RENTON — Another day the Seahawks had hoped Jamal Adams would return to practice. Another day he didn’t.
For a second consecutive practice Adams was listed as a non-participant Thursday by the Seahawks because of a groin injury and illness, which came after coach Pete Carroll had said before practice Wednesday he expected Adams to be back on the field for the first time in a month. Adams’ illness is not COVID-19-related because he is not on the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list.
Instead, with Adams again absent, the odds that he will play Sunday against the 49ers for the first time since injuring his groin Sept. 27 seem more remote.
Adams topped what was an ominously lengthy injury list as he was one of nine Seahawks who did not practice including the team’s top three running backs — Chris Carson (foot), Carlos Hyde (hamstring) and Travis Homer (knee) — and two other members of the secondary, cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion) and nickel corner Ugo Amadi (hamstring).
Also out were offensive linemen Duane Brown (knee/resting) and Mike Iupati (back) and defensive end Benson Mayowa (ankle).
And in a new injury, safety Ryan Neal — who has replaced Adams the past three games — was listed as limited because of a hamstring issue.
The absence of Carson, Homer and Hyde leaves rookie DeeJay Dallas as the only healthy tailback in practice (though even Dallas is listed on the report with an arm injury, though as a full participant), with fullback Nick Bellore the only other running back on the roster and Seattle at this point unable to add anyone new by Sunday.
Carroll on Wednesday didn’t rule out that any of the three injured backs could return for Sunday’s game, and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said after practice Thursday he is confident the team will be OK.
“We’ll be ready for anything,” Schottenheimer said. “We’re working through the week, we’ve got a bunch of different things that could come up — guys playing and guys not playing — and we’ll be ready to go. But it’s been an interesting week of practice, and we’ve been creative throughout, and we’ll be ready no matter what happens.”
Indeed, the team has hinted that players at other positions — receiver David Moore perhaps? — could see some time in the backfield if needed.
Maybe even more worrisome is the situation in the secondary given that the expectation was Adams would return to practice this week with a chance to play Sunday.
With Griffin still being in the concussion protocol, Amadi dealing with an injury that was not known after Sunday’s 37-34 loss to Arizona and Neal suddenly showing up on the injury report Thursday, the Seahawks could be short-handed in the secondary Sunday.
Griffin played 38 snaps against Arizona before departing and is dealing with a hamstring issue.
If Griffin can’t play, Tre Flowers would start. Seattle, though, could flip Flowers and Quinton Dunbar and have Flowers play on the right side, which is where he started the previous two seasons, and have Dunbar go to the left (he played regularly on both sides during his years with Washington).
If Amadi and even Neal can’t play, the Seahawks might make a roster move or two to have enough players in the secondary.
Options to add players to the secondary include activating D.J. Reed to the 53-player roster and elevating someone off the practice squad Saturday for the game.
Reed returned to practice last week from the Non-Football Injury list after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in offseason training and could play safety and cornerback.
Seattle has two open spots on its roster after the NFL on Thursday placed Carlos Dunlap on the exempt list, because he will not be eligible to play while in the COVID-19 intake protocol. Seattle already had an open spot after waiving defensive tackle Anthony Rush on Tuesday.
That Dunlap is on the exempt list also means he does not yet count against Seattle’s salary cap, so any moves the Seahawks might have to make to account for adding Dunlap can wait until next week. Dunlap will go on the 53 next week.
If Reed were to be promoted he would make his Seattle debut against the team that waived him in August. Reed spent the previous two seasons with the 49ers, but San Francisco tried to sneak him through waivers to put him on injured reserve.
Instead, the Seahawks claimed him, and he could step into the nickel spot Sunday if Amadi is unavailable.
Another option could be Linden Stephens, who was promoted to the 53 in September and has played in four games. The Seahawks have said Stephens could play the nickel spot.
Defensive backs on the practice squad include Gavin Heslop, who was elevated for the Miami game but did not play, and Jayson Stanley, who was claimed off waivers in April from Jacksonville but has not played in an NFL game.
Seattle can use two elevations off the practice squad each week, and the other could go to defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, especially with the waiving of Rush leaving the Seahawks with just three listed tackles on the 53-player roster.
Iupati being out for another practice points strongly to Jordan Simmons getting his third consecutive start at left guard.
It’s unclear the severity of Mayowa’s ankle injury, but missing consecutive days of practice indicates it’s at least something to watch.
Mayowa has started every game at the team’s LEO/edge-rusher position and is tied for the team lead in sacks with two.
Rookie Alton Robinson and veteran Damontre Moore are the backups at that spot and would have to fill it Sunday if Mayowa can’t play, because Dunlap will not be available until the Nov. 8 game at Buffalo.