RENTON — There is plenty of hype surrounding Monday night’s matchup between the Seahawks and Broncos, much of it focusing on the return of former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
The nationally televised game will be special for many. But for one group of Seahawks, this game is special for another reason — it’s their NFL debut.
Rookies such as safety Joey Blount, wide receiver Dareke Young, right tackle Abe Lucas and left tackle Charles Cross did not play with Wilson and don’t have the same attachment to him as some of his former teammates. But they know how important he was to the franchise and fans.
For all four, the chance to play their first NFL game against a future Hall of Fame quarterback on “Monday Night Football” is special, especially considering their paths to the league.
Cross and Lucas were drafted high after standout college careers at Division I programs.
Others such as Blount and Young came to the Seahawks from more humble beginnings, with Blount signing as an undrafted free agent from Virginia and Young coming from the Division II level.
No matter where they came from, the rookies are ready to make their own mark.
“We came from winning backgrounds,” Young said. “I won two conference championships during my time in college, so I feel like we’re heading in the right direction. We have great leaders, and I feel like we’ll definitely replace those guys and have a good year.”
Blount is sure what his younger self would’ve said if he’d been told that his professional debut would come against Russell Wilson on “Monday Night Football.”
“This is [expletive] cool, you know?” Blount said. “Younger me would be proud. … I use it all as motivation just to fuel my engine and keep it going. Younger me would be proud, not only to step on a field with a great quarterback, but to be at the level I’m at now.”
Young, a seventh-round pick out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, watched plenty of Wilson’s heroics on TV over the years.
But when he takes the field Monday, beating Wilson isn’t going to be his motivating factor.
“I kind of try not to pay attention to it, because it’s just a big distraction at the end of the day,” Young said. “This game isn’t about Russell Wilson coming back against the Seahawks. It’s just about the Seahawks versus the Broncos. So I’m trying to not make the situation bigger than what it is. It’s just a regular game.”
For the rookies, Monday is all about kicking off a new era.
“The Legion of Boom, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, all great people, great players, and were the faces of Seahawks football,” Blount said. “But as time goes on you need other people to step up and become the new faces. I think I came in in a great period where that time is now where people are being looked to … to create new faces and new legacies for this organization.”
With a different schedule to the week because of the Monday night game, the Seahawks did not hold practice Friday, instead conducting meetings and a walk-through.
So the practice report was an estimation of how it would have looked if the team had practiced, and as such was pretty similar to Thursday’s.
Four players were again listed as not practicing — defensive end Alton Robinson (knee), who has been ruled out for Monday; running back Kenneth Walker III (groin), cornerback Artie Burns (groin) and long snapper Tyler Ott (shoulder).
For Robinson, Burns and Ott, that designation may make it even less likely that they will be able to play against Denver. Seattle added insurance this week in case Ott can’t go, signing Carson Tinker to the practice squad.
The Seahawks also again listed guard Damien Lewis as limited because of knee/ankle issues.
But everyone else was considered a full participant, including four players who had been limited Thursday — cornerback Sidney Jones IV (concussion), offensive lineman Jake Curhan (shoulder), linebacker Boye Mafe (shoulder) and safety Ryan Neal (ankle), indicating that all are on track to play against Denver.