If all goes well in practice this week, the Seahawks’ defense could be bolstered for Sunday’s key early-season clash with the 49ers by the return of cornerback Brandon Browner and defensive end Cliff Avril.
And maybe even defensive end Chris Clemons.
All three sat out Sunday’s opener against Carolina. But coach Pete Carroll offered hope Wednesday each could play against the 49ers.
Browner, who hurt his hamstring last week, is scheduled to return to practice Thursday.
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“It looks like he’s got a good chance to make it back,’’ Carroll said. “So we will try to do it right and not push it too soon. But (Thursday) will be a big day for us to understand, and we will go all the way to Friday to see how he responds to Thursday. So we won’t know for a while.”
Avril and Clemons each had limited participation in practice on Wednesday. Avril has been dealing with a hamstring injury since early in training camp but practiced last week before being ruled out shortly before game time at Carolina.
Avril, one of Seattle’s key offseason free-agent signees, said Wednesday he was optimistic he would play.
“I think it was pretty close (last week),’’ he said.
In fact, he said he wanted to play but that the team decided to hold him out.
“It was kind of a battle between the trainers and myself, actually,” he said. “Hopefully I keep progressing and being able to put three good days together and being able to be out there this week.’’
Clemons has been rehabbing a knee injury suffered in the playoff win over the Redskins, and Wednesday marked his most significant practice action of the season.
The team is so optimistic enough about his chances that he is listed as a starter at defensive end on the unofficial depth chart, though Carroll said Clemons has to show he is ready before being ruled able to play.
“He’s still working his way into that position right now,’’ Carroll said.
Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane — who started against Carolina — sat out practice Wednesday with an ankle injury.
• The Seahawks signed free-agent tight end Kellen Davis on Wednesday, releasing middle linebacker Allen Bradford to make room on the active 53-man roster. Davis, who had 47 catches for the Bears from 2009-12, was released by Cleveland in the last cut before the regular season.
The 6-foot-7, 265-pound, 27-year-old was among a handful of players who worked out for the Seahawks on Tuesday, and was then signed to provide depth at tight end, a spot where Seattle had only two for last week’s game against Carolina — starter Zach Miller and backup rookie Luke Willson.
• Seattle re-signed OL Ryan Seymour and LB Ty Powell to the eight-man practice squad, releasing DT Michael Brooks and OL Jared Smith.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @bcondotta