By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – The day that O’Brien Schofield was drafted, coach Pete Carroll called to tell the linebacker the Seahawks were going to do what they could to get him.
Sure enough, they did – three years later. Seattle claimed Schofield after he was released by Arizona, the team that ended up picking him out of Wisconsin in 2010.
“To be able to end up back here, it’s pretty amazing how things work themselves out,” Schofield said.
Schofield was a highly regarded linebacker coming out of college, but his draft position was weighed down by the fact he suffered a knee injury in practice leading up to the Senior Bowl.
The Seahawks had their eye on him, and were looking to choose him the second day of the draft. They had two choices in the fourth round, selecting cornerback Walter Thurmond and E.J. Wilson before Schofield was chosen by Arizona, No. 130 overall.
Schofield had 9.5 sacks in three seasons with the Cardinals, including four in his first nine games last year before he suffered an ankle injury. But defensive coordinator Ray Horton left the Cardinals last year after he was passed over for the head-coaching job and Schofield said it became evident he wasn’t in the Cardinals’ plans before they waived him early in training camp.
“I just know the whole mood toward me changed,” Schoefield said. “So I knew something was going on, but it is what it is, God is still good. I’m here, I’m getting a chance to compete to win a championship on another team where I am needed.”
The Seahawks have played him at strongside linebacker as well as using him as a defensive end in nickel situations during training camp.
“Right off the bat, he has made the impression that he could play outside backer and he could add to our pass rush,” Carroll said. “That’s a great pick-up at this time.”
One other thing: Schofield gets to play the Cardinals twice a year, now.
Change for a nickel?
Cornerback Walter Thurmond has carried his tremendous offseason into training camp, making a case for a role in what is a talented, deep secondary.
“Right now, he’s trying to win that nickel spot,” Carroll said. “That’s the first thing. He wants to play at corner, too, and he can do both. He has shown up most inside at the nickel spot, a place we’ve always wanted to get him into because of his great quickness and play-making style.”
This is Thurmond’s fourth season, but this is undoubtedly the healthiest he has been in any year. He was recovering from a severe knee injury when Seattle drafted him in the fourth round in 2010, he was injured early in training camp in 2011 coming out of the lockout and was not able to participate in training camp at all last year after breaking his leg twice in the span of seven months.
Now, he’s going to force the coaches into a tough decision for the team’s fifth defensive back between he and Antoine Winfield, who was signed in the offseason.
“We’ll see how that works out,” Carroll said. “Antoine is a gifted football player, and Walter – being as healthy as he has been – it has really been a great boost.”
Williams stands out
Don’t dismiss defensive tackle Jesse Williams’ ability to make an immediate impact just yet.
The rookie has been limited by a sore knee, missing three of the team’s first seven practices. He stood out Friday during the Seahawks’ simulated game, though, singled out by Carroll.
“He really looked good,” Carroll said. “That was the best he has looked by far.”
• RB Robert Turbin passed his physical Sunday morning and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He was expected to participate in the evening walkthrough.
• TE Zach Miller remains on the PUP list with a foot injury, but Carroll said he’ll be ready soon, perhaps in time for the third exhibition game.
• DE Cliff Avril ran for trainers Sunday morning, testing the sore hamstring that has kept him out for about a week. “It’s kind of day-to-day now,” Carroll said of the injury. “We’re getting close to get him back.”