By Chris Cluff
As suspected, guard James Carpenter will not play again this season for the Seattle Seahawks. Not too surprisingly, neither will wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Carpenter was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list Wednesday, and Edwards was waived/injured.
Both moves raise questions. Why was Carpenter’s injury classified as a “non-football illness?” Was it not related to the knee injury that ended his game after one series Sunday? And why was Edwards waived/injured? He played Sunday, getting a touchdown catch overturned on review. He had battled a balky knee all season, so perhaps that was the reason for the designation.
Edwards’ departure is not a huge loss. Since catching a big touchdown pass against New England in Week Six, he had not caught a single pass. He played in 10 of the 12 games and caught just eight passes for 74 yards.
The move leaves the Seahawks with five receivers: Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Charly Martin and Jermaine Kearse. They have been relying largely on Rice, Tate and Baldwin and probably don’t need another. If they do, they have three others on the practice squad: Corbin Louks, Lavasier Tuinei and Phil Bates.
As for Carpenter, his season ends early for the second time in his two years in the league, and you have to wonder whether he can come back healthy in 2013 and claim the left guard position as his own. If he doesn’t get healthy, the Hawks will have to look at drafting a guard in April. For now, though, they will go with John Moffitt or rookie J.R. Sweezy at left guard. They also promoted guard Rishaw Johnson to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
Carroll said Sweezy, who was inactive Sunday and has largely disappeared since starting the opener and playing early in the season, would compete for playing time at both guard spots.
“If Carp has a problem getting back, then we’ll go back to getting Sweezy going, too,” Carroll said Monday. “J.R.’s been banging away at it for some time now. And he’s grown tremendously through the time. So we feel fortunate that he would be available and ready to go, should we need him.”
- Rice got hit hard on his winning touchdown in overtime Sunday, and team medical personnel were on the field immediately to examine the receiver, who ended last season on injured reserve after suffering two concussions. Rice reportedly seemed fine after the game, but Carroll told reporters he would go through the standard concussion evaluation this week. ”We want to be very careful and make sure we know what we’re doing, so he’ll go through the whole sequence of tests and stuff,” Carroll said. “Probably, we will determine on Wednesday where he is, and for Thursday’s practice.”
- Cornerback Marcus Trufant missed the Chicago game with a pulled hamstring and appears doubtful for this week as well. “It’s going to be a challenge to get him back for the game,” Carroll said. “We’ll see what happens.”
- Linebacker Leroy Hill seems likely to return this week after missing the Chicago game with an ankle injury. Second-year linebacker Malcolm Smith acquitted himself well in Hill’s place.
- Cornerback Richard Sherman, who had a bad game against Brandon Marshall, will appeal his four-game NFL suspension Dec. 14, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. That means the Hawks will have him for at least this weekend against Arizona. Brandon Browner, facing the same suspension, seems likely to play as well.
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Chris Cluff worked as a sports editor and writer for The Seattle Times for 11 years and has written two books on the Seattle Seahawks. Since leaving the Times, he has written about the Seahawks and Seattle sports for Bleacher Report and the blog he shares with a fellow sportswriter, outsidethepressbox.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.