Seahawks Notebook: A familiar face returns and a key starter sits out

Sep 25, 2019, 6:03 PM | Updated: 11:01 pm
luke willson, seahawks...
Tight end Luke Willson is back for a second stint with the Seahawks. (AP)

A familiar face makes a return, a competition opens up in the secondary, and a key starter sits out practice — here’s all the latest Seahawks updates from team headquarters Wednesday:

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Tight end switch-up

The Seahawks made a surprise trade Tuesday that sent veteran tight end Nick Vannett to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick. Pete Carroll confirmed the team had also signed tight end Luke Willson for his second stint with Seattle.

The Steelers had apparently been pursuing a deal for Vannett for some time, Carroll said. Knowing Willson was an option to retain depth at tight end – particularly as a veteran already familiar with the system and team – also factored into the timing of the trade. That same reasoning applied to the team’s decision not to promote Jacob Hollister from the practice squad.

“(Hollister is) a little different style of player and we didn’t want to skip a beat if we were going to do something,” Carroll said. “We thought (signing Willson) would be a way to do that. So, we’re not changing anything we do (offensively) by this move. Jacob’s got really good stuff and we like him and all that. His time’s coming.”

Competition is on at safety

Free safety Tedric Thompson was a full participant in practice after missing time last week with a hamstring injury. However, in this case, a return to practice might not mean a return to the field.

Fellow third-year defensive back Lano Hill has made two consecutive starts at strong safety in Thompson’s absence (with the versatile Bradley McDougald starting at free safety, Thompson’s usual position). Carroll said Hill has played well enough to start, and the two safeties are in open competition for a starting role Sunday.

“We’re lucky in that regard,” Carroll said. “We’ve got two guys that can start at that spot and feel comfortable about it.”

Practice report

Four Seahawks sat out practice Wednesday: cornerback Neiko Thorpe (hamstring), defensive end Quinton Jefferson (hip), running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring), and left tackle Duane Brown (biceps).

Brown’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious, but the team opted to give the veteran a rest day.

“He’s a little sore but it’s not serious injury at this point,” Carroll said. “It’s not the kind of damage or anything that we have to be concerned about. We just have to get him ready for the game. We’ll see how he does.”

Seven Seahawks were limited: guard Ethan Pocic (back), defensive tackle Poona Ford (calf), defensive end Ziggy Ansah (back), cornerback Tre Flowers (ankle), running back Travis Homer (quadriceps). Wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf were also limited with non-football injuries, meaning they were also likely given rest days.

It’s the first time Ansah has been listed with a back injury. He spent the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery and also dealt with a groin injury in August. Pocic, Ford and Flowers were on last week’s practice report with the same injuries.

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