Well, sort of.
Six months and 13 days after they lost in the final seconds in Super Bowl 49, the Seattle Seahawks play Friday night. And even though it’s just the first of four exhibition games, coach Pete Carroll says “everybody’s playing” against Denver at CenturyLink Field (7 p.m., Ch. 13 in the Puget Sound area, NFL Network nationally).
He said that multiple times in 5 minutes, in fact, following Thursday’s light, walk-through practice.
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Turns out, not everybody will play.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman has “a little bit of irritation” in the hip-flexor area. He sat out the last two practices and won’t play against the Broncos.
“We are going to take care of him and make sure he is right for the long haul,” Carroll said of the NFL’s leading interception man (24) since 2011.
Kevin Pierre-Louis also won’t play. The 2014 fourth-round draft choice from Boston College has been zooming into the starting defense at outside linebacker in the first two weeks of training camp. But he strained his shoulder in the middle of this week, Carroll said. The coach said it is not the shoulder that ended his rookie season early last year.
New nickel back Will Blackmon won’t play, either. He’s missed the last two practices with a “real slight” groin strain, the coach said.
Marcus Burley is likely to start for Sherman. Rookie fifth-round pick Tye Smith is in line to get many snaps there, too. Smith and Burley could also be the nickel backs.
So the “Legion of Boom” will be the “Legion of ... Whom?” against the Broncos. The likely starting defensive backs: Cary Williams and Burley as cornerbacks, Steven Terrell and DeShawn Shead as the safeties.
They will be opposing Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler to start; The Denver Post and other outlets are reporting Peyton Manning will not play.
Russell Wilson definitely will, though. Carroll said his two-time Pro Bowl quarterback who beat Manning in Super Bowl 48 two seasons ago will play “some.”
“It’s not like the great secret of the ages here, but he’ll play some,” Carroll said.
Or maybe it is. Carroll claimed his starters don’t even know how long they are going to play.
His philosophy for exhibition openers is to have his veterans get back to preparing mentally as if they are going to play, a rehearsal to gearing up for real beginning Sept. 13 at St. Louis.
“We are going to go play football, start it off and get ready,” Carroll said. “It’s important as anything for me, particularly for the first guys, to get mentally ready. They start practicing to get ready to play. And so them not knowing how much they are going to play is part of it. And you not knowing how much they are going to play is part of that.
“I want them to go and get ready to go, and then when we take them out we take them out. I think there is a real process to getting mentally right to play this game at this level that we expect. And this is their first chance to get mentally ready. We are going into it (as) it’s a big deal to us.”
Expect Wilson and most of the starters to play one series or two, though it would be a surprise if running back and usual exhibition-game chiller Marshawn Lynch plays that much if at all. Earlier this week No. 1 wide receiver Doug Baldwin mentioned getting “four to eight plays” and then watching the remaining three quarters or so Friday.
In lieu of Lynch, Robert Turbin will be the lead runner, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. Christine Michael, the second-round pick in 2013, will be running after Turbin.
It’s time for Michael to prove coaches can depend on him to nail all his assignments, not fumble, not get upset — and do it all the time. Consistency is Michael’s requirement, with impressive undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls on Michael’s heels if it doesn’t show up in these four exhibitions.
“That’s a really important evaluation for us,” Carroll said of Michael. “We’d like to see how he do. I think he’s going to do really well. He’s a very explosive player and hopefully we can get him enough opportunities.
But it’s not all in one game in the first shot. We’re going to get him all the way in this first month of (exhibition) games.”
Seattle’s most compelling story against Denver is Jesse Williams. He will play tomorrow night about 2 1/2 months after he had surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center to remove his cancerous kidney.
Williams missed his first two NFL seasons with knee injuries for Seattle. Now this — and his remarkable return Friday night.
“Jesse’s going. We are going to play Jesse,” Carroll said. “Can you imagine that? What a story.
“He’s never, never hinted that he wouldn’t make it back and get ready. He’s practiced well. He’ll play — we’ll control the number of snaps that he plays — but he’s going to be out there battlin’. I think it’s a great tribute to the kid. He’s a real competitor.”
CHANCELLOR’S HOLDOUT, DAY 14
Kam Chancellor missed his 12th practice and 14th camp day in his holdout for more than the $4.55 million he scheduled to earn this year. The Seahawks and general manager John Schneider could now fine him in excess of $600,000 and counting, not that they will.
“The conversations there are ongoing,” Carroll said. “John continues to visit with Kam and his representation. Nothing’s changed at this point.”
Shead and Dion Bailey will get much of the time as the fill-in strong safeties tomorrow night. Undrafted rookie Keenan Lambert, Chancellor’s younger brother by four years, will also play there, probably throughout much of the second half.
Singleton signed, Foxx released
The Seahawks announced late Thursday they had released wide receiver Deshon Foxx and signed linebacker Alex Singleton.
Singleton, who signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent May 8, was released Aug. 5.
DENVER BRONCOS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
7 p.m. Friday, CenturyLink Field
TV: Channel 13 Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM
The series: This is the 13th preseason meeting between former AFC West rivals and Super Bowl 48 foes. Denver leads the exhibition series, 9-3. Seattle began last preseason with a 21-16 loss at Denver in a game Seahawks starters hardly played; many such as Marshawn Lynch simply stayed home.
Start settling the offensive line: Drew Nowak is challenging presumed starter Lemuel Jeanpierre to replace traded Max Unger at center as the anchor of a somewhat in-flux line. Former Browns tight end Keavon Milton has risen to challenge Alvin Bailey at left guard, which James Carpenter played until free agency in March. This is test No. 1 to see who wins.
Legion of … who? This is the first time since Pete Carroll arrived to coach Seattle before the 2010 season the Seahawks will play a game — even a fake one — with team leader Kam Chancellor nowhere to be found. His holdout that is entering its third week has forged a competition between DeShawn Shead and Dion Bailey to fill in for him. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas will be watching, out recovering from hip and shoulder injuries, respectively.
Health matters: Almost goes without saying that not having anyone else get hurt in these exhibition games is more important than the final score or just about anything else. Four weeks until the real games begin, and now Kevin Pierre-Louis’ rise to first-team outside linebacker gets stalled by a shoulder strain.
Is the former second-round pick finally going to be consistent?
Could his end in Seattle be near?
College DT, 2014 practice-squad G competing with Lemuel
Jeanpierre to replace Max Unger.
Coming off broken foot. Coaches want to see if he’s as fast in
games as he’s been in camp.
Many Seattle fans wanted this Colorado State tough guy. Now
they can see starter Hawks passed up.
You won’t see much of Peyton Manning, if any. You’ll see plenty
of this former Arizona State QB.
Heralded sack man fell to Denver at 23rd overall after marijuana
citation. A test for Seattle’s offensive line.