Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham may miss opener, Pete Carroll acknowledges
RENTON – Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have generally seemed optimistic in their public comments about tight end Jimmy Graham’s availability for the start of the regular season. So it was notable when Carroll raised the possibility on Wednesday that Graham may not be ready by Week 1.
“He’s doing well. He’s making progress,” Carroll said. “We’ve had no issues at all in really the work that he’s doing on the field. That will continue to increase throughout the next few weeks. Really, we’re shooting for, where is he at the start of the season? We’ll evaluate then and how much longer it may take, or he may be ready. We don’t know that yet.”
Fairly evident from those comments is that Graham won’t play at all in the preseason and that he could miss the start of the regular season. That’s not a big surprise given the nature and the timing of his injury, a torn patellar tendon in his right knee. That injury is known to come with an especially difficult and uncertain rehab. Graham, for instance, said he couldn’t even bend his knee for about three months following surgery.
But Carroll’s acknowledgement is notable in light of the optimism the team had previously expressed.
If Graham isn’t ready by Week 1, the Seahawks would have a few options. The first would be to carry him on their 53-man roster, which would make sense if the team felt he was close to returning. The second would be to place him on Injured Reserve, in which case he’d have to miss at least the first six weeks of practice and at least the first eight games. If the team felt that Graham needs that much time, then placing him on IR and recalling him once he’s ready would free up a roster spot in the meantime.
Graham was activated last week off the Physically Unable to Perform list and practiced for the first time since he was injured in a Nov. 29 win over Pittsburgh last season. He’s been limited to individual work since then. Carroll said Graham is close to being able to take part in team drills, but he said it’s “really important to not have any setbacks, so we’re being careful.”
Carroll added that Graham “feels good. He’s confident that it’s going along well. He’s got some tests coming up going into next week that will give us more information. We’ll just see how it’s going. I’m pleased that he’s upbeat about it and confident and he’s working very hard to make sure that he takes full advantage of the rehab time as well as the football time. So we’re making good progress.”
Graham’s uncertain status increases the chances of tight end Brandon Williams making the team in addition to Luke Willson and rookie Nick Vannett. Williams, 28, is a fourth-year player who has played in 31 regular-season games, most of them with Carolina.