RENTON — Max Unger took on a full work load in Friday’s practice, a good sign for the Seahawks center after he missed the previous two days with a hip injury.
He’ll take on an even more significant load Sunday when he and the rest of Seattle’s line try to deal with New England’s massive interior linemen, particularly Pro Bowl defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, a house of a man who “slimmed down” this year to 325 pounds.
Because the Patriots’ defense relies so heavily on the size of their interior line — Kyle Love, the other starting tackle, is 315 pounds and backup Ron Brace checks in at 330 — having Unger available is big news for Seattle. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll disclosed that Unger had a hip injury Wednesday, then the center missed two days of practice, bringing his status somewhat into question. But Unger was back at work Friday, is listed as probable to play and Carroll said he “is good to go.”
Unger, the most experienced player on Seattle’s young offensive line, said he knows his group is in for a big challenge this week even as most of the attention is focused on the matchup between Seattle’s top-rated defense and New England’s top-ranked offense.
“Their inside players, they’re big guys and they play pretty quick for how big they are,” Unger said. “We’ve got our work cut out, there’s no question about that.”
And despite missing two days of practice, Unger said he is up to speed with this week’s game plan.
“I’ve been in the books pretty hard, and I got to run through probably 90 percent of it today,” he said. “I got the rest of it in the walk-throughs the last couple of days, so I should be good.”
Guard John Moffitt will miss his third straight game with a knee injury that Carroll admitted is “a little more serious than we thought.” Carroll didn’t have a timeline on Moffitt’s return, but said it likely won’t be more than a couple of weeks.
Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who isn’t a starter but sees significant playing time, is doubtful with a groin injury suffered last week. Seattle is a bit thin at defensive tackle this week with fellow reserve Jaye Howard out with a foot injury. Rookie Greg Scruggs could see an increased role this week with both of those players out.
In addition to Unger, running back Marshawn Lynch (back) is also listed as probable after practicing fully Thursday and Friday.
Retired Pro Bowl safety Lawyer Milloy was in the Seahawks locker room Friday catching up with some former teammates who are preparing to play some more of Milloy’s former teammates. Milloy, a University of Washington All-American, spent the first seven seasons of his career in New England, then eventually finished his career playing two seasons in Seattle. And while Tom Brady and Deion Branch are his only remaining teammates from his days in New England, Milloy still feels strong ties to both franchises.
“I’m very neutral because of my personal relationships,” he said. “… This is the home team, so I always lean more towards the home team. That’s the thing about being retired, I’m nondenominational. I’m just an NFL fan.”
Despite being neutral, Milloy said he gives the edge to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s going to be a great game,” he said. “Both teams match up well against each other. The Seahawks always got a chance at home, and I think that’s the reason why I’m swinging towards the Seahawks. At home, I put my money on them at all times.”
Besides, neutral or not, Milloy has one reason to pull for the Seahawks — he has their defense on his fantasy team.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.