The Seahawks' first day of offensive-versus-defense drills in voluntary organized team activities was more remarkable for who wasn't there (and why) than for who was on the field.
Russell Wilson (along with Mo Kelly, Seahawks vice president of player engagement) took a transcontinental flight to be in Florida Tuesday with recently acquired tight end Jimmy Graham for the funeral of Graham's close mentor Tamara Fox Meyerson. The quarterback was also trying to travel to the funeral for the father of defensive end Cliff Avril.
Wilson, Graham and Avril missed today's on-field work at team headquarters. That left Seattle with third-stringer B.J. Daniels and recently signed free-agent R.J. Archer out of the arena league as the QBs.
The on-field results were a chilling glimpse of what life might be like for these Seahawks if Wilson was away from the offense for longer than a day or two -- which no one can remember happening before today.
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Archer looked good at times -- but at other times threw passes into defenders, including a 1-yard flick into the face (literally, the players weren't wearing helmets) of a defensive lineman that became a tipped interception. Daniels looked a lot like a third-string quarterback. That led to a question afterward to Pete Carroll of whether the team will pursue signing another QB, with usual No. 2 Tarvaris Jackson still an unsigned free agent. Carroll said that was a possibility. Carroll did praise Archer, as he did a couple weeks ago during a minicamp for rookies and first-year players.
Bruce Irvin wasn't there, a week after the linebacker made more noise about where he wants to be after his contract ends following the 2015 season.
Michael Bennett wasn't there, either. The defensive end keeps saying he wants more money one season into his four-year, $28.5 million contract, and staying away from voluntary workouts is about the only way the team can hear his complaints.
I asked Carroll if he takes the no-shows by Irvin and Bennett for what it's worth right now -- namely, it's May.
"Yes," Carroll replied flatly. "Voluntary."
Marshawn Lynch wasn't there. What else is new? Carroll just about shrugged and didn't say anything else about the star running back's customary absence from anything not mandatory.
The two players most notably there: strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Richard Sherman. As of early February there were fears both would need postseason surgery, Chancellor for a medial-collateral injury in his knee and Sherman for his elbow. Neither needed operations and were full go today.
Chancellor said after today's practice this is the best he's felt in any of his five NFL offseasons because he's fresh and already recovered from the previous season because of not having to rehabilitate from a surgery.
"It's a miracle," he said.
Here's more from him:
The rest of the Seahawks not on the field were injury related:
--All-Pro S Earl Thomas, who is recovering from surgery to repair the separated shoulder through which he played the second half of January's NFC championship and all of Super Bowl 49. Thomas was bent at the waist at times during defensive-back drills, like a coach. For a guy who rarely misses a snap in any practice, he must have been squirming watching this one -- even though it's still 3 1/2 months before the games get real. Carroll says he expects Thomas back in time for training camp at the end of July.
--DT Brandon Mebane, torn hamstring in November. Mebane watched the drills and looked like he was a good shape, considering he hasn't played in six months. Carroll praised Mebane's recovery and says the team also expects him back in time for the start of camp.
--WR Paul Richardson, recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he got in the playoff win over Carolina in mid-January. Carroll said there's a chance the 2014 second-round pick will be ready for training camp but that the team will be conservative in bringing him back. Getting back on the field seven months after a torn ACL would be remarkable, to say the least.
--CB Jeremy Lane. Carroll said the torn ACL he got in the first quarter of the Super Bowl Feb. 1 is progressing nicely but the broken arm he got on the same interception return is healing slowly and "is another concern coming up." Carroll mentioned the possibility of Lane being on the field for the start of training camp, but again that would be a dramatic recovery.
--DT Jesse Williams poked his head out of the doorway of team headquarters to watch the start of the workout and seemed in good spirits. Williams was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer. Carroll confirmed after the practice Williams have have surgery on Thursday.
--RB Robert Turbin, recent hip surgery. Carroll said Turbin is recovery well "up north." Could that be Everett? British Columbia? Nome?
--DT Tony McDaniel, unspecified. Carroll wasn't sure what the injury was, but it seems minor.
--RB Rob Smith, FB Will Tukuafu, unspecified injuries. Derrick Coleman, who broke his foot last October warming up for a game in St. Louis, was at fullback with Tukuafu out.
--TE Anthony McCoy, unspecified.
--WRs Chris Matthews and Kevin Norwood sat out with what the coach said were minor injuries. Carroll said both could be on the field tomorrow when this second phase of the offseason workout program continues.