Starters get a look as Hawks host Bears

All James Carpenter wanted was to be able to run. That seems an odd wish coming from a 6-foot-5, 321-pound offensive lineman.

RENTON, Wash. (AP)

For each offseason during his brief NFL career since becoming a first-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011, Carpenter was undergoing or recovering from some surgery. So when the 2014 offseason arrived and Carpenter wasn't in recovery mode, running was a joy.

''This time I was really able to run and I was excited about doing it,'' Carpenter said.

Carpenter's transformation has stood out during Seattle's training camp. He's down 15 pounds from where he finished last year and his conditioning has improved to where he doesn't need to be in a rotation.

Carpenter will get his most extensive playing time of the preseason Friday night when the Seahawks host Chicago in the third preseason game for both clubs. He won't be alone as both teams are expected to play their starters for at least the first half and possibly into the third quarter.

This is truly the dress rehearsal, especially for Seattle, which is unlikely to let its starters see much of the field next Thursday in Oakland with the season opener against Green Bay seven days later. That includes Marshawn Lynch, who coach Pete Carroll said would get some carries.

''We just want guys to play. We want them out there and get them play time just to get adapted to the new season again,'' Carroll said. ''As we stage it, this is the game they will play the most.''

Carpenter's career has yet to match the expectations that came with being a first-round pick. He was supposed to be a tackle, but moved to guard after a major knee injury ended his rookie season early. Knee problems and a concussion ended his 2012 season early as well.

Last year, Carpenter was still in recovery mode, but Seattle wanted to get him on the field. He started 12 games and played in 18 of 19 during Seattle's run to the title. Most of that time was spent in a rotation at left guard. Thanks to having a full offseason and making changes to his eating habits, Carpenter is in shape to have the position all to himself.

''I changed my diet, did a whole bunch of leg workouts trying to keep my legs strong, and ran,'' Carpenter said. ''Mostly that is what I was really focusing on. I missed being able to run all the time and that was my goal.''

To read more about the Seahawks' game vs. the Bears, visit FOXSports.com


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