By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — On Wednesday, Pete Carroll was excited about the potential return of guard Chester Pitts, who has been out while recovering from knee surgery. One day later, Pitts tenure in Seattle came to an abrupt end when the Seahawks released the offensive lineman.
The hope was that Pitts, who the Seahawks signed as a free agent this offseason, would be able to play this week after missing the first three games while recovering from microfracture surgery on his knee. But when it became apparent Thursday that Pitts wouldn’t be able to play this weekend in St. Louis, the Seahawks had to let him go to free up roster space.
“Chester wasn’t going to be able to make it to the game, he wasn’t going to be able to play,” Carroll said. “In the situation we’re in, we’ve got to make a spot for a guy to be on the roster. We’re hoping Chester is going to get well, he’s just got to get over the hump. He’s close, but he’s not able to go yet. So we needed a spot and that’s why we had to create that. He’s been working like crazy, and we’re hoping he’ll be able to be back here before long.”
Pitts was expected to be a part of the Seahawks future this season, possibly as the starting left guard, and he may end up back in Seattle in the near future if his knee cooperates.
“(General manager) John (Schneider) talked to him,” Carroll said. “I’m hoping Chester understands what we’re doing here. We need a roster spot right now and he can’t play. … This is something we had to do. … He’s been working hard at it. He’s been a diligent worker to get right, it just hasn’t been enough time for him yet. As soon as it does, we’re going to try to get him back out here.”
The current situation on the Seahawks line made it so they couldn’t afford to keep a lineman they knew would be unavailable. Right tackle Sean Locklear didn’t practice Thursday because of a knee injury, making his status a question mark for Sunday, and rookie left tackle Russell Okung will likely play, but he is coming back from a high ankle sprain and hasn’t played since the second preseason game. Starting left guard Ben Hamilton is also battling a knee injury, though he did practice. On top of that, two roster spots are tied up by players signed on Tuesday, tackle Breno Giacomini and guard Allen Barbre. Neither is expected to play Sunday.
No move has officially been announced, but Carroll said the Seahawks will likely activate guard Brandon Gibson from the practice squad to fill Pitts’ roster spot. Gibson was on Seattle’s roster for the first three games, starting the season opener at left guard, but was released on Tuesday, then signed to the practice squad.
In all, the Seahawks now have five linemen out of the nine on the roster — 10 if Gibson is added — who were not on the team in training camp. Left tackle Tyler Polumbus, who could move to the right side if Locklear can’t go, was signed on Aug. 31. Stacy Andrews, the starting right guard now that Max Unger is out for the season with a toe injury, was acquired in a trade on Sept. 5. Guard Evan Dietrich-Smith was claimed off waivers the same day, and Giacomini and Barbre were added this week.
For a unit that relies on cohesiveness more than just about any other in football, that could lead to some growing pains depending on who is available Sunday.
“Every week’s a challenge anyway, then when you’re shuffling cards to find out who you have and who is going to show up on Sunday, that’s always a challenge,” offensive line coach Art Valero said.
Defensive end Chris Clemons was added to the injury report with an ankle injury and did not practice. Linebacker Aaron Curry (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday, while defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (calf), cornerback Marcus Trufant (ankle) and defensive end E.J. Wilson (knee) all sat out for a second straight day.