Seahawks' Luke Willson eyes return vs. Panthers

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RENTON — If Marshawn Lynch makes it back for the Seahawks this week he could be one of two offensive starters to return for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers.

The Seahawks also hope to get back tight end Luke Willson, who has missed the past two weeks because of a concussion suffered Dec. 27 against St. Louis.

Willson practiced last week but had a setback, and it was then decided he would sit out Sunday’s wild-card game at Minnesota.

Willson said before Wednesday’s practice that, though he still must go through the NFL’s concussion protocol, “I feel pretty solid. So we’ll see.’’

He wanted to play last week but said, “My noggin wasn’t quite healed with the concussion, and what they are finding is it’s not necessarily the first concussion but coming back too early and getting another one that really puts you out for a long time. So they kind of deemed it wasn’t safe for me to go.’’

Willson has seven starts this season, taking over that role after a season-ending injury to Jimmy Graham on Nov. 29 against Pittsburgh. Seattle has used Cooper Helfet and Chase Coffman the past two weeks at tight end.

“It’s huge (getting Willson back),’’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “He’s a big part of us as well. He does so many things for us that go (unnoticed). He makes big plays in the passing game, he does a nice job for us in protection, does a nice job for us in the run game. He’s a starter for a reason.”

Willson also has a history of playing well against the Panthers, catching the winning touchdown in a regular-season game there last season and catching four passes for 69 yards and another touchdown in a divisional playoff win over the Panthers last January.