True to his word, veteran Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen was back on the field less than a month after an injury that could have ended his career.
“I refuse to allow this to be my final moment,” Olsen, 35, tweeted the day after he suffered a plantar fascia foot injury Nov. 20 against Arizona. “I will find a way to finish on my feet!”
On Wednesday Olsen was indeed on his feet, listed as returning to practice off injured reserve.
That opens a 21-day window for Olsen to practice before he either has to go on the 53-player roster or back on IR for good.
“He’s made an extraordinary recovery to get to this right now,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who initially characterized the injury as one that sidelines a player from four to six weeks. “So we’re gonna practice him during the week, see what happens, see how he does.”
Carroll said it was possible Olsen could play Sunday at Washington, though he declined to answer if it is likely. The Seahawks might be aiming for the Dec. 27 showdown for the NFC West against the Rams or simply hoping to get him ready for the playoffs.
Either way it appears the career of the almost-certain Hall of Famer is not over.
Olsen is 79th in NFL history in career receiving yards with 8,668 and is the fourth tight end to surpass 8,000 career receiving yards and the fifth with more than 700 receptions.
Olsen signed a one-year deal in February worth up to $7 million with $5.5 million guaranteed. He had 23 receptions for 224 yards and one touchdown in starting eight games this season and playing 62% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps.
The Seahawks have since gotten good production out of Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister at tight end. Dissly had his second touchdown of the season in the 40-3 victory Sunday over the Jets, and Hollister has six of his 20 catches in the three games Olsen has missed for 51 yards, including a 20-yarder against the Jets.
But the Seahawks will need all the offensive weapons they can get to try to make a run at the Super Bowl.
Olsen already has agreed to a deal with FOX to be an broadcast analyst after he retires. But Carroll said Olsen’s eagerness to return shows he is not thinking about post-football life just yet.
“He’s the real deal,” Carroll said of Olsen, who spent the bulk of his career playing in Carolina for coach Ron Rivera, who now is the coach of the Washington team the Seahawks face Sunday. “He’s such a great football player. He loves this game so much. He loves competing so much. … I don’t even know how he got well this fast. I don’t have a clue how that happened, but he did, and then he’s dying to play right now, you know he wants to get out there.”
Gordon’s workouts ‘going great’
Another proven veteran the Seahawks will get back for the stretch run is receiver Josh Gordon, who can return to practice Monday after being conditionally reinstated by the NFL this month.
Gordon has been allowed to be in the building, attend meetings and work out for the past week. They will have to place him on the 53-player roster before he can play. But Carroll indicated Wednesday that everything is on track for Gordon to play Dec. 27 against the Rams.
“His workouts are going great, and he’s really fit,” Carroll said. “He feels really good. He feels like he’s ready to jump on a practice field. … This is a really important week for him to finish it up. He needs to be at game speed and game tempo and conditioning, and all that and that’s a lot to ask, but that’s what we’re asking and so he’s working like crazy. Ever since we had a chance we’ve really stepped it up for him to make sure that he’s challenged by that.’’
Time running out for Taylor
With just two games remaining in the regular season after this week, Carroll acknowledged Wednesday that time is running out for rookie Darrell Taylor to play this season.
Taylor has been on the Non-Football Injury list all year after having surgery last winter to place a titanium rod in his leg following his final season at Tennessee. Seattle then selected Taylor in the second round, expressing confidence at the time that Taylor would be ready for the season.
Instead, Taylor has not done anything on the field and recently had an injection in his leg.
“Next week is really the last shot for us to get a chance,” Carroll said of Taylor, who would need a few weeks of practice before he could play. “ … The treatment that he went through does kind of culminate this week, so we’ll see what that means. I don’t mean to give you any hope at this point, other than we just got to wait and see. But it’s not too late, you know, fortunately, we might have some more games to play, and we’d love to have him available.”
Shell, Dunlap sit out practice
Starting right tackle Brandon Shell and defensive end Carlos Dunlap were among five players who sat out practice Wednesday.
Carroll said there is hope both will play against Washington. Dunlap sat out against the Jets because of a sprained foot, and Shell started after missing two games because of a sprained ankle but departed late in the second quarter after reinjuring it.
Three others also sat out: running back Travis Homer (knee), offensive lineman Jamarco Jones (groin) and safety Damarious Randall (foot).
Six others were limited: running back Carlos Hyde (toe), left tackle Duane Brown (knee/resting vet), safety Ryan Neal (hip), guard Mike Iupati (knee), running back Chris Carson (foot) and guard Phil Haynes (groin).
Among the full participants was backup offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi, who missed the past two games because of a calf injury. Ogbuehi would likely start at right tackle if Shell can’t play.
Mone activated off COVID-19 list
Defensive tackle Bryan Mone has been activated off the COVID-19 reserve list. He remains on injured reserve because of an ankle injury.
Mone was placed on the COVID-19 list Dec. 5, but Carroll said he did not test positive, instead going on the list due to possible contacts. He is the only player the Seahawks have placed on the list this season.