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Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
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Russell Wilson will not play in Seahawks preseason opener

Russell Wilson will sit, allowing Geno Smith to start in the Seahawks preseason opener. (AP)

The Seahawks will rest quarterback Russell Wilson in their preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Thursday, marking Wilson’s first time missing a preseason opener.

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Head coach Pete Carroll cited two reasons behind the decision: The Seahawks’ first-team offense rarely plays more than a series in Week 1 of the preseason and got plenty of work against the first-team defense during practice this week, and the Seahawks’ youngest players need as many reps as possible.

While Carroll didn’t say it, keeping Wilson out of the game also eliminates any injury risk for a $35-million-per-year franchise quarterback.

“We’re going to play our young guys a ton,” Carroll told reporters Wednesday. “There will be some mixes in the starting lineup that you’ll see right from the get-go and some guys won’t play in this game. But it’s really the game to get the season started and get these young guys rolling and give them the opportunity to compete like we want to compete around here. We want to see these guys, see if these guys can help our football team and they can’t do it just watching, they need to get out and play.”

Geno Smith, who is competing with Paxton Lynch for Seattle’s backup QB job, will get the start against Denver despite missing practice Tuesday.

Seahawks-Broncos coverage will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle and KIRO Radio 97.3 FM with the pregame show. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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