Another day, another Seahawks veteran starter going on injured reserve.
An outbreak of injuries and the need for fill-ins to step up continued Wednesday with tight end Zach Miller going on the season-ending injured-reserve list. Coach Pete Carroll said Miller needs a second surgery on his ankle because he is not recovering from a procedure in September that was only supposed to sideline him up to six weeks. It’s been eight weeks and counting since his surgery.
Monday, run-stuffing defensive tackle Brandon Mebane went on IR with a torn hamstring. Carroll clarified Mebane tore the muscle “drastically,” but that for now the Seahawks don’t think it will affect the eight-year veteran’s ability to play in 2015.
As for what’s left behind Miller, a four-year starter for the Seahawks: Recent fill-in starter Luke Willson did not practice Wednesday and said he’s not all the way back from the ankle he sprained last weekend during the win against the Giants. But he and Carroll are pleased by his progress.
No. 3 tight end Cooper Helfet’s sore knee is also improving. And Carroll reiterated Tony Moeaki, the former Chiefs starter Seattle signed last week, needs to be ready for a large role Sunday at Kansas City in what will be his Seahawks debut.
Moeaki caught 47 passes as a rookie starter for Kansas City in 2010. He missed all of 2011 with a knee injury, then had 33 receptions for the Chiefs in 2012 before more injury issues got him released by Kansas City and then by Buffalo last month with an injury settlement.
Moeaki has impressed quarterback Russell Wilson and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell with his catching ability in a week of Seattle practices.
Moeaki said he has many friends still on the Chiefs. He also promises it’s going to be loud Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the league’s most college-like settings.
It also promises to be cold. The forecast for Sunday’s game is a 50 percent chance of snow showers with temperatures in the 20s and a 10 mph wind.
Seattle filled Miller’s roster spot with linebacker Allen Bradford. He will have a prominent role on special teams. The 26-year-old Bradford was most recently released by the Browns after being on the Seahawks’ practice squad for a brief time in early September.
He was at home in Cleveland having just returned from a trip to Toys ‘R’ Us with his daughter Tuesday night when he got the call: Seattle was signing him to its active roster. He was on a 6 a.m. (3 a.m. Seattle time) flight Wednesday from Ohio that landed at SeaTac Airport at 10. By 1:25 p.m. he was on the practice field in Renton.
“It feels like home,” said Bradford, who was on Seattle’s roster for one week early last season, too. “I love being here. There’s not another place like it. It’s like a family here, really a family.”
The Seahawks released linebacker L.J. Fort from the practice squad. They also placed running back Demitrius Bronson from Kent and defensive end Julius Warmsley on practice squad IR, ending their seasons. They filled out their practice squad with fullback Stanley Havili, defensive end Ryan Robinson and running back Cierre Wood.
Seattle now has five former USC players who were Trojans when Carroll was coach there: LBs Mike Morgan, Malcolm Smith and Bradford, plus Havili (practice squad) and safety Dion Bailey (practice squad).
COYLE’S next man hurting
Another reason Bradford is a Seahawk again: Undrafted middle linebacker Brock Coyle did not practice Wednesday because of a gluteal strain. Carroll praised Coyle for playing last week against the Giants while injured, the latest in a pile of accolades from coaches this season for the former captain of the Montana Grizzlies.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was on the field Wednesday doing change-of-direction drills. He is out again for Sunday’s game, but Carroll said his key to the center of the defense may play next week at home against Arizona. Wagner has been out since getting a turf-toe ligament injury during the loss to Dallas five games ago.
Smith is back practicing on a limited basis. He has missed the past two games with a groin injury. If he can play against the Chiefs, K.J. Wright may start at middle linebacker as he did at St. Louis and Carolina last month with Irvin, Smith and emerging rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis outside.
LYNCH, FIVE OTHERS MISS PRACTICE
The rest of the Seahawks practice report from Wednesday: Guard James Carpenter (sprained ankle), running back Marshawn Lynch (calf), defensive back Marcus Burley (hamstring) and defensive end Michael Bennett (rest). Nickel back Jeremy Lane was limited by his groin injury, days after his first game in eight weeks. Safety Kam Chancellor was fully participating after missing the last two games with a groin injury.
Lynch missed practices Wednesday and Thursday last week — then romped for 140 yards and a career-high four rushing touchdowns in the win over New York.
TUKUAFU A D-LINEMAN, TOO?
Fullback Will Tukuafu said he’s been practicing on the defensive line since the former 49er signed with Seattle two weeks ago. He played defensive end and tackle for San Francisco.
“End. Tackle. Whatever,” Tukuafu said when asked what he think he could play for the Seahawks.
So consider him another option in the defensive-line rotation.
Carroll on the report by Fox Sports the Seahawks reached out to out-of-football wide receiver Randy Moss: “Thanks for asking that. That never happened. Won’t say I didn’t get a call from T.O., though,” Carroll added with a grin, referring to also former star wide receiver Terrell Owens. ... Seattle is 3-20 at Arrowhead Stadium dating to 1979. All but one of those 23 meetings in Missouri came when the Seahawks and Chiefs were AFC West rivals, before Seattle moved the NFC West in 2002.