RENTON — Ziggy Ansah played in just two playoff games in six years with the Detroit Lions. The Seahawks, in that time, have played in 11.
The prospect of playing in the postseason more often was among the factors that drew him to the Seahawks, Ansah said Thursday in his first comments to the Seattle media since signing as a free agent in May.
Ansah hadn’t talked until this week is that he hadn’t been healthy enough to practice; injured players are typically kept off-limits to the media.
That Ansah is back practicing will make the playoff berth he’d like to get that much more realistic, especially now that he has Jadeveon Clowney ready to pair with him on the other side of the Seahawks’ defensive line.
“I think when you put that combination together it really speaks for itself,’’ Ansah said. “Both of us are excited for the season, and you guys should be looking forward to something great.”
Ansah signed a one-year, $9 million deal in May, shortly after the Seahawks traded Frank Clark, with the expectation he could help replace the pass-rush explosion Clark produced last season when he finished with 13.
But the Seahawks have had to wait a while to see what Ansah may be able to do as he recovered from surgery to fix a torn labrum in his shoulder that limited him to seven games last season. He suffered a groin injury during conditioning early in training camp.
Ansah returned to practice last week but was listed as a limited participant on Thursday as the team eased him into action.
Ansah seemed to float the idea that it’s still unclear if he’ll play at all.
“I think coach Pete (Carroll) would be the best person to tell you how many reps I’ll have in the game, if any,” he said. “Fitness-wise, that’s all I’ve been doing is running around, just trying to get in shape, and play some football.”
But maybe Ansah was just being cautious.
In general, Ansah spoke optimistically of his health saying his recovery “seems to be going smooth.’’
The hope is he’ll be back to the form that allowed him to get 14.5 sacks in 2015 and 12 more in 2017.
If so, he may be able to command a lot more than an incentive-laden, one-year deal from the Seahawks or someone else.
The Seahawks had talks with Ansah lengthy talks last spring before he finally signed, due in part to concerns over his health (his delayed signing meant he did not count against the formula for determining compensatory draft picks).
Ansah said he had other offers and was waiting for “a contract I was satisfied with.’’
But money wasn’t all he thought about, he said.
“Yeah, there were a few things I had to consider before joining the Seahawks,’’ he said.” I respected how beautiful the city is, and how great the people are. This is a great team. We all know what Seattle is known for — try to make the playoffs, try to be Super Bowl contenders. I wanted to be part of a team that could make a run to get to the Super Bowl.”
He hopes he’s able to be fully apart of it Sunday, getting antsy to get back on the field after not having played since Dec. 9
“I haven’t played football in a very long time,’’ he said.” I just can’t wait to hit somebody. I can’t wait to make my first tackle, I can’t wait to get my first sack, I just can’t wait to get out there and play with the guys here in this building. We have a bunch of great guys here, and I can’t see myself anywhere but here and I’m really excited to be a part of this program.”
Moore, Hunt, the only players to sit out practice
Only two players sat out all of Thursday’s practice — receiver David Moore (shoulder) and center Joey Hunt (ankle).
Those two are assured of being two of the team’s seven inactive players against the Bengals.
The Seahawks may have a healthy roster otherwise.
Seven other players were listed as limited participants, but all have also been portrayed as having at least a chance to play.
Those seven were Ansah, Clowney, WR Jaron Brown (toe), OT George Fant (ankle), DE L.J. Collier (ankle), OL Mike Iupati (foot) and OT Duane Brown (knee).
Clowney’s limitation was listed as noninjury related with his snaps being limited as he works his way back into football shape.
Of the rest, Iupati may be the most questionable as he has been out most of the offseason while battling foot and calf issues.-He did not play in the preseason. Carroll said Wednesday he is trying to make it back and didn’t rule out he could be available. At this point it seems likely Ethan Pocic will start in his place at left guard.
That Fant practiced again Thursday and is on the way back from the ankle injury that held him out for the final three preseason games.
DK Metcalf was listed as a full participant as were safety Marquise Blair and linebacker Shaquem Griffin.