By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – Bruce Irvin is the fastest of Seattle’s speed rushers, but it’s his quickness that will determine how soon he’ll get on the field after returning from a four-week suspension for taking a banned substance.
“We’ve got to get him on the practice field first,” coach Pete Carroll said. “See what he looks like.”
Irvin was not allowed to be at Seahawks headquarters during his suspension so he spent the last four weeks at West Virginia, where he went to school. He returned to the Seahawks in great shape and feeling healthy after being bothered by an injured groin muscle. On Wednesday, Irvin began a week of practice that will determine how much of a role – if any – he has on Sunday in Indianapolis.
“We’ve still got to see what he’s doing and what he looks like,” Carroll said. “This is a bit of a transition for him.”
Not only is Irvin returning from a suspension, he’s also changing positions as he goes from defensive end to strongside linebacker, where Malcolm Smith has been the starter.
“It’s a little different,” Irvin said of the switch. “They try to keep it as simple as they can for me … The transition has been pretty good.”
It has been better than that, according to Carroll.
“He has done exceedingly well,” Carroll said. “We really will not have any restrictions in the game-plan if he’s out there playing. We’ll go for it.”
Irvin was a first-round pick in 2012 and he had eight sacks last season, most of any rookie. On Wednesday, he was asked how he felt returning to the team, and he didn’t say anything at first, just smiled.
“My smile explains everything,” Irvin said. “It feels great. It was tough watching these guys for four weeks. I paid my debt to society. Now it’s time to get back to work.”
Seattle currently has a roster exemption for Irvin, allowing him to practice with the team without being added to the 53-man roster. He must be added to the roster by Saturday to be eligible for Sunday’s game.
• C Max Unger (arm) and S Jeron Johnson (hamstring) were limited in practice.
• RT Breno Giacomini (knee) remains in New York, where he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday. Carroll did not specify a timetable for his return.
• DT Brandon Mebane (ankle), RB Spencer Ware (ankle), CB Jeremy Lane (hamstring) did not practice because of injury. DT Chris Clemons and RB Marshawn Lynch also did not participate in practice, but that was not injury-related.