RENTON — When the Seahawks began practice Friday at the VMAC, Russell Wilson was again leading quarterbacks through early conditioning work.
But that will be the last on-field work Wilson gets for a few weeks. After Friday’s practice the Seahawks placed Wilson on injured reserve, as well as running back Chris Carson, who continues to battle a neck injury.
That means Wilson and Carson must miss the next three games, beginning Sunday night at Pittsburgh and home games Oct. 25 against New Orleans and Oct. 31 against Jacksonville.
Each can return for the Seahawks’ Nov. 14 game at Green Bay (the Seahawks have a bye Nov. 7), which would be 37 days following the surgery Wilson had last week to repair a ruptured tendon and dislocation in his right middle finger. There have been several reports that Wilson has set the Green Bay game as a target date to return.
In corresponding moves, the Seahawks activated cornerback Tre Brown and offensive lineman Ethan Pocic off injured reserve.
Because Wilson had not been placed on IR he was able to practice this week. He was again listed as limited Friday, as he had been Thursday when he threw a few passes with his left hand.
But with Sunday’s game approaching, Seattle needed the spots on the 53-man roster.
The move makes it official that Wilson’s streak of 149 consecutive games — the sixth-longest in NFL history — will end against Pittsburgh, with Geno Smith getting the start. Wilson also had the second-longest streak of games played in team history behind punter Jon Ryan (159).
For now, the Seahawks have just 52 active players and apparently are planning to elevate Jake Luton off the practice squad to serve as a backup QB to Smith on Sunday. But players can only be elevated from the PS twice in a season and they may eventually have to sign Luton to the 53. The Seahawks also signed Danny Etling to the practice squad this week as additional QB depth.
Carson missed last Thursday’s game against the Rams. But there was optimism he would play when Carroll said Monday that Carson had taken a significant, positive turn in his recovery and said Wednesday that Carson would practice Thursday.
Carson did not practice all week and finds himself guaranteed to miss at least four games this year — the Rams game and the next three — with some increasing concern as to how severe his injury is and if he could miss additional time down the road.
Carroll said Friday that the optimism was based on how Carson felt in the few days following the Rams game.
“He made a really good jump over the weekend and felt way better,” Carroll said. “But coming out of that, starting to go back to work with it, there’s not enough progress made. And so it’s better for us to get him back and make sure that we don’t rush him back. … The jump, that he made was in his relief and he felt way better and all of that, but not ready to play yet.’’
Carson rushed for 232 yards on 54 carries in the Seahawks’ first four games with a high of 91 yards on 16 carries in the season-opening win at Indianapolis before what Carroll said last week is a neck injury Carson has dealt with for a long time began acting up again.
With Carson out, the Seahawks will again turn to Alex Collins as the starting running back. Collins has 124 yards on 28 carries, including 47 on 15 in a start against the Rams.
The Seahawks also have DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer to work behind Collins, and undrafted rookie free agent Josh Johnson is on the practice squad and could be elevated.
Next week the Seahawks expect to get back Rashaad Penny, who has not played since the opener against the Colts because of a calf injury. Penny was placed on IR before the 49ers game and cannot return until the Saints game.
Carroll said Penny, Seattle’s first pick in the 2018 NFL draft who has played just four games since the 2019 season, will be expected to play next week.
“He’s going to be ready to go, and barring any setbacks he’s really hungry to play and help us,” Carroll said.
Carson re-signed with the Seahawks in March, receiving a two-year contract worth up to $10.4 million with $5.5 million guaranteed, including a $4.5 million signing bonus. The contract included a void year in 2023 to spread out the cap hit of the bonus.
Carson has no more guaranteed money in his deal, but with the void year he has cap hits of $5.5 million, $3 million and $1.5 million from 2021 through 2023.
Brown to help on special teams
Brown’s activation means he is set to see his first NFL action against the Steelers. Brown, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, missed the first games because of a knee injury.
His activation will again give the Seahawks five cornerbacks on the roster after the waiving of Tre Flowers. Brown was making a move up the depth chart at left cornerback before going on IR and could potentially get some snaps there in a rotation with starter Sidney Jones IV.
Carroll said Brown is penciled in to get some snaps on special teams.
“He’ll pick up some duties here this week,” Carroll said. “… He’s been good, and we expect him to really grow and become part of this thing.”
Pocic will add offensive-line depth and might get some snaps at center. Pocic was the Seahawks’ starting center when healthy last season but lost the job in camp this year to Kyle Fuller due in part to dealing with a nagging hamstring injury issue. After getting healthy for the season opener and on the field for 14 snaps in a rotation with Fuller, Pocic suffered a knee injury that landed him back on IR.