By Gregg Bell The News Tribune
RENTON Two more preseason Seahawks are going to be regular-season Seahawks next month.
The NFL on Tuesday announced the formerly eight-man practice squad for the regular season is now 10, effective Aug. 31. The league also upped the maximum number of game-weeks spent on a practice squad for that season to count as one of a player’s maximum of three years of practice-squad eligibility, to six games. It used to be three.
There are other permutations to the new rule, including that a player with at least one season in the league has to have fewer than nine games spent on a team’s active list in any one season to be eligible for any team’s practice squad. An exception to that clause is that each team will be permitted to sign a maximum of two practice-squad players that have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit.
So there are now 64 new jobs in the league during the regular season — two additional practice-squad slots for each of 32 teams. Some Seahawks that weren’t practice-squad eligible before may be now. That may include wide receiver Phil Bates, the former Ohio University quarterback whom Seattle signed in April 2012, released after training camp last year and then signed onto its practice squad last November.
Any preseason Seahawk not making the regular-season roster has to clear waivers after the final cut to 53 players on Aug. 30 — and before the practice squads can be set starting on Aug. 31 – to make Seattle’s practice squad at the start of the regular season.
Here are the upcoming cut days:
On Aug. 26 by 1 p.m. PDT, all teams must reduce rosters to a maximum of 75 players on its active roster.
On Aug. 30, by 1 p.m., PDT, all teams must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on its active roster for the regular season. This is two days after the Seahawks’ final exhibition game, at Oakland. Aug. 30 is also the day teams must designate any players on the physically-unable-to-perform list as either onto the regular-season PUP list, onto injured reserve, waived, having his contract terminated, traded or counted on the active list.
Now that Korey Toomer is back practicing, the only Seahawk still on a PUP list is linebacker Bruce Irvin. Head coach Pete Carroll said Monday that his pass-rushing specialist who had eight sacks as a rookie in 2012 and two amid injuries and a suspension last season could begin practicing in the next two weeks.
Aug. 31, 9 a.m. PDT is the deadline to claim players placed on league waivers the previous day. The new NFL rule announced Tuesday means teams can begin to sign up to 10 free agents to their practice squads at this same hour that day.
No mercy in using Percy
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell reiterated his intent to use wide receiver Percy Harvin in “a lot of different ways” this season.
The Seahawks seem at times almost giddy over the prospect of finally having Harvin fully healthy at the start of a season — or any more than three games of it, as he was limited to last regular season and postseason.
“He makes some wild plays,” said Bevell, Harvin’s offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings in 2009 and 2010.
Those were Harvin’s first two years in the NFL. He had 131 catches for 1,658 yards and 11 touchdowns — plus another 33 rushes with one score and 82 kickoff returns with three touchdowns — combined while playing 29 of a possible 32 games in 2009-10 with Bevell and the Vikings.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said defensive lineman O’Brien Schofield “is somebody that stood out to me in training camp and through the first two preseason games. … You can feel when a guy is going for it, and I can with him this year.” Quinn has moved Schofield exclusively to the rush “Leo” spot on the edge off the offensive formation’s weak side, and Schofield has thrived in his battle with Benson Mayowa for a job as pass-rush specialist. Last year, when he arrived at the start of Seattle’s training camp after being cut by Arizona and claimed by the Seahawks, Schofield played the strong-side “Sam” edge spot with more run responsibilities. … Quinn also praised safety Jeron Johnson, a fourth-year undrafted free agent from Boise State, for his aggressive and dependable play while Kam Chancellor has been coming back from spring hip surgery. “I know we can count on Jeron,” Quinn said.