RENTON — Just two seasons after being the second-leading receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, Early Doucet finds himself in a battle just to earn a roster spot with the Seattle Seahawks.
Doucet signed with the Seahawks over the weekend and stepped onto the practice field for the first time on Sunday. Doucet joins a crowded group at receiver trying to make the back end of the Seahawks roster.
Seattle has 13 receivers vying for playing time as the preseason gets underway Thursday. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin appear to be locks to make the roster with second-year receiver Jermaine Kearse likely the fourth receiver.
With Percy Harvin expected to remain on the physically unable to perform list to begin the season, that leaves eight receivers fighting for likely one or two spots.
Doucet’s versatility is one of the biggest reasons head coach Pete Carroll wanted to add another receiver into the mix.
“He’s been an effective inside receiver, he’s been kind of a jack of all trades,” Carroll said. “He’s done a lot of good stuff, he’s a good special teams guy, too.”
Carroll said he solicited opinions on Doucet from players who played with him in the past. All of them spoke highly of Doucet’s desire and determination.
“The thing that I like about him is how guys who have played against him or who have been on his team talk about his toughness and his competitiveness,” Carroll said. “That part of his makeup will fit right in so we’ll see what happens.”
Linebacker O’Brien Schofield played with Doucet in Arizona and was claimed off waivers by Seattle last week. He said Doucet’s ability to play physical in all aspects of the game was a tremendous asset to their former team.
“He was a guy they sent across the middle so he took a lot of those big hits but he was able to hold onto the ball,” Schofield said. “I think a guy like that bringing a physicality to a group like that is something special.”
Because he was willing to put his body on the line, Doucet has been repeatedly banged up during his five-year career. Doucet has suffered multiple concussions as well as injuries to his ribs, groin, hamstrings, quadriceps and shoulders. It was a concussion last year that ultimately ended his tenure with Arizona as he missed the final three games of last season.
Doucet was already on the sidelines watching instead of participating in practice on Monday. Seattle hopes he’ll be healthy enough to contribute and possibly return to the form he showed during the 2011 season with the Cardinals. Doucet caught 54 passes for 689 yards and five touchdowns that year. His ability to play special teams would also be a benefit for Seattle.
Doucet said all he wants is a chance to prove he’s healthy and belongs.
“That’s all I really ask for, was a chance to come out here and compete,” Doucet said. “I’m not looking for them to give me anything. I want to earn everything that I get. That’s kind of how I have always been and that’s the kind of approach that I am taking.”
Notes: WR Bryan Walters, C Max Unger, DE Michael Bennett and DT Jesse Williams were new additions to the group of players sidelined with injuries. … TE Michael Palmer (groin) returned to practice after missing the past several days. … G James Carpenter took part in early drills before heading into the locker room and not returning. … RB Robert Turbin did not practice Monday despite passing a physical to come off the physically unable to perform list on Sunday. … Walter Thurmond worked with the first-team defense at cornerback in place of CB Brandon Browner. Browner was limited during practice.