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Friday in Hawkville: Zach Miller will return to practice next week
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 16, when the Seahawks held their final practice before Saturday night’s preseason home opener against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field:
WORD OF THE DAY: ZACH MILLER
OK, so that’s two words. But the word from coach Pete Carroll is good regarding the Seahawks’ starting tight end, who has been on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list since training camp opened on July 25.
Miller will come off PUP today, Carroll said after practice, and be back on the field next week.
“We’ll continue to be very measured in how we bring him back in, but it’s great to have him back and he’s ready to go,” Carroll said.
In Miller’s absence, rookie Luke Willson and second-year tight end Sean McGrath have been getting the work with the No. 1 offense in practice and last week’s preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego – where Willson caught a 15-yard pass from backup QB Brady Quinn on a third-and-7 play.
McGrath and Willson will continue to work with the first unit in the preseason home opener against the Broncos.
POSITION WATCH: RIGHT GUARD
J.R. Sweezy and John Moffitt started there last season – Sweezy in the regular-season opener, the final two regular-season games and both playoff games; Moffitt in Weeks 2-3 and Week 14, after starting the first nine games on the right side as a rookie in 2011 before being injured.
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“The guy we’re watching? Doug Baldwin. He can play. There’s a reason teams inquired about Baldwin’s availability this offseason.”
Elliott Harrison at NFL.com in listing the Seahawks at No. 3 in his most recent NFL power rankings.
Sweezy, who was a defensive lineman in college, got the first reps there in training camp and started the preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego last week.
But offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said it remains an open competition as to who will start the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 against the Panthers in Carolina.
“There’s a battle going on there,” Bevell said. “Both guys are in different situations. Moffitt has played the position for a long time, and J.R. Sweezy is a guy that has been learning. J.R. has done a really nice job in terms of picking it up. What J.R. learned from last year, he has been able to kind of step forward.
“We still need to see one of those guys really take hold of the position. Neither one of them has really jumped ahead of the other. I’d like to see a little bit more out of John, though.”
POSITION WATCH, PART II: RETURNERS
In the ongoing competition to find punt and kickoff returners to replace Pro Bowl returner Leon Washington, Carroll said that Golden Tate will be up first on punt returns and fellow wide receiver Jermaine Kearse will get the first crack on kickoff returns against the Broncos.
Tate averaged 12.6 yards on 16 punt returns as a rookie in 2010, while Kearse has been among the group returning kickoffs in practice.
Rookie running back Christine Michael and veteran defensive lineman Tony McDaniel participated in the 70-minute practice after missing time, but Carroll stopped short of saying they would be able to play against the Broncos.
Carroll also provided an update on Percy Harvin, who had recent hip surgery. There is no timeline for when the receiver/returner/runner might be able to return, and Carroll said it could be another month before it is known whether that can happen this season.
“We just know the surgeon that did the work – the specialist – is thrilled with the way he came back the days right after the surgery. His ability to get range of motion and stuff were way ahead of schedule. So that’s a great sign,” Carroll said.
BACKPACKS: BRING ’EM, AND LEAVE ’EM
The Seahawks are holding their annual Stuff the Bus campaign at Saturday night’s game, and fans attending the preseason home opener are asked to bring backpacks and other school supplies that will be donated to students in Seattle schools.
But do not bring a backpack to take into the game. A new league policy limits items that are allowed inside the stadium – and clear vinyl bags with a Seahawks logo will be available to fans.
UP NEXT: FOOTBALL IN SEATTLE, AT LAST
The last time the Seahawks appeared at CenturyLink Field, it was Dec. 30 of last year and they defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-13 to cap the third-best regular-season record in franchise history (11-5). They return on Saturday night to host the Broncos in their preseason home opener.
The players will be off on Sunday.