The status of free safety Earl Thomas for Sunday's game against Washington remains unclear after he suffered a "slight pull'' of his hamstring against Houston.

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While the Seahawks have found ways to use Bradley McDougald this season as an extra defensive back in nickel and dime packages, the most critical reason the team signed him in the offseason was as experienced depth at both safety spots.

And the Seahawks may well need to lean on McDougald this Sunday against Washington if Earl Thomas is unable to play.

Thomas’ status remains unclear as he battles what coach Pete Carroll said during his regular weekly press conference Monday afternoon is a strain of his hamstring.

“He’s okay,” Carroll said. “A little sore. Got to figure it out. Lower level of the degrees of it and we won’t know until later in the week.”

Seahawks 41, Texans 38


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Carroll also called the injury a “slight pull” on his regular Monday radio on ESPN 710 Seattle show Monday morning and when asked to clarify the injury Monday afternoon he left it vague.

Thomas insisted after Sunday’s 41-38 win that he thought he could have gone back in the game for the final defensive series and that the injury is not as bad as a hamstring injury that held him out last year for one game against Tampa Bay.

Thomas said after the game that “I’m good. I’ve got a hamstring, but on my right side this time.’’

Asked if he thinks the injury is serious Thomas said “not as bad as my left one so that’s a good thing. I tried to go back in the game but my coaches told me to shut it down.’’

Carroll said Thomas, who suffered the injury on Houston’s final touchdown, a 72-yard catch and run by DeAndre Hopkins of a Deshaun Watson pass, is already talking about trying to play Sunday but the team will wait to make sure it does what is right for the long-term.

“His nature is to go back out and play and that’s what he plans on doing,” Carroll said. “But we’ll take good care of him and figure it out and it’ll just be some days before we know.”

One reason the team can be careful is the presence of McDougald.

Last year when Thomas was out, first missing one game with the hamstring and then the final four regular season games and both in the playoffs with a broken leg, the Seahawks used Steven Terrell, a former undrafted free agent who had played sparingly before being rushed into starting duty.

In the offseason, desiring more experienced depth behind both Thomas and Chancellor, the Seahawks signed McDougald, who started 31 games the last two seasons with Tampa Bay and was one of just two safeties in the NFL last year with 90-plus tackles and 10-plus passes defensed, the other being Landon Collins of the New York Giants.

McDougald played the final defensive series Sunday in place of Thomas and will go against Washington if Thomas is unable to play.

“Yeah, really fortunate,” Carroll said of having McDougald, who signed a one-year deal worth up to $1.8 million. “He’s a front-line guy who has played a lot of football, done a ton of stuff. Smart, leader, all of that. So him coming off the bench to fill that spot, we feel very fortunate.”

The Seahawks signed McDougald to a one-year deal worth up to $1.8 million last March.

He has played 46 snaps this season — 31 coming the last two weeks as the Seahawks used him more in nickel and dime packages — but could top that total on Sunday.


— Carroll said the hope remains that running back C.J. Prosise will be able to play Sunday. He sat out against the Texans after playing just two snaps the week before dealing with an ankle issue that dates to the loss at Tennessee Sept. 24. “We really don’t know until we get him out there,” Carroll said. “He will practice this week is the plan. We will just see by the end of the week how he is doing. He has continued to maintain a little bit of soreness from the high ankle indicators and so if we can get rid of that, then he will be fine. We are close. We are really close right now.”

— Carroll said defensive end Dion Jordan, who returned to practice last week, could be activated in time for the game next Thursday at Arizona. “Be a big week for Dion Jordan,” Carroll said. “He got to practice on Friday for the first time. This will be his first full week of practice. We will get a good evaluation. He really took it very well. He handled the work that we did and he looked good. We are excited about that. I don’t know what that means for this week as opposed to next week and all that. Short week coming up after. That would probably be possible. We are getting closer. He’s got to make progress each day this week too, but it’s a good sign.”

— Carroll said cornerback DeShawn Shead is not yet ready to return to practice.