With the regular season just two weeks away, the major goal for the Seahawks might be solidifying the defensive line.
Clarity about the future for one player came Monday, but not in the way the Seahawks would have liked. The team was forced to put rookie tackle Jesse Williams, a fifth-round pick from Alabama, on injured reserve with the likelihood he will miss the season.
The Seahawks need to trim their roster from 90 to 75 by 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Williams started the exhibition opener at San Diego but a persistent knee injury made it so he could not practice consistently. Coach Pete Carroll said it became apparent when Williams struggled in the second game against Denver that he needed to get healthy.
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“His knee just wasn’t responding well enough and it’s going to take him a long time to give him the consideration to get him right,’’ Carroll said. “So this is the right thing to do for Jesse. He did everything we asked of him and looked good when he had his chances but his knee just wasn’t holding up, so we have to give him a big break.’’
Carroll confirmed Monday that defensive end Cliff Avril aggravated his hamstring in practice last week.
Asked if Avril will be able to play in the opener Sept. 8 at Carolina, Carroll said, “We don’t know if he’s going to be ready.’’
Avril was signed to a two-year, $13 million contract in the offseason with the hope he could improve the team’s pass-rushing issues, especially with the status of Chris Clemons up in the air. Clemons suffered a knee injury in the playoff victory over Washington in January.
While there had been hope that Clemons might make it back for the opener, he has yet to practice, and Carroll said there is no timetable for his return. Clemons, who led the team in sacks last year with 11.5, is working out at the team’s facility. But Carroll said the next step is to begin “pushing people.’’
“He’s coming along great, he’s making great progress,’’ Carroll said. “I don’t know how close he is … but I talked to him today and he’s feeling really good and he’s excited that he’s closer to it.’’
The Seahawks are also still without rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who strained his biceps last week in practice. And starting tackle Brandon Mebane hurt his hamstring in practice Monday, though it was uncertain afterward if that injury was serious.
All of that is coupled with the fact the Seahawks know they will be without end/linebacker Bruce Irvin for the first four games after he was suspended for PED use in the offseason.
The Seahawks have picked up four defensive ends or tackles since camp began. One, O’Brien Schofield, signed after being cut by Arizona, has started the past two games. With Avril likely out, he could start against Carolina.
• Carroll said CB Antoine Winfield sat out the Green Bay game with a sore knee but returned to practice Monday and is “feeling good.’’
• WR Sidney Rice did not practice but Carroll said the team is “just being conservative with Sidney. We’re pointing to the opener for that.’’
• FB Michael Robinson did not practice and has been out since last Monday with an unspecified illness. Said Carroll: “He’s better. Much better. He was real sick and (there are) still some concerns about whatever he’s got and they are trying to figure it out. I don’t know anything to tell you on that.’’
• Long snapper Clint Gresham has agreed to a restructured two-year deal worth just more than $1.65 million. He had been scheduled to make $1.3 million this year, so the move saves Seattle $500,000 or so in cap space. The move came as Seattle released Kyle Nelson, the other long snapper in camp.
• Also cut Monday: WR Perez Ashford, LB Kyle Knox, TE Jameson Konz, TE Andrei Lintz, DT Martin Parker and LB Craig Wilkins. The team also terminated the contract of WR Brett Swain. That leaves Seattle with 81 players on its roster with six more spots needing to be cleared to get to the 75-player limit.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.