DeShawn Shead wasn’t just back on the field with his familiar number 35 on Sunday, but he was also back at the position at which he began his Seahawks career — safety.
The latest player to leave and return to the Seahawks, Shead was re-signed by Seattle on Saturday to bolser depth in the secondary.
And while Shead played basically everywhere in the secondary during his six previous seasons with the Seahawks, during which he played in two Super Bowls, he was used exclusively at safety on Sunday as he took to the field at the VMAC for the first time since the end of the 2017 season.
When he was last with Seattle, he was a corner — starting in the 2016 season on the right side alongside Richard Sherman.
But Seattle has some injury problems and an unsettled situation at safety and has brought Shead in to initially help out there.
“In particular because we have a little depth issue with a couple of guys still banged up in (rookie) Marquise (Blair), he isn’t back out there full go yet — he’s on the field but he’s a couple of days away, and we are still waiting on Lano (Hill). With Lano not being out there it creates more space and need right there (at safety).
“But he will work the one-on-ones (in pass drills) to keep his technique up to par and all that and we know he can do both, so we will just see what happens.’’
Shead got only a little work Sunday but was on the field for one late team drill series alongside rookie Ugo Amadi at the other safety spot.
“It was fun,’’ Shead said. “They had me back out there at safety. I stared my career at safety so any time anybody asks what position I play I tell them ‘DB.’ I play DB. I’ve started games at free, strong, nickel and corner so whatever way I could get on the field and help this team that’s what I’m here for.’’
Shead was still available after his one-year contract with Detroit last year lapsed, spending the offseason working out in both Detroit and Seattle, he said.
He had a visit with the Saints on Tuesday and then got told that the Seahawks were interested, as well. When the Saints didn’t offer him a contract he flew back to Seattle and had a workout on Saturday and signed later in the day.
Carroll said he felt Shead looked back to his old self after having suffered an ACL injury in a playoff game following the 2016 season. That limited him to playing just two games in 2017.
Carroll said the team was interested in bringing Shead back a year ago but “he wasn’t fully back to the standards that we would expect and we couldn’t come to an agreement.’’
Shead then initially signed a one-year deal worth up to $3.5 million with Detroit, but was then released before the season, eventually re-signing with the Lions on another one-year deal that paid the veteran minimum.
That Shead was able to sign anything with Detroit was because the Seahawks released him rather than holding him to having to play under the terms of his old deal. Because he had been on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform list) his contract had tolled and Seattle could have retained his rights in 2018 if it had wanted. Instead, Shead was allowed to become a free agent and explore the market.
“It was a big sign of respect,’’ Shead said of Seattle’s decision then.
Shead signed a one-year deal Saturday that will pay the veteran minimum of $930,000. And with a young and in-flux secondary, he’ll be right in the mix for a roster spot — Hill will be out another couple weeks, Carroll said, as he continues to make his way back from offseason hip surgery.
Carroll said that during Shead’s workout “he looked great. He looked as good as he has ever looked — quick and strong and fit and in shape. He brings us the versatility of playing safety and corner, he can play in the nickel package and he’s an excellent special teams player.’’
But if much was familiar for Shead Sunday, an awful lot was different — mainly, in the locker room and meeting rooms where so many of the players he played with from 2012-17 are gone
“Whole new team,’’ Shead said.
Here is more of what we learned at Seahawks camp Sunday:
CARROLL LOVES FIRST GLIMPSE OF BIG THREE LINEBACKERS
The return of Bobby Wagner to the field Sunday allowed Carroll to get his first look at something he has been really eager to see — Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks lined up together at linebacker.
Since the team re-signed Wright and Kendricks in March, Carroll has talked of his excitement in using the trio together. Last year, they never played together since Kendricks was signed to replace Wright when Wright suffered a knee injury, then was suspended and suffered his own knee injury.
With Wagner back Sunday, Seattle’s usual starting linebacker set consisted of Wagner in the middle, Wright at weakside linebacker and Kendricks at strongside linebacker.
“Yeah that’s pretty exciting to me now,’’ Carroll said. “I’m really excited about that. I’ve never felt the opportunity to have that much experience at that spot. Mychal brings a lot of background and a lot of savvy and natural play and all that along with what Bobby and K.C. can do. There is no question that this defense has a chance to be built around those three guys.’’
BARTON KEEPS IMPRESSING
Rookie linebacker Cody Barton, a second-round pick from Utah, turned in as impressive a play as any seen so far in camp when he laid out to pick off a pass from Geno Smith that was intended for Jacob Hollister.
“As good a play as we have seen in a long time out here at full-speed tempo,’’ Carroll said. “…Cody has done everything right. He has just been a joy. Hard working, really smart, fast, hustles like crazy.’’
Barton is working as a backup middle linebacker and he’ll never see action there as long as Wagner is around. But Carroll seemed to hint that if he continues to play well, the Seahawks will figure out ways to get him on the field.
“We can’t hold him back,’’ Carroll said. “He just looks like he’s really on point.’’
A NEW RECEIVER TO KNOW?
The young receiver who caught Carroll’s eye on Sunday, when the Seahawks were still without pads but when defenders were allowed to make a little more aggressive plays on the ball, wasn’t one of the names anyone has gotten to know well, such as DK Metcalf.
Instead, it was a player whose name hardly anyone around the team may know yet — Daniel Williams — a free agent and three-year veteran (but still just 23 years old) signed last week.
The 6-2, 234-pounder, who has previously been on the rosters of the Jets, Washington and Cleveland, caught a touchdown pass in a red zone session on Sunday and also had a score on a deep pass on Friday.
“Really strong and changes direction really well for a big guy,’’ Carroll said of Williams, who played at Jackson State. “Gets in and out of his breaks and he’s a nice catcher. He’s 220-something – he’s up there — a big, big receiver, and he’s gotten down the field real well. Caught a couple of deep balls for us already. So, a really good start.’’
As for Metcalf, he started the day working with the first team in a two-receiver set along with Tyler Lockett — Jaron Brown and David Moore worked as the backup receivers in that set. He was relatively quiet during the team sessions — at one point, Shaquill Griffin broke back quickly to bat a pass away from Metcalf on a comeback route near the sidelines. But he did have a nice TD grab on Tre Flowers in a seven-on-seven red zone session.
DISSLY BACK IN EVERY WAY
Second-year tight end Will Dissly got his most work yet, taking part in team drills for the first time in training camp as he continues on the road to full recovery from a patellar tendon injury last season.
Dissly’s return also solves another issue for Seattle — backup long snapper.
Dissly spent the early special teams period trading off snaps with regular snapper Tyler Ott, something he also has done earlier in camp.
It was a job Dissly also held last season before being injured. Ed Dickson then took over as the emergency snapper (though he was never needed in a game).
But with Dissly back, he’s apparently also back as the deep snapper.
Also of interest in those sessions was seeing the order of the players the team was using as the up back, or personal protector, for the punter — Shaquem Griffin, Keenan Reynolds and C.J. Prosise. Griffin held that role much of last season, as well.