RENTON Don’t believe everything you read -- or, in this case, hear. Michael Bennett is playing Sunday night for the first time in six games.
The Seahawks (7-3-1) listed their Pro Bowl defensive end as questionable for Sunday’s showcase game against the Carolina Panthers (4-7) at CenturyLink Field. Then coach Pete Carroll jokingly remarked following Friday’s practice Bennett was “highly questionable,” simply because Carroll does not like answering repeated questions about the status of injuries. But those are almost always Topics A, B and C on Fridays because it’s when the injury report for the Sunday games come out -- and because Friday is the first time in three practices the media gets to ask questions of Seattle’s coach.
Whatever. Bennett’s going to play Sunday.
Carroll said safety Earl Thomas, center Justin Britt, cornerback DeShawn Shead and strongside linebacker Mike Morgan (coming off injured reserve) are the five Seahawks starters also back from injuries and will play against Carolina. Same with backup running back Troymaine Pope. He missed one game with a high-ankle sprain.
Yes, Thomas is back from Buffalo Wild Wings. He, in particular, will be a huge boost. Steven Terrell did fine filling in at free safety last weekend. But Thomas is, of course, a three-time All-Pro regarded as perhaps the best at his position in the sport. He has played 118 out of a possible 119 games -- all starts -- since the Seahawks drafted him in the first round in 2010.
“He did great (this week while practicing fully),” Carroll said. “He was able to do everything to show that he is ready to play.
“DeShawn Shead, too.”
On Thursday, though, Thomas acknowledged about his strained hamstring: “I’m just still battling right now. I really don’t like to talk about it because I know what’s ahead of me (to be able to play for the rest of this season). Hopefully, you know, we’ll see.”
Yes, it will be a different Seahawks team Sunday night than the one that lost 14-5 without all those starters last weekend at Tampa Bay.
We’ll find out Sunday if it will be a better Seahawks team.
“Yeah, it does feel good to have guys coming back,” Carroll said.
“It feels good. These guys are pumped up and looking forward to it.”