Some good news on the injury front for the Seattle Seahawks after this afternoon’s walk-through practice – starting tight end Zach Miller has been taken off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and will begin practicing this week.
Miller has not practiced at all during training camp because of a foot issue, causing concern for Seattle’s depth at the position. Rookie Luke Willson will handle starting duties for a second straight game. Miller will not play against Denver on Saturday.
“Next week will be much more involved,” Carroll said about Miller. “Again, we’ll continue to be very measured at how we bring him back in. But it’s great to have him back. And he’s ready to go.”
On the Percy Harvin front, Carroll said it will take at least a month before the team can figure out a more defined timeline on when or if he returns to the field this season after recent hip surgery.
“We don’t know that yet,” Carroll said. “We just know that the surgeon that did the work, the specialist was thrilled with the way he came back the days after the surgery. And his ability to get range of motion and things were way ahead of schedule.
“So that’s a great sign, from what they told us. ... It’s going to take a good month before you can begin to figure out if he’s even going to have a chance to come roaring back out of it. But it looks like all the signs are very good. So we’ll see what that means. We’re not putting any weeks on it. We don’t know.”
And defensive end Chris Clemons remains on the PUP list – for now.
“He’s still working hard,” Carroll said. “He’s doing good. He’s right in the middle of a rigorous rehab now. He’s on the field cutting and moving, and doing defensive line drills and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know what that means time-wise, but he’s doing well.
“And he’s managing his way through it. He’s not in any pain or discomfort. It’s just a matter of getting his confidence back, and getting him back to full speed before we take him back off the PUP and get him going.”
Running back Christine Michael (back spasms) and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (groin) returned to practice today, but Carroll said he will not know until game time if either player will be available for Saturday’s game against Denver.
Carroll indicated how Michael reacts after today’s practice will help determine if he plays tomorrow.
Defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring) also will be a game-time decision, according to Carroll.
Carroll talked in detail about moving Phil Bates from receiver to fullback. He said that the move was not a reflection on how Bates has performed at receiver, and that the move is considered a long-range project.
Carroll compared Bates to another former college receiver’s successful transition to fullback in the NFL, University of Washington product Marcel Reese.
Bates also was an option quarterback at Ohio University before moving to receiver his final season there.
“He’s a big kid,” Carroll said. “He was 233 pounds when we started this experiment moving him to fullback, and he’ll be 240 in another week. And he’s just a really good, all-around football player. We love that he’s really fast. And he’s a terrific catcher. So if it could work out, then we might be able to develop a player.”
Carroll said that rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill will start at defensive tackle alongside Brandon Mebane, along with working as the nose guard with the third-down pass rush unit.
Carroll said that Hill had another good week of practice. Carroll said that defensive lineman Jaye Howard’s availability still is uncertain for Saturday.
Carroll said that Golden Tate will be first up at kick returns, and Jermaine Kearse will get the first opportunity as the team’s kick returner on Saturday.