RENTON – Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond insists he’s ready to play and that he hasn’t lost a step. The question is, what role will he have now that he’s back?

Thurmond is returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, reportedly for marijuana. Thurmond had a breakout year before his suspension, but he watched Byron Maxwell hold his own in Thurmond’s place.

Coach Pete Carroll said Maxwell would start Sunday against St. Louis.

“I think (Maxwell) is on a rhythm that we want to take out there in a game like this, and there’s no reason to put Walter in that situation after just one week of practice,” Carroll said. “It’s really a statement about what Byron Maxwell has done and the way he’s played.”

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To make room for Thurmond, the Seahawks waived cornerback Perrish Cox. For now, at least, the Seahawks have decided to keep injured wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip) on the 53-man roster. Carroll said earlier in the week that the Seahawks might put Harvin on the injured-reserve list, which would have ended his season. Keeping Harvin on the active roster leaves the door open for him to return in the playoffs.

Thurmond worked out on his own during his suspension. He said it didn’t take long to get back up to speed when he returned to practice this week.

In two games before the suspension, Thurmond forced a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown.

“I have fresh legs,” he said. “I had a lot of nagging injuries with both of my knees, so I got to heal up from those. I feel great right now. I’m going to have the freshest legs going into the playoffs.”

When asked if he felt he needed to explain anything to his teammates, Thurmond said, “I didn’t have to explain anything to anybody. Everyone understood the situation. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. It’s just a great group of guys. No one in here was judgmental about the situation. If anything, they were more encouraging.”

He later added, “If you’re not learning from your mistakes, you’re just going to keep making more mistakes.”

Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or