RENTON — Will Dissly’s thoughts turned to next season almost immediately after he found out the severity of his Achilles injury Sunday.
The Seahawks, though, have no choice but to think about what to do at tight end for the rest of this season.
Coach Pete Carroll said Monday not to rule out the Seahawks bringing someone in from the outside: “We are always working at it.’’
Some hopeful Seahawks fans Monday took to social media to wonder if maybe Seattle could pry 2017 first-round choice O.J. Howard away from Tampa Bay. With Howard in the midst of a disappointing season, the Bucs are said to be dangling him in trade talks ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline.
But if there are no newcomers, the Seahawks will count on Luke Willson and Jacob Hollister to get by for two games until veteran Ed Dickson is eligible to come off injured reserve. The first game Dickson is eligible to play is Nov. 3 against Tampa Bay.
Dissly almost certainly will be forced to watch it all from the sideline.
Carroll wouldn’t definitively say that Dissly is out for the season during his Monday news conference, saying there was not yet a specific diagnosis of his injury. But he did concede Dissly is out for the season “unless something miraculous happens.’’
The sad reality is that Dissly is likely to be sidelined six games into his second season, after playing just four games as a rookie in 2018 before suffering a patellar tendon injury.
Dissly, whose 23 receptions (for 262 yards) are second on the team, was injured when he cut while trying to catch a Russell Wilson pass in the end zone in the second quarter of Seattle’s 32-28 victory at Cleveland on Sunday. Adding to the frustration, he was not touched on the play.
But Dissly wore a smile in the locker room after the game as he talked to a few teammates on his way out, and Carroll raved Monday about the attitude Dissly displayed when the two chatted before the flight home.
“His attitude was incredible,’’ Carroll said. “He was talking about 2020 already and ‘you can count on me’ and ‘I can’t wait to get going.’ Just an amazing attitude. It was the attitude that took him through the past rehab, and you hate to get good at something like that but he is prepared to take this on and do a fantastic job and will beat all of the time frames that he is faced with and will do a great job returning.’’
Assuming there is no miracle, Dissly is likely to go on injured reserve this week. Seattle needs to open a spot for defensive tackle Jarran Reed’s return from the suspended list (Reed can begin practicing immediately but the Seahawks don’t have to add him to the 53-man roster until Saturday).
Willson will take over as Seattle’s starting tight end — he ended up playing a season-high 56 snaps Sunday. Jacob Hollister, promoted off the practice squad Friday, will be the backup. He played 29 snaps Sunday, with most coming after Dissly was hurt.
Dickson played in 10 games and had 12 catches for 143 yards in 2018, his first season with the Seahawks. An 11-year veteran, he had knee surgery early in training camp, and the assumption has been that he’ll be ready once eligible to play.
But Carroll held out some caution saying that Dickson will have to show in practice that he is recovered.
The Seahawks also used Joey Hunt for seven snaps as an eligible lineman/extra tight end Sunday, and Carroll said that also could continue if George Fant has to start another game at left tackle in place of Duane Brown.