Here are the Seahawks' final cuts to get to 53 players for the start of the regular season Thursday night versus Green Bay:
Terminated Veteran ContractsCB Phillip AdamsT Eric Winston
WaivedTE RaShaun AllenCB Akeem AugusteRB Demitrius BronsonWR Arceto ClarkQB B.J. DanielsG Caylin HauptmannT Nate IslesC Patrick LewisWR Chris MatthewsDE Benson MayowaS Terrance ParksTE Morrell PresleyQB Terrelle PryorDT Andru PuluFB Kiero SmallDT Jimmy StatenS Steven TerrellLB Korey ToomerWR Bryan WaltersRB Spencer Ware
Placed on Injured ReserveDT D’Anthony Smith
The biggest surprise to me is release of Walters, who returned every punt and kickoff in the preseason finale Thursday at Oakland and ran back punts like a daredevil all month. He seems to fill three roles with one player, the kind of value that is at a premium on such a highly competitive roster. He lost out to third-year former Ohio University quarterback Phil Bates to be the last of seven wide receivers on the roster. It means -- as of now -- All-Pro safety Earl Thomas will likely be the primary punt returner Thursday night against Green Bay -- that is, if Seattle does not pick up a punt returner from another team by then.
Keeping seven wide receivers (Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, Ricardo Lockette, Bates and Kevin Norwood) but only three running backs (Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael and Robert Turbin) and one fullback (Derrick Coleman) is indicative of how much more varied outside the Seahawks' offense will be this season.
It's obvious how much the Seahawks value Norwood. He hasn't practiced in a month, yet he's on the active roster. They sent the rookie fourth-round draft choice to get a bone-spur issue in his foot he'd had since his college days at Alabama operated on this month so they'd have him in September and beyond -- not so they'd cut him.
The surprise of the preseason, undrafted rookie Brock Coyle from Montana, has made the Super Bowl champions. His heady play and beyond-his-years leadership running the defense at middle linebacker for the first four weeks of training camp and two exhibition games while Bobby Wagner had a hamstring injury won him a job he wouldn't have had if Wagner hadn't gotten hurt. Ten-year veteran Heath Farwell going on season-ending injured reserve earlier this week cemented Coyle's place on the team.
Bellevue High School graduate Stephen Schilling made the team by impressing veteran offensive-line coach Tom Cable with his versatility playing guard and center this month. Here's why he's particularly happy about being home.
The Seahawks acquired cornerback Marcus Burley from the Indianapolis Colts for a sixth-round draft choice in 2015. Burley was an undrafted free agent in 2013 out of Delaware. He spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars , for whom he was active for one game. The 24-year old is 5-10 and 189 pounds, so a smaller option than Seattle's bigger defensive backs.
As became obvious with how well he played all month, being just plain unblockable at times, O'Brien Schofield won the job at weak-side pass-rush defensive end. That cost 2013 summer star Benson Mayowa his roster spot. I wrote this month how a Giants team doctor left Schofield feeling scorned -- and out of an $8 million, free-agent contract with New York -- for failing him over the possibility he may he arthritis in his reconstructed knee. He now begins a veteran-minimum contact of $730,000 for this one Seahawks season. Him officially making him the team today reminded me of what he told me two weeks ago for him this season: "There's going to be disruption."
Garry Gilliam, 6 feet 5 and 306 pounds, made the team as a backup offensive tackle as an undrafted rookie out of Penn State. He was more than a tad appreciative.
Gilliam tweeted today at @Garry_Gilliam: "I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference. Officially a Seattle Seahawk!! God is so good! #GoHawks"
As a reminder, the term "final" for these regular-season rosters is a misnomer. The Seahawks can claim any player released today off waivers from now until Sunday at 1 p.m. and add them to this roster, after releasing another player.
After 1 p.m. Sunday unclaimed players who are eligible (generally those with fewer than three seasons of NFL service time) could become members of the 10-man practice squad.
Here is the 53-man roster as of right now. The Super Bowl champions have but three players older than 30: QB Tarvaris Jackson, P Jon Ryan, DT Kevin Williams:
Seattle Seahawks 2014 Roster (expected starters listed first)
Quarterbacks (2): Russell Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson
Running backs (3): Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael
Fullbacks (1): Derrick Coleman
Wide receivers (7): Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson (R), Ricardo Lockette, Phil Bates, Kevin Norwood (R)
Tight ends (3): Zach Miller, Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet
Offensive line (9): Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt, Stephen Schilling, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Alvin Bailey, Garry Gilliam (R)
Defensive line (9): Michael Bennett, Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, Cliff Avril, Kevin Williams, O’Brien Schofield, Cassius Marsh (R), Greg Scruggs, Jordan Hill
Linebackers (7): K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, Malcolm Smith, Bruce Irvin, Mike Morgan, Brock Coyle (R), Kevin Pierre-Louis(R)
Cornerbacks (6): Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, Marcus Burley, Tharold Simon, DeShawn Shead
Safeties (3): Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Jeron Johnson
Specialists (3): Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan, Clint Gresham
Bennett's hamstring injury he's had for more than two weeks and Marsh's hip flexor he got in the exhibition finale at Oakland must not be too bad. And Irvin could have gone on the physically-unable-to-perform list to start the regular season, but the Seahawks obviously believe he is about to return to practice for the first time since hip surgery in the spring. Coach Pete Carroll said this week he was "hopeful" the pass-rushing Irvin will return to practice between Sunday and Thursday's opener.
--Lockette tweeted today that the NFL fined him $22,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a Chicago Bears punt returner who was bent at the waist with his head down in the open field of the Seahawks' exhibition game two weeks ago: