Share this story...
Latest News

Seahawks notebook: Pete Carroll says Earl Thomas, Tyler Lockett on track to be ready for start of 2017

Pete Carroll on Earl Thomas: "All indications are that he will make it back (by Week 1). He's doing very well." (AP)
LISTEN: Pete Carroll on the combine, Jimmy Graham, Blair Walsh and more

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Thursday that free safety Earl Thomas and wide receiver Tyler Lockett are both on track to be ready by the start of the regular season as they recover from broken legs.

“I don’t think there’s any reason not to say that for those two guys,” Carroll said during his podium session at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. “Both those have a really good chance to be there as we kick off the season.”

Carroll added about Thomas: “All indications are that he will make it back. He’s doing very well.”

Lockett gruesomely broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg in Week 16. Carroll said a few days later – after Lockett had surgery – that the injury shouldn’t impact his availability for the start of next season. Lockett told Gee Scott last month that he will “for sure” be ready. So Carroll’s latest comments on Lockett were more affirmation.

Listen: Pete Carroll with John Clayton from the scouting combine

Thomas broke his left tibia in Week 13 and immediately afterward tweeted that retirement was running through his mind. He tweeted a few weeks later that he was coming back next season.

“It was a big shock. It was a big shock to him,” Carroll said of Thomas, who, before breaking his leg, hadn’t missed a game since entering the league in 2010. “He had never been injured before like that. He’s feeling very competitive about it and he’s going for it and his mentality is strong. He’s looking forward to getting right.”

Carroll isn’t ruling out cornerback DeShawn Shead for the start of the season, but he’s by no means expecting him to be available as he recovers from a torn ACL in Seattle’s divisional-round playoff loss. General manager John Schneider said Wednesday that he doesn’t think Shead will be ready by Week 1, noting the timing of the injury.

“DeShawn is such an extraordinary healer and a competitor, I wouldn’t put any limits on him right now, but it wouldn’t be unlikely that he might go into the season before he’s ready to go,” Carroll said. “But he’s too much of a battler and he can do some marvelous things.”

Carroll said it was “cleanup work” that strong safety Kam Chancellor had on both of his ankles after the season.

Carroll expects Gilliam back

Carroll had a brief but nonetheless definitive answer when asked if he anticipates Seattle bringing back right tackle Garry Gilliam: “Yeah. Yeah we do.”

Gilliam is a restricted free agent, which essentially means the Seahawks control his rights and can bring him back if they want to. They could do so by either tendering him as an RFA, non-tendering him and then trying to sign him as an unrestricted free agent – which would mean he’d be free to sign with any other team – or tendering him at the lowest RFA level then renegotiating a lower salary later.

Gilliam being back next season doesn’t necessarily mean Gilliam being back as Seattle’s starting right tackle. It could be to compete for that job with a draft pick, a veteran free-agent addition or perhaps another player already on the roster, Rees Odhiambo.

This post goes into more detail on Gilliam’s situation and those of Seattle’s other four RFAs.

Coaching-staff changes

The Seahawks announced several changes to their coaching staff on Thursday, some of which were already known.

The previously unknown additions are Tom Donatell as quality control/defense and Clint Hurtt at defensive line.

Four assistants got new titles/roles: Heath Farwell goes from coaching assistant to assistant special teams coach, John Glenn from defensive assistant to assistant linebackers coach and Chad Morton from assistant special teams/assistant running backs coach to running backs coach. Nick Sorensen, previously assistant special teams/assistant defensive backs coach will only have the latter title.

So Farwell jumps into the assistant special teams role previously held by Sorensen and Morton. Morton replaces Sherman Smith as Seattle’s head running backs coach. Glenn moves up to Lofa Tatupu’s old spot, where he’ll work behind Micheal Barrow.

Tatupu played for Carroll at USC and his last season with the Seahawks was Carroll’s first. He joined Seattle’s coaching staff in 2015.

“Lofa really made the choice to get out of coaching,” Carroll said. “He took a good look at it. I loved having him with us, I’ve loved competing with Lofa. He’s always been one of my favorite guys I’ve ever got a chance to work with and he did a great job for us, but he had family concerns and issues he wanted to make sure and attend to. He’s spent a lot of his years in big-time football and he wanted to make sure and do everything he could to make his family as strong and healthy as possible.”

Hurtt coached in college for 13 seasons and spent the last three with the Bears as their assistant defensive line coach and then outside linebackers coach. The Seahawks’ press release refers to him as “defensive line coach” but doesn’t mention any change with Travis Jones, who has held that title the last four seasons.

Donatell spent the last two seasons at UCLA, where he was a graduate assistant. He’s the son of long-time NFL assistant Ed Donatell.

Those changes are in addition to assistant head coach/defense Rocky Seto leaving to join the ministry.