RENTON Nothing new about Earl Thomas. He missed another Wednesday practice, for the fifth consecutive game week.
But this is new: Seattle’s All-Pro safety is much more iffy to play than he has been all season.
Thomas continues to rest and get rehabilitation on his strained right hamstring he sustained late in last weekend’s win over Houston. He may not practice until Friday, if then. The Seahawks may not know until pregame warmups before they host Washington on Sunday if Thomas can play.
“No, not yet. We are going to wait a couple days,” coach Pete Carroll said before Wednesday’s practice. “We will see on Friday.”
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Bradley McDougald is readying to make his first Seahawks start.
General manager John Schneider and his personnel staff signed the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter in the spring, to backup both Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor. His coaches have been finding increasing roles for him as a bigger, fifth, “nickel” defensive back inside against big receivers including tight ends.
“I’ve been working to be a starter since I’ve been here,” McDougald said. “So this is nothing different.”
Carroll says the Seahawks are lucky to have him.
“Very fortunately, on our end of it, Bradley has been a starter in the league for years and he’s got the experience, the savvy,” Carroll said. “He is a play maker. He is really tough. He’s a good tackler, and we have spotted him all over the place to do things in coverage as well as the running game. He is just a really, really good football player to be able to set up.
“There is no question. We don’t have any hesitation in him playing or keeping the plan, principles intact or anything of that. This was a guy that we were very fortunate to get in the offseason. John figured this one out early on and he’s been a great addition to our team and now he is ready to go. He is excited about it and I’m anxious to see him play.”
The Seahawks had 10 players sit out practice. That’s not entirely alarming on any November Wednesday after banging for seven games.
Of those, Chancellor, Wagner, Bennett and Freeney seemed like veteran rest and/or maintenance days for nagging aches.
Lane was still returning from Houston after he failed his physical exam following Seattle trading him to the Texans to get left tackle Duane Brown, who debuted in Seahawks practice Wednesday. McDougald acknowledged that the situation of Lane’s return to the team that dealt him away “is definitely different” and that “Jeremy might be at a weird stage.”
My News Tribune colleague John McGrath details how awkward that whole deal is.
“Jeremy Lane is having one hell of a season,” McGrath writes. “With an emphasis on the hell.”
Reed’s concussion listing was new. He was getting praise last week from Carroll for his advancement in his second NFL season inside on the defensive front.
Britt sprained his ankle two games ago in the win at the New York Giants but finished that game while missing only six plays. He played all of last weekend’s win over the Texans. Carroll said his center and 2016 Pro Bowl alternate is OK to play again Sunday.
“He is fine,” the coach said. “We are going to go light on him today just to make sure from the aftermath of the game but he will be fine and ready to play.”
Freeney didn’t practice because he’s 37 and a future Hall-of-Fame pass rusher, and doesn’t have to.