Ken Hamlin: A Slight Return

After nearly a month of recovery, Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin made a triumphant return to the practice field on Friday. He wore no pads and made no contact, but his presence was deeply felt.

Hamlin, dressed in a black sweatsuit, made his way to the indoor bubble at the team’s Kirkland facility about halfway through practice. Hamlin first returned to HQ on Wednesday, and coach Mike Holmgren was happy to invite him back.

"I told him to come on over Friday for lunch and see the guys," Holmgren said. "They like to see him too."

Hamlin looked to have lost some weight, but was in very good spirits – laughing and joking with teammates and receiving a bear hug from defensive tackle Chuck Darby. From all accounts, Hamlin’s recovery has been surprising given some accounts of his injuries.

"He really brightened the whole room up," Darby told the media later. "Even with the situation he's in, he still worries about the team more than himself. Ken is a strong man. He's going to go out there and do whatever it takes to get back."

Hamlin was beaten by two suspects outside a downtown Seattle nightclub early on Oct. 17, mere hours after the Seahawks beat the Houston Texans at Qwest Field. He spent three days in intensive care, and six days in all, at Harborview Medical Center with a fractured skull, blood clot near the brain, bruised brain tissue and a fractured bone in his right hand. Hamlin's right wrist was covered by a protective brace on Friday.

The Seattle Police Department have given no indication regarding the apprehension of any suspects in the alteration.

On Nov. 2, the Seahawks announced they would pay Hamlin's contract for 2005, although there is no obligation to pay players for non-football injuries. Hamlin will receive the $245,882 remaining on his $380,000 base pay. That announcement came the day after Hamlin was placed on the non-football injury list, ending his season.

Hamlin stated a wish to attend Sunday's Seahawks-Rams game, but Holmgren said that doctors have not cleared Hamlin to do so. Holmgren also said that there is no idea at this time (and probably not for a long time), just how his injuries will affect Hamlin’s possible return to the field.

"Little by little, he's feeling better, but we've got to take it slow," Holmgren said. "Long-term, I don't have an answer. We're researching that and we're going to do the right thing."

Seattle’s second-round draft pick in 2003 out of Arkansas, Hamlin has become a rising star in a short time. Known for his fierce on-field demeanor, brutal tackles and ever-improving coverage, Hamlin had 26 tackles (22 solo) and 2 passes defensed in 2005. Top Stories