RENTON Amid all else going on -- on the in-flux offensive line, plus the No. 1 strong-side linebacker being in Philadelphia seeing a specialist, Kasen Williams, C.J. Prosise and Zac Brooks returning to practice and Kam Chancellor remaining out injured into next week --Thomas Rawls took the next, big step in his return to full go.
Rawls was back in the starting offense Monday during the Seahawks’ training-camp practice. His dozen or so plays were his first on any field since he broke his ankle and tore ligaments December 13.
It was the next milestone in Marshawn Lynch’s replacement as Seattle’s lead runner playing in the season opener Sept. 11 against Miami. And it’s the most positive one yet.
Rawls caught a swing pass from Russell Wilson in team scrimmaging, six days after he came off the physically-unable-to-perform list. What he looked like plus what he told me on the edge of the field afterward suggest he will not only start the season’s first game but it may be tough to keep him out of one of the final two preseason games, Aug. 25 against Dallas and Sept. 1 at Oakland.
“Actually, I think I am ahead of schedule,” Rawls said.
“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling phenomenal. And just getting the energy back out here with the fellas is making me come alive even more. That’s what this Seahawks team does, with so much passion and the energy of the coaches.”
Coach Pete Carroll called Rawls’ return to full participation, plus Prosise and Brooks being back, “a real boost for us.”
“He looked really good,” Carroll said of Rawls. “He’s been working really hard, so this isn’t like he’s been waiting to work. He’s been working like crazy. So just to fit him in is what we were trying to do (Monday).
“He looked terrific.”
Rawls’ PUP-list partner, tight end Jimmy Graham, watched group work and team scrimmaging. He’s also a week since coming off PUP, after he tore the patellar tendon in his knee Nov. 29.
Williams returned after being out more than a week with a hamstring injury. The former undrafted and practice-squad wide receiver from the University of Washington finished last season on the active roster. He said that even though he made that initial impression on the coaches and teammates last season, “I always feel like I am fighting and scrapping” for his place. He vowed that he will play Thursday when the Seahawks host Minnesota in their second preseason game.
Mike Morgan missed practice two days after starting the first preseason game at the Chiefs. Cassius Marsh was the No. 1 strongside linebacker Monday. Carroll said Morgan was in Philadelphia seeing a doctor for a groin issue.
“He’s getting work up on something, a groin thing he’s got,” Carroll said. “He’s OK. He’s going to play on Thursday. But this was the best time to send him out there to get some information we need.”
Previous starting right tackle J’Marcus Webb remained out with a brace on his right knee. That meant Garry Gilliam was again the No. 1 right tackle and Bradley Sowell was the starting left tackle. Expect that to be the starting lineup again Thursday against the Vikings.
“We have results on it. We’ve just got to see how he comes back, when we are ready for him to come back,” Carroll said.
Chancellor was still out with a groin injury. Kelcie McCray was the starting strong safety again.
“Kam’s not quite getting over the hump yet,” Carroll said. “He almost did, but then we said it was too close and it’s a little bit sensitive. So we are just going to move him through this week. ... We’ll be a little more careful with Kam because we are a little more uncertain there.”
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill has been out for more than a week with his own groin injury, but Carroll said Hill is very close to returning to practice. He’s lost the inside track to the starting job Brandon Mebane vacating by signing with San Diego in March. Rookie second-round pick Jarran Reed has passed Hill and is now the starter.
Prosise got about 10 plays Monday, including some as the pass catcher Seattle envisions him. He was going to be the team’s new third-down back. Then he strained his hamstring in the first 10 minutes of camp on July 30. The third-round draft choice from Notre Dame is still likely to be that third-down pass catcher out of the backfield, but he lost all but four days of camp and one of the four preseason games while coaches grew frustrated with his injury. So he’s got a lot on which to catch up.
Brooks, the running back and seventh-round pick from Clemson, ran some plays after being in full pads during pregame drills Saturday at Kansas City but not playing in the preseason opener. He’s expected to make his Seahawks “game” debut Thursday.
Carroll made Sealver Siliga’s days as a Seahawks seem numbered. The free-agent defensive tackle signed in the offseason was on the non-football-injury list with a calf pain to start the month. He came back to practice last week then got another pain in another part of the calf, Carroll said.
▪ The Seahawks’ search for a new fullback already includes former Jonathan Amosa, who rushed twice including for a first down Saturday against the Chiefs one week after a roadblock in Seattle for the Seafair summer festival helped him get a Seahawks tryout.
Now it includes a linebacker, too.
Kyle Coleman wore a blue jersey for offensive players Monday and did some work at fullback. During team scrimmaging he put on a yellow bib and played linebacker again.