The Seahawks pulled starting right tackle Brandon Shell out of practice Friday after it was learned he had close contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.
Coach Pete Carroll told the media during a Zoom session after practice Friday that Shell did not test positive and it was unclear if he would have to go on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
Shell was listed as a limited participant in practice and then added to the team’s injury report as questionable due to both an ankle injury and non-injury related reasons. He had not been on the initial game status report.
Shell has missed four of the past five games with a sprained ankle but had recovered well enough from that to return to play Sunday against the 49ers (he suited up against the Rams but did not play).
“He’s tested negative, but we’re just monitoring it to make sure he’s OK, so he wasn’t out (on the field) today,” Carroll said. ” … It’s a developing situation we’ve got to figure out. He’s tested clear, but somebody that he’s worked with hasn’t. (Someone) outside of the program. So we’ve just got to make sure he’s OK. We don’t know. I don’t know what to tell you about that other than that.”
The Seahawks have not had any players test positive this season but had to place defensive tackle Bryan Mone on the COVID-19 list Dec. 5 due to a similar close-contact situation. Mone was on injured reserve at the time with an ankle injury so it did not impact his playing status and he has since returned.
If Shell were to go on the list he would have to remain there for at least five days dating back to when he was last in contact with the infected person.
If Shell can’t play Sunday against the 49ers then Cedric Ogbuehi would again start at right tackle as he has the past two weeks.
Tight end Greg Olsen to sit out Sunday
The Seahawks initially listed tight end Greg Olsen as questionable for Sunday’s game against the 49ers. But Carroll said after practice the team will hold him out after he had “a little bit of a tweak” in his foot last week against the Rams. Olsen played 12 snaps against Los Angeles after returning from a plantar fascia injury suffered Nov. 19 against Arizona.
The 35-year-old Olsen had made what Carroll called a remarkable recovery to be able to play again so quickly, and Carroll said the hope is that giving him a week off will assure he can play in the postseason.
“We’re going to keep out of this game, just make sure that he’s ready next week,” Carroll said. “Just a little flare up from last week, but he handled it well — practiced today and got through it. But we just think it’s the best thing to do is to give another weekend.”
Olsen was listed as a limited participant in practice after he did not practice Wednesday and Thursday. Carroll said the hope is he would be able to return to practice next Wednesday.
That means Seattle will rely more heavily on Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister against the 49ers while rookie Colby Parkinson will also likely again be active (he was not active for last Sunday’s game against the Rams).
The Seahawks also added some tight end depth this week by re-signing Luke Willson to the practice squad and he could be elevated if needed.
The Seahawks also ruled out running back DeeJay Dallas and reserve cornerback Jayson Stanley while three others are questionable — guard Mike Iupati (neck), running back Carlos Hyde (illness) and safety Damarious Randall (foot). None practiced Friday other than Randall, who was listed as limited.
Carroll confirmed Hyde is not dealing with a COVID-19 situation — he would have to go on the list if he were. Hyde has not practiced all week.
“He had flu-like symptoms and so he’s just been home,” Carroll said of Hyde. “We’ve kept him away to we make sure, and he was just not quite feeling right enough today. We thought he would practice today, but we’re going to carry it until (Saturday). See what happens tomorrow.”
Dallas, a rookie fourth-round pick out of Miami, injured his ankle against Washington and also missed last week’s game.
With Dallas out, and if Hyde was unable to play, the Seahawks could sign Alex Collins from the practice squad. However, he would have to go on the 53-man roster since Seattle has already used his two practice-squad elevations.
Stanley injured his hamstring against the Rams. He has played on defense only in the blowout of the Jets but has been a regular on special teams, playing in eight of the past nine games.
The 49ers ruled out seven players, including former Seahawk Richard Sherman, who is dealing with a calf issue and will have played just five games this season. Others ruled out were: WR Brandon Aiyuk, DT Javon Kinlaw, WR Deebo Samuel, CB K’Waun Williams, DT Kevin Givens and LB Dre Greenlaw.
— Carroll said cornerback Tre Flowers will return to play Sunday. Flowers has been on IR with an ankle injury but returned to practice last week. Seattle has an opening on its 53-player roster so a move will not need to be made to get Flowers active.
— The 49ers on Friday signed former UW kicker Tristan Vizcaino to its practice squad. It is expected he will be elevated to kick Sunday in place of regular Robbie Gould, who was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list earlier this week.