Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll met with the local media following Monday's practice in preparation for Sunday's matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. The normally optimistic head coach was even more enthusiastic than normal, likely due to several key Seahawks returning to health, including second-year wideout Paul Richardson, who officially returned to the practice field.
The speedy second-year receiver proved Monday that he is well ahead of the full-year recovery timetable most athletes have following surgery to repair a torn ACL. Richardson returned to practice Monday after injuring his knee during Seattle's divisional round playoff victory over the Carolina Panthers January 10. Carroll was giddy with Richardson's return, noting that he looked "lightning fast."
Carroll explained that he didn't want to push Richardson too hard too fast but didn't think it was unrealistic that he might be able to play as soon as Sunday against the Cowboys.
"I don't think it's unrealistic," Carroll said. "I think that because of the workouts they've taken him through, there's a chance of that. We'll just see what that means, I don't know and I'm not going to hold out hope for it. We'll just go one day at a time and see what happens."
Now that Richardson is back at practice and officially off the Physically Unable to Perform List, the Seahawks have 21 days to add him to add him to the active roster (which would mean releasing another player).
While Richardson was certainly the biggest storyline, the Seahawks also received positive news on several other injured players, including cornerback Marcus Burley (thumb surgery), fullback Derrick Coleman (concussion), defensive tackle Jordan Hill (quad) and center Patrick Lewis (ankle) and linebacker Nick Moody (ankle), each of whom are expected to return to practice on Wednesday.
Burley and Hill could be especially important this week given Dallas' varied offense, which may get Pro Bowl wideout Dez Bryant back and still boasts one of the NFL's most potent rushing attacks.
Carroll praised Burley for his quick recovery, noting that the corner will practice this week with a cast.
"Yes, he will [return to practice]," Carroll said. "He's got a cast on there and he'll be ready to play, we think. We'll see how he does during the week and figure out what that means. He practiced last week and looked good, and stayed out of trouble with it, so he's amazing. He had pretty sophisticated surgery and he's back already, so we're thrilled about that. He looks good and doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all."
The Seahawks could be healthier entering Sunday's tilt with the Cowboys than they've been all year long. "Starting" nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane is close to returning to action, as well, with the Seahawks hoping he could be available for Week Ten's matchup with the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals.
"He's a couple weeks back," Carroll explained about Lane. "I think what we're aiming for is the week after the bye to try to practice him and start it up with him. He's close and he really wants to go. He's anxious, and the trainers just want to make sure that they do everything they can to get him as ready as possible. At this time, after you've waited this long, I think it's good to exercise caution here and make sure we don't go too quick."