Seahawks cornerback DeShawn Shead was back at practice Wednesday for the first time since he tore his ACL against Atlanta in the Seahawks' playoff game in January.
Amidst an injury-filled season that has decimated Seattle’s defense, the Seahawks finally have some good news on the injury front.
DeShawn Shead, who started every game at right cornerback in 2016, returned to practice Wednesday for the first time he suffered a torn left ACL in the Seahawks playoff loss to Atlanta in January.
Shead had surgery to repair his ACL about two weeks after the injury, but encountered some complications and – using Pete Carroll’s term – “plateaued” midway through his recovery. and This led to a second surgery in July.
“Six months into my recovery, I had to go in and clean up some scarring,” Shead said Wednesday. “I guess, according to the doctor, I’m an ‘over-healer’ – I created more scarring in there than usual.”
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The second surgery quickly got Shead back on the road to recovery though.
“They went in and cleaned it right up, and then it was like night and day,” Shead said. “My motion was better than immediately after surgery.”
Shead started the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and Wednesday marked his return to practice. The team now has three weeks to observe Shead’s progress in practice and either elevate him to the active roster or place him on Injured Reserve for the rest of season.
It’s unlikely that Shead will play against the Jaguars in Jacksonville this Sunday, but if he progresses as well as he hopes, he could be back in time to help the Seahawks through the remainder of their regular season slate against the Rams, Cowboys and Cardinals.
“We’re really fired up about that. It’s been a long haul for him,” Carroll said. “Anytime, you’ve heard me talk about him I would tell you he’s ridiculously on it in terms of his rehab and his effort, and his preparation and all that.
“I’m thrilled for him to come back to practice now and have a chance to get three weeks to show where he is and all that. And we’ll take a good look at it with our fingers crossed and high hopes he’ll be able to help us out.”
Shead seems confident that he’ll be back in action this season.
“I feel great. I’m ready to roll, but I’ve got to go through this little process and get a couple of weeks of practice in, and then I’ll be back out there,” Shead said.
But what is he coming back to? Season-ending injuries to Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor have forced a new cast of characters to the forefront for Seattle’s defense, and Shead knows he’ll have to prove his worth all over again.
Shead signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State in 2012, started out on the practice squad, but was promoted to the 53-man roster in the second half of Seattle’s 2013 season that culminated in the Super Bowl win over Denver. He started eight games for the Seahawks over the next two seasons before winning the starting job at right cornerback across from Sherman last year, finishing with 82 tackles and 18 passes defended.
With Sherman and Shead out, recent acquisition Byron Maxwell and rookie Shaq Griffin are the Seahawks’ two current starting cornerbacks.
“I’m just ready to get out there and be able to help this team as much as possible, anywhere we need it,” Shead said. “I expect to earn my spot back, and I expect to earn my way back on the field. Nothing was ever given to me, that’s what I know. So I have to go out and prove myself again.”
Shead said he’s been able to run for a while now, but that he needs to get reacclimated with the more position-specific duties that he’ll encounter in game situations.
“It’s the little movements I’ve got to get ready for,” Shead said. “Like running to the ball after a route, or covering a route. Just the little things is the next step that only practice can give me. And going against real speed. I couldn’t do that under PUP rules.
“That’s what practice will give me. But overall, if I had it my way, I wish I could play this Sunday.”