RENTON — Walter Thurmond said the key to keeping a positive attitude despite so many setbacks is rolling with the punches.
And man has the third-year Seahawks cornerback taken a pummeling.
Going back to his senior year at Oregon, Thurmond has dealt with more significant injuries than many players do in a career, yet he is still upbeat as he prepares for his first game action of the 2012 season.
“Stuff happens,” Thurmond said. “That’s the consequence of playing the game we play, I realize that. Things just happen, and I’m rolling with the punches and staying as positive as possible and waiting for my time to come when I can get back out there.”
Stuff happens? Sure, stuff happens, but Thurmond sure seems to have faced a lot more than his fair share of “stuff.” As a senior at Oregon, Thurmond was considered one of the top cornerbacks in his draft class, but he suffered a devastating knee injury early in the season, which caused him to fall to the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Thurmond was far from 100 percent heading into his first training camp, though he did play 14 games as a rookie, mostly seeing action on special teams, though he did start one game late in the season.
When Marcus Trufant went on injured reserve with a back injury last season, Thurmond finally got his chance to start, and there was a thought that if Thurmond played well, he may never give up that starting spot. Instead, Thurmond made just two starts before suffering a season-ending injury of his own, breaking his leg in Seattle’s loss to Cleveland. And instead of Thurmond cementing his role as a starting cornerback, it was Richard Sherman who did so in the second half of last season. Still, Thurmond was poised to come back this season and become Seattle’s nickel back — the third cornerback who plays primarily in passing situations. But he re-injured his leg in March, requiring another surgery and another long rehabilitation process.
“Being a competitor you never want to just watch on the sideline,” Thurmond said. “You want to be out there competing and sweating and sharing blood with your teammates. It’s tough, but I have a little bit of practice at it. I’m just trying to be patient and waiting for my time to come.”
Thurmond’s time may well finally come on Sunday in Miami. Thurmond has been practicing with the team since last month, and was recently added to the active roster from the Physically Unable to Perform list. He was inactive for the Seahawks’ win over the Jets, but head coach Pete Carroll said he is hoping to get Thurmond into the game this weekend.
How Thurmond will be used this weekend and for the rest of the season remains to be seen. Trufant has been playing in the nickel spot this season, a change for the veteran, and while he has handled the move well, the Seahawks view Thurmond as the long-term answer at the position. Thurmond also gives the Seahawks a very capable backup should starting cornerbacks Brandon Browner or Sherman suffer an injury.
“We’ll see,” Carroll said when asked how Thurmond will be used. “He’s been battling Tru at the nickel spot, but he’s been battling to play outside so we’ll see. He’s a special football player so we’d like to get him involved some. It might be in some dime situations as well, so we’re looking for a spot for him.”
Whatever his role, Thurmond can’t wait to see game action for the first time in 13 months.
“I’m ready to get back out there,” he said. “It’s been over a year now, so I’m trying to get back out there and actually get into some live action. I’m patiently waiting, and I have my pager waiting for the call.”
And please, no more punches. Thurmond has rolled with plenty already in his young career.
Rookie Guy suspended
The NFL announced Tuesday that rookie safety Winston Guy has been suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. Guy, a sixth-round pick out of Kentucky, has been inactive for eight of 10 games this season.
Guy’s agent, Greg Linton, told the Associated Press that his client’s positive test was an innocent mistake, the result of an ingredient in an over-the-counter supplement he was taking. Guy will not appeal the suspension and will be eligible to return to action for Seattle’s final two games.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.