Two familiar Seattle Seahawks were back in football pads.
Safety Kam Chancellor and left tackle Russell Okung practiced with the team for the first time since both underwent surgery during the offseason.
They returned to practice in limited action Monday, participating only in position drills. They will be brought along slowly with Chancellor coming off hip surgery in early spring and Okung having surgery on his left foot.
Having Chancellor and Okung return to the field highlighted how few health issues the Seahawks face going into this season compared to this point last year.
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“Our guys had a fantastic offseason,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “They came to camp in great shape, and we are hoping to be fast and ready to go Thursday night.”
The Seahawks entered their first exhibition game last season with nine starters battling injuries, including receivers Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, tight end Zach Miller and pass rushers Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons.
The only regular starters currently out with injuries are linebackers Bobby Wagner and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. Carroll said neither are likely to play Thursday at the Denver Broncos but they aren’t expected to miss extended time. Wagner is dealing with a hamstring injury and Smith is recovering from offseason ankle surgery.
Offensive lineman James Carpenter (calf) was out Monday, but Carroll said he should return in the next couple of days.
“We know that there are a number of guys on the verge of coming back,” Carroll said.
Having Harvin healthy and practicing has been a story in itself. Monday marked just over a year to the day when Harvin announced he would undergo hip surgery, forcing him to sit for all but one regular-season game last season.
Harvin has been given a few off days as the Seahawks monitor his recovery, but is predominately an active participant in practices as he develops chemistry with quarterback Russell Wilson.
“We are trying to figure this out with these short weeks how to monitor him just right,” Carroll said. “He’ll practice in kind of a rotation fashion in these next couples weeks. … It’s really good for Russell to work with him and figure him out because he is that different from other guys.”
Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson returned to practice Monday, wearing a non-contact jersey, but said he is healed from a shoulder injury.
“My shoulder is fine now,” he said. “I’m full go tomorrow. Coach Carroll and the training staff are just making sure everybody is on the same page and that I’m healing.”
That doesn’t mean the Seahawks haven’t been without some injury blows. They lost tight end Anthony McCoy and defensive tackle Jesse Williams for the season. Both players also missed all of last season.
Rookie receiver Kevin Norwood has missed almost a week with a foot injury. Carroll said the team is waiting for more information, but “it’s going to be a bit.”
PATIENCE WITH LYNCH
Marshawn Lynch sat out June minicamp with an ankle injury, but Carroll said the focus on Lynch now is getting him into football shape as he participated in training camp position drills for the first time since his contract holdout.
Carroll said Lynch had a “very diligent (offseason) routine and regiment,” but isn’t in the same shape as others who participated in voluntary Organized Team Activities and the first week of training camp.
“We are going to take our time with him,” Carroll said. “We’ve always been very patient with him, making sure his body is in great shape. He missed a lot of offseason with us. He did work very hard … but it’s still football shape he has to get in.”
OFFENSIVE LINE HELP
The Seahawks announced the signing of offensive tackle Wade Smith to add depth to the position. His signing came following news second-year lineman Michael Bowie had been claimed by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Smith was a third-round draft pick for the Miami Dolphins out of Memphis in 2003 and spent the past four seasons with the Houston Texans.
The Seahawks also signed offensive tackle Cory Brandon off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie tackle Justin Britt (shoulder), who returned to practice Monday, plus Alvin Bailey and recently signed nine-year veteran Eric Winston will all be in the hunt for the Seahawks’ starting right offensive tackle job.
“We want to continue to make this position as competitive as possible,” Carroll said. “These guys, Wade in particular, bring a lot of experience and tremendous flexibility.”
Rookie safety Dion Bailey was on the sideline with a walking boot on his left leg. Carroll said Bailey has a “pretty good ankle sprain.” … Wide receiver Phil Bates left practice with an illness, Carroll said. … Linebacker Bruce Irvin was out, as was defensive tackle Jordan Hill, defensive back DeShawn Shead, rookie defensive tackle Jimmy Staten, rookie linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis and cornerback Akeem Auguste. … Rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh returned after missing last week with a groin injury. … The Seahawks re-signed defensive tackle and Federal Way grad Andru Pulu and cut linebacker Brandon Denmark.