Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Thursday at the NFL combine the team won't rush the return of Jimmy Graham, whose patellar tendon injury could keep him out until the end of training camp. Lots more notes are included, as well.
INDIANAPOLIS — In the most specific Seahawks comments regarding a timeline for the return Jimmy Graham from knee surgery, coach Pete Carroll said Thursday that the tight end might not be ready until the end of training camp.
Graham suffered a patellar-tendon tear against Pittsburgh on Nov. 29. He underwent surgery and missed the rest of the season.
“This injury really would shoot us all the way to the end of camp and see how he is,’’ Carroll said Thursday at the NFL combine.
“He’s ahead of schedule right now, he’s doing remarkably well. His attitude, his work ethic seems to be right on point. He’s flying like crazy (Graham is a licensed pilot), he’s all over the place, so he’s doing a lot of good, active things demonstrating his mentality is really strong.’’
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But Carroll also said the Seahawks will not play Graham until he is ready, comments that seemed to paint a path to return similar to that of safety Earl Thomas last season.
Thomas began the season on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He missed the preseason but played every game in the regular season. Players on the list are eligible to return at any time during camp. However, placing a player on the PUP list allows a team to carry another player on its active roster until the injured player returns.
“We expect (Graham) back and battling, but that all depends on when it really starts pushing to see how far he has been able to bring it,’’ Carroll said. “We will not rush him at all the early part of camp and all and just see how it goes, but we have really good expectations for a great recovery.’’
Carroll not surprised by Lynch’s retirement, expects Rawls to step up
Carroll reiterated what general manager John Schneider said Wednesday about the Seahawks not being surprised by the retirement announcement of Marshawn Lynch via Twitter during the Super Bowl.
“It’s been in the works,’’ Carroll said. “He’s been thinking this way for some time, so it doesn’t come as a surprise at all. It was kind of just wanted to see it play out and see how he was going to do it and get the word out, and he did it in a like fashion. It was fun the way he did it. Let me say this about (Lynch), he had a tremendous run with us, and we had a tremendous run with him. Extraordinary memories that were put together and games that were played and the events and the style and all that he was a huge part of all that. It was a lot of fun, and we had a great time. It was great to see him have the chance, back in his days in Buffalo things were getting kind of quiet there, and he came back to life with us and brought us a lot of energy, and we had lot of fun together, and a lot of good stuff happened.’’
Carroll also reiterated what Schneider said about Thomas Rawls being ready for the season after suffering a broken left ankle against Baltimore on Dec. 13, and him being the first one to get a chance to take over for Lynch.
“Thomas is going to get a great shot at it,’’ Carroll said. “He did everything he could his rookie season to make a statement that he belongs. We love the style, he’s a great kid. I can’t imagine that he’s not going to be right in the middle of it. I don’t know who else is going to be added to the team, but he’s coming in as the guy that we re looking to him to give the ball to, and he’s recovering really well. I just saw him two days ago, he’s in really good shape right now, he’s getting ready for it. It’s going to he a haul for him, but he’ll make it for camp and be ready to go, and we’ll expect a lot out of him.’’
Richardson healthy, team hopes to keep Kearse
Carroll said the Seahawks hope to be able to keep unrestricted free-agent receiver Jermaine Kearse but added that Paul Richardson will be ready to step into the receiving corps next season after missing all but one game in 2015 due to injury. After recovering from a torn knee ligament Richardson suffered a torn hamstring against Arizona on Nov. 15 and did not play again.
“There’s some work to be done there, he’s unrestricted,’’ Carroll said of Kearse. “But we are always working to add, always trying to make it more competitive. We have good, young guys coming up, too, Paul Richardson back is a big deal to us, too. You may forget that we haven’t had him, but he will come back full strength. He is already healthy and ready to go, and that’s a good addition for us, but of course we are always trying to add and make it more competitive.’’
Carroll leaning on what offensive line did in second half of season
Carroll also echoed much of what Schneider said Wednesday in hinting that the Seahawks might not think their offensive line needs a makeover as much as others do.
Asked about the line, Carroll said he prefers to look at how it played in the second half of the season — when Russell Wilson threw 24 of his 34 touchdown passes — than the first half. Wilson was sacked 31 times in the first seven games but just 15 in the final nine.
“We’re looking at it like what happened to us and how we dealt with our situation in the first half of the season and how we transitioned, because we really did shift,’’ Carroll said. “And after the bye we improved tremendously.
“Our numbers flip-flopped in terms of the pressures and sacks and things like that. We saw the productivity of our passing game just really moved. We saw (receiver) Doug (Baldwin) come to light, and all of Russell’s numbers were crazy. That’s all part of that transition. We’ve moved through that. But we still have issues. We have issues now going into free agency this year (left tackle Russell Okung and guard J.R. Sweezy are unrestricted free agents), so we’ll see how that all winds up. But hopefully we’ve made some strides that we can start at a better level next season and not have to take so long to get going. It did take us a while.’’
Okung is representing himself in free agency. Carroll said that doesn’t change the dynamic of the team’s attempt to bring him back but added he does think it will be a challenge for Okung to handle.
“It poses a challenge for him to do a nice job with this process,’’ Carroll said. “It’s a very complicated process. He’s very close to us. We care a tremendous amount about him. We’re hoping it all works out all right. Of course we’d love him back, just like our other guys.’’
— Carroll, asked again about his contract situation — he has one year remaining on his deal— said “I’m doing great,’’ a non-answer that has become his standard answer to that question.
— Asked if the Seahawks still would like to have a veteran backup QB, Carroll said, “We’d love to have it in that format. It’s worked out great. We’ll see what happens.’’ Tarvaris Jackson is again an unrestricted free agent — same as the previous two offseasons — and it’s unclear if he will return.
— Carroll said the Seahawks did not have any players have surgeries after the season other than those that had already been reported.