By Brent Stecker
Most of the attention from the early days of Seahawks training camp has been focused on the absence of wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has a hip injury that has kept him out of action. But he’s not the only Seahawk with big expectations for the upcoming season that is being held out of practice.
Zach Miller, shown here wearing a boot on his injured foot June 11, has yet to participate in training camp. (AP)
Tight end Zach Miller has yet to step on the field due to a sore foot, and as ESPN football analyst John Clayton explained on “Cold Hard Facts” on Friday, his absence may be more devastating to the Seahawks than Harvin’s.
“I’m more worried about Zach Miller (than Harvin). To me that’s the bigger worry, because if this is a carryover injury from last year, that’s not good,” Clayton said.
Miller suffered a torn plantar fascia during the Seahawks’ playoff loss to the Falcons in January, though he only briefly sat out of that game before returning. The team says he’s currently dealing with a different injury to the same foot.
Miller is a former Pro Bowl selection with the Raiders who is entering the third year of a five-year, $34 million contract with Seattle. He caught 38 passes for 396 yards in 2012, and led the Seahawks in receiving in both of their playoff games. Miller and Michael Palmer, a former backup with the Falcons who signed with Seattle last week, are the only tight ends on the Seahawks’ roster with a reception in a regular-season NFL game, which makes Miller’s injury particularly problematic.
“At tight end, what are you going to do? (Rookie) Luke Willson, he’s raw,” Clayton said. “He’s a good pass catcher and he may be good down the line, but he’s not going to be equal to Zach Miller, and Sean McGrath’s not going to be equal to Zach Miller.”
Seattle doesn’t have that same issue at wide receiver, even with Harvin sitting out.
“They have options at wide receiver. These are the same group of receivers that were there last year, with the addition of Chris Harper,” Clayton said. “They have slot guys. They can take Doug Baldwin and put him in the slot, they can take Golden Tate and put him in the slot.
“Miller I think is the more serious worry. Harvin’s like the big bonus. If he can come in and just add to this mix, you don’t know how good this thing can be. It can be awesome as far as all that goes. But they do have more options at receiver if Harvin’s not there than they do at tight end.”