RENTON — Running back Chris Carson was cleared to practice Wednesday, and coach Pete Carroll said he could play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Carson, who missed the past four games because of a neck injury, was on the field doing the usual work with the running backs Wednesday. Carroll said how Carson responds to practices this week will determine if he plays Sunday.
“He’s got to make it through the week of work,” Carroll said. “And like we always talk about it’s a one-day-at-a-time thing. He’ll get banged around a little bit tomorrow. But just see how he responds to it. It’s pretty important to get a good beat on this one. He’ll feel good physically, run around and all that, because he’s in great shape and working really hard. So just how he responds.”
Carson was placed on injured reserve Oct. 15 and last played Oct. 3 against the 49ers before he feeling the effects of a neck injury that has been termed “chronic.” Carroll has said Carson felt too “uncomfortable” to play or practice.
He was eligible to come off IR this week, and after passing tests Monday he was given the go-ahead to return.
Asked if Carson was no longer feeling uncomfortable, Carroll said: “Yeah, that’s why he’s back. And hopefully it’ll stay that way.”
The designation to return starts a 21-day window for Carson to be activated to the 53-man roster or return to IR for the rest of the season.
Carroll said Carson has been working out regularly, with a hope to hit the field quickly once cleared to practice.
Carson rushed for 232 yards on 54 carries in the first four games of the season. Alex Collins started the past four games.
Carson is one of four Seahawks the team designated to return to practice off IR this week — the others were QB Russell Wilson, receiver Dee Eskridge and cornerback Nigel Warrior.
The Seahawks are expected to make a roster move this week to get Wilson back on the 53-man roster so he can start Sunday at Green Bay. They may also make moves with Carson and Eskridge, meaning there could be some significant roster shuffling.
One obvious way to open a roster spot is putting defensive back Marquise Blair on IR. He had season-ending knee surgery two weeks ago but remained on the 53-man roster for the Jacksonville game.
Seattle has four other running backs on its roster: Collins, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. With Carson returning it will have to keep five — something it hasn’t often done — or make a roster move at that position.
Beckham in holding pattern
Seahawks fans may need to wait a few more days before knowing if free-agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will join Seattle to finish out the season or head somewhere else.
The NFL Network reported that Beckham is “going to take some time” to choose his next team and added that any decision is “a few days away.”
Beckham reportedly was leaning toward the Packers, but Green Bay was apparently offering no more than the veteran minimum salary, a prorated share of $1.075 million.
Beckham may want a bit more — up to $3 million — to make up for what he gave up in negotiations that compelled the Browns to waive him.
Another report, from Jordan Schultz on Twitter, stated that Patriots coach Bill Belichick badly wants Beckham on the roster.
And another Schultz tweet stated that the Saints and Seahawks remain in the running, with Saints coach Sean Payton and Seattle QB Wilson making recruiting pitches.
Carroll had little to say about Beckham on Wednesday, stating: “I’ve got no updates for you. I’ve really got nothing to tell you.”
Carroll had been more expansive Monday, before Beckham went unclaimed on waivers, saying the team would explore acquiring him.
But Wednesday, he cautioned that he basically just said the same thing he always says when asked about free agents or potential waiver claims.
“It’s the same interest that we have with any opportunity that we get,” Carroll said. “ … Whenever there’s an opportunity we’re going for it, and we try to figure out everything that would make sense, if it could make sense, until it’s not possible — you’re either competing, or you’re not. And so that doesn’t change with us. It’s not like we did something different or whatever, in any of these situations.
“We’re just going forward and try to figure it out. And most of the time you make the decision that it doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit or whatever. But we don’t want to use that as ‘OK, we didn’t try hard this time.’ That’s not how we do it. So we will see what happens.”
Wilson a full participant
Since Wilson is not yet on the 53-man roster the team does not have to include him on the daily injury report. But Carroll said before practice that if the team did have to make a declaration that Wilson would be considered a full participant.
Wilson returned to practice Monday after surgery Oct. 8 to repair a dislocation and torn tendon in his right middle finger, a short “bonus” practice that lasted less than an hour.
Carroll said how Wilson responds to the work he gets each day is critical in determining his status for Sunday.
But so far, so good, as Carroll said Wilson came through the Monday work just fine and he was back on the field Wednesday.
“I’ve just seen him in the walk-through since then, and you would never have known (he’d been injured),” Carroll said. “So I don’t know what that means yet, but he looked pretty good.”
Wilson is not wearing anything to protect the hand.
“He doesn’t have to wear anything unless he chooses to,” Carroll said. “He has been experimenting with some stuff just to see what’s out there for him.”
Eskridge ‘full speed’
The team also does not have to include Eskridge on the injury report for now. But he also was again at practice during the opening portion in which media are allowed to watch, after having also practiced Monday.
Eskridge has not played since Sept. 12 after suffering a concussion.
Before practice, Carroll indicated signs are pointing to a quick return to the field for Eskridge, the team’s first pick in the 2021 NFL draft at 56th overall.
“Dee Eskridge is coming out, and he’s ready to go full speed,” Carroll said. “He went Monday, and it looks good today to get going. So we’ll see where we can fit him in as well.”