RENTON – James Carpenter was back where he feels best Thursday —right in the middle of the action.
Seattle’s first-round pick in 2011, Carpenter has played just 16 games in two seasons while dealing with knee injuries.
But as the Seahawks began training camp Thursday, he declared himself to be 100 percent, having recovered from an arthroscopic surgery in the offseason that he said cleaned up a few lingering issues.
“I felt great out there,’’ he said. “I’m just glad I’m out here working with the team.’’
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He also proclaimed that he wants to stay at inside guard, the position where the team moved him a year ago after drafting him initially as a tackle.
“It’s just run blocking against big linemen,’’ said the 6-5, 321-pounder. “I feel like I’m very powerful and strong, so that’s why I feel like guard is my position.’’
Carpenter worked Thursday with the No. 2 offense, behind Paul McQuistan, who started seven games at left guard a year ago. But the Seahawks hope Carpenter will battle for a starting spot, and were heartened by what they saw Thursday.
“He looked really good for his first day back,’’ said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “It’s kind of the recovery we have all been cheerleading for.’’
Carroll said Carpenter “is in great shape’’ though Carpenter said he may need a little time to get fully back into football shape.
Carpenter, who played nine games in 2011 and seven last season, said he knows that playing a full season would help regain the faith of his teammates. After Thursday’s practice, he said there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to do that this year.
“Last training camp I wasn’t really able to run too much and this one I can block 300-pound linemen,” he said.
• Much has been made of , listed as a defensive end, moving to strongside linebacker. In fact, Irvin worked with the linebackers when the team broke into position drills on Thursday.
Carroll, though, reiterated what he said in the spring about using Irvin at linebacker — that he will also continue to be used as a rush defensive end, the team’s so-called LEO spot.
“Bruce is playing both,’’ Carroll said, adding that the responsibilities for the two spots are “almost interchangeable.’’
Irvin is suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.
• Safety showed up without his trademark dreadlocks, having decided recently to cut his hair.
Quarterback joked that “it looks like he lost 20 pounds, doesn’t it?’’
Carroll, meanwhile, said: “Earl looked fast today. I don’t know if it was the haircut or I don’t know, but he was all over the place today.’’
• Cornerback Brandon Browner has received a raise for the 2013 season, but not an extension. He is entering the final year of his contract and is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the of the season.
He was due to make $550,000 this year.