By Gregg Bell The News Tribune
OAKLAND, Calif. — Percy Harvin did not make the trip for the Seahawks’ exhibition finale, and he was one of 11 who did not play exactly one week before the games get real in the NFL opener at home against Green Bay.
The team said before Thursday’s game that Harvin remained away for a “personal matter.” The wide receiver, electric in practices and the first three exhibition games since offseason hip surgery, missed the final two practice days of this week for the same reason.
The other nine Seahawks who did not make the trip were injury related: Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (sore knee), cornerback Jeremy Lane (groin); cornerback Tharold Simon (foot); running back Christine Michael (hamstring); third tight end Cooper Helfet (knee); linebacker Bruce Irvin (hip); defensive tackle Jimmy Staten (hamstring); defensive end Michael Bennett (hamstring) and rookie wide receiver Kevin Norwood (foot).
What to do with Norwood?
Will the Seahawks keep Norwood on the 53-man active roster that they must set by 1 p.m. Saturday, even though he hasn’t practiced since the opening days of camp almost a full month ago now?
Carroll said again this week that his fourth-round draft choice from Alabama might return to practice next week before Thursday night’s opener against Green Bay. Another option would be to place Norwood on injured reserve, though that would keep him out for the year. A third option would be the IR list with the one exemption to return to play in the middle of the season, though Seattle may not want to use that single move for the year on a rookie reserve wide receiver.
Norwood most likely wouldn’t get onto the practice squad that is to be set Sunday; another team would likely claim him during the 24-hour waiver period from Saturday at 1 p.m. to Sunday at 1 p.m. and put Norwood on its active roster after having scouted him this winter for the draft. His situation could potentially effect whether Seattle keeps Terrelle Pryor and three quarterbacks, the fate of Bryan Walters as a punt returner or extra wide receiver, extra offensive and defensive lineman, etc. Yes, for a rookie, Norwood has some roster clout right now.
One of the many tailgates in H lot immediately north of the stadium Thursday afternoon included a woman wearing a Marshawn Lynch No. 24, blue Seahawks home jersey and Seahawks beanie, high-fiving and mixing with Raiders fans. This is, after all, the hometown of Seattle’s star running back.
Lynch graduated from Oakland Tech High School, about a 10-minute drive up Interstate 880 from the Oakland Coliseum, and then played for the University of California in neighboring Berkeley.
Not surprisingly, Lynch did not play Thursday. His only carries of the preseason came in the first drive last week against San Diego, three rushes for 17 yards including a 1-yard touchdown.
Walters’ bid to make the team
Five Seahawks took the field for pregame special-teams work. Safety Earl Thomas, wide receiver Bryan Walters, cornerback Richard Sherman and corner Phillip Adams were returning punts. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin was the first one practicing kickoff returns.
Thomas, the All-Pro safety, didn’t return punts as he had in the first three preseason games. Walters fumbled a kickoff in the first quarter and Oakland scored one of its three touchdowns of the opening quarter on the next play.
Walters, a native of Kirkland and the Ivy League career leader in punt returns at Cornell, was so anxious to return the next two Oakland kickoffs that went for touchbacks that he edged his heels inside the back line of the end zone and tried to lean back to catch the ball like an outfielder over a fence. In the second quarter, Walters had a nice punt return of 13 yards, taking the ball on one bounce off the baseball dirt and making two Raiders miss without any blocking for him.
Welcome back, Part II
Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable spent part of the early pregame on the sunny field visiting with his former Raiders players and some executives. Cable was Oakland’s head coach from 2008-10, and he remains loved by players and staff here. He arrived for the 2007 season from Atlanta to be Lane Kiffin’s line coach with the Raiders.
Rookie DE Cassius Marsh left the game in the first half with a hip injury. … LB Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl MVP who made his exhibition-game debut last week after surgery in the spring on his ankle, was the last starter on defense to leave the game. He departed late in the second quarter. Like Okung, he’s trying to get in game shape for next week’s opener. … The Seahawks have Friday and Saturday off from practices — another reason why Harvin wasn’t at the game. Full preparation for the Packers begins on the practice field in Renton on Sunday morning.