Mississippi in the Heart of Dallas Bowl (he said he got to see the end of the game after practice — and the word he’d truly made it into the NFL). Williams made his league debut Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
The newcomer says he has naturally turned to the more experienced Kearse for advice.
“Because it’s the NFL, (some guys assume) it’s going to be big and there’s going to be so much going on,” Williams said. “Jermaine was the guy that pulled me aside and said everything’s going to be the same, just be comfortable, it’s just like practice, blah, blah, blah, blah. He helps in the sense of, like, calming the nerves and taking the pressure off of myself.”
Having two other former Huskies in his position group makes the ride just that much more enjoyable.
“It’s something that we’re going to be able to look back on real appreciative and say that it was pretty cool that we were able to do that,” he said. “But I’m learning a lot from both of these guys — especially Jermaine because he’s been around for so long. It’s just so cool just to represent UW in that fashion and have it be in the receiving corps.”
BENNETT GETS PROCEDURE ON TOE
Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett was away from the team Wednesday to get an injection into his troublesome toe. Carroll said it will take him a couple days to get over that, and his status for Sunday is unknown.
“We don’t know how that’s going to work out until later in the week,” Carroll said. “It could be one that we need to hold him out. We don’t know that yet.”
SWEEZY LATEST WITH CONCUSSION
Starting right guard J.R. Sweezy became the second member of the offensive line with his status in doubt for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. Sweezy missed practice with a previously undisclosed concussion. He played all 72 snaps of last weekend’s loss to the Rams.
Left tackle Russell Okung was a limited participant in practice. He missed last weekend’s game with a strained calf.
Tight end Luke Willson is continuing to go through the concussion protocol after getting hurt during the Rams game. Willson has become the starter with Jimmy Graham out for the season following knee surgery.
Carroll said it would likely be up until Sunday’s game time before the team knows whether Okung or Willson can play. The coach said Willson is making progress each day.
SS Kam Chancellor (pelvis) missed practice again. Carroll doesn’t know if he will be able to play at Arizona. Chancellor has missed the last two games since getting hurt in the first half of the win at Baltimore Dec. 13. … DE Cliff Avril was limited in practice by a back issue.