The Seahawks made it to the final week of the 2020 regular season without having to put a player who was on their active roster onto the reserve/COVID-19 list.
But that streak ended Saturday when Seattle placed starting right tackle Brandon Shell and backup defensive back Damarious Randall on the list, both of whom will now be out for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Friday that Shell had not tested positive but had a close contact with someone who had tested positive — someone Carroll said was not affiliated with the Seahawks. At that time Carroll said he didn’t know if Shell would have to go on the reserve list.
It was learned Saturday that Randall also had close contact with someone who tested positive to also land on the list. That means each now has to be out at least five days but can return with a negative test on the sixth, meaning each would be available for the playoffs, which could begin as early as next weekend for Seattle depending on the results of games Sunday.
“He’s tested negative, but we’re just monitoring it to make sure he’s OK, so he wasn’t out (at practice) today,” Carroll said Friday of Shell, who was officially listed as having been a limited participant in practice. “We didn’t have him on the field today. It’s a developing situation we’ve got to figure out. He’s tested clear, but somebody that he’s worked with hasn’t, outside of the program, so we just got to make sure he’s OK.”
Carroll did not mention Randall when talking to the media Friday. Randall, who has played mostly on special teams this year but can back up all over the secondary and was a first-round pick of the Packers in 2015, was listed as questionable for the game with a foot issue that held him out the past two weeks, and also for non-injury related reasons, which apparently was due to his COVID-19 situation.
Defensive tackle Bryan Mone went on the list in December when he was already on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain. Mone, who did not test positive but had a close contact, was removed from the list the following week and has since returned to action. Seattle also placed receiver John Ursua on the list for one day during training camp before it was confirmed he’d had a false positive test.
The Seahawks on Saturday also made an expected move to add cornerback Tre Flowers to the 53-player roster off injured reserve, while declaring that running back Carlos Hyde is out for the game due to an illness, which Carroll said is not COVID-19. Carroll instead said Hyde had been dealing with flu-like symptoms all week.
With the loss of Shell and Randall for the 49ers game, the Seahawks called up running back Alex Collins and receiver Penny Hart off the practice squad as replacements, and then also used a standard practice-squad elevation on guard Alex Boone.
That puts Seattle’s roster at 54 for the 49ers game, but with four players having been declared out — Hyde, running back DeeJay Dallas (ankle), tight end Greg Olsen (foot), and reserve cornerback Jayson Stanley (hamstring).
Hyde, Dallas and Stanley have been officially declared out via the team’s game status report, while Carroll on Friday said Olsen (officially listed as questionable) would be held out to give his foot another week of rest before the playoffs.
With Dallas and Hyde out, Collins will serve as the third tailback behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Collins has 48 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown in two earlier games this year.
In each of those games (Buffalo and the Rams), Collins was a standard elevation off the practice squad. But rules in place for this year allow teams to also elevate players off the PS if they are specifically filling spots of those put on the COVID-19 reserve list. So that allowed Seattle to get both Collins and Hart on the roster for Sunday’s game. Collins, Hart and Boone will then all return to the practice squad Monday.
Hart gives Seattle a fifth receiver on its roster while Boone is added depth at guard where starting left guard Mike Iupati remains questionable while dealing with a neck/stinger issue. Boone hasn’t played in a game since 2017 but has 86 career starts, most with the 49ers, in a career dating to 2010.
Cedric Ogbuehi will again start at right tackle in place of Shell, who had missed four of the past five games with a sprained ankle. Carroll said Shell had a good week of practice and it appeared he was in line to return to a starting spot before it was learned Friday of his close contact.
If Iupati can’t play then Jordan Simmons will get another start at left guard.
Flowers, the team’s regular starter at right cornerback in 2018 and 2019, has started seven games there this year due to injuries before he was injured. He last played Nov. 30 against the Eagles.
Since then, D.J. Reed has taken over the right cornerback spot and he seems likely to stay there with Flowers returning in what figures to be a reserve role.