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Russell Okung returns; QB B.J. Daniels released
Russell Okung’s long wait to return to the Seahawks’ lineup is almost over.
The Pro Bowl left tackle was added to the 53-man roster Saturday and Okung is expected to start in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field. He had been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after injuring a toe in the Week 2 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
To clear a spot for Okung, No. 3 quarterback B.J. Daniels was released. He was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 2, but inactive for his first five games with the Seahawks. Daniels was active for last week’s game against the Falcons in Atlanta but did not play.
Okung returned to practice last week and was back in the starting unit during practice this week, so the only remaining step was to activate him. The Seahawks should have their starting line in place for the first time since Okung was injured, as right tackle Breno Giacomini also is expected to start for the first time since injuring a knee in Week 3 and All-Pro center Max Unger will be back after sitting out last week’s game because of a concussion.
Okung and Giacomini were constant companions during their rehab process, which helped each cope with being sidelined.
“It was great having Breno there,” Okung said. “We’re both passionate about the game. We love what we do. We just couldn’t wait to get back and we were encouraging each other the whole time.”
Okung and Giacomini are back, but not all the way. As line coach Tom Cable said, “They haven’t been in the fight for, shoot, seven, eight weeks now. So to expect them to just go the distance and no problems would probably be crazy on our part. So we’ll continue to mix and match a little bit just to get through the game the right way.”
In their absence, Paul McQuistan filled in for Okung and rookie Michael Bowie stepped in for Giacomini. Now, McQuistan is back at left guard. So Cable has options: James Carpenter, who was at left guard the past eight games because McQuistan moved to tackle; rookie Alvin Bailey, who got snaps at left tackle and right guard last week; Lemuel Jeanpierre, who stepped in for Unger last week; and Bowie.
The Seahawks went 7-1 without Okung; 6-1 without Giacomini. They’re also averaging 153.4 rushing yards, which ranks No. 2 in the league.
“I’m delighted for us,” Cable said. “Our football team got a lot better though this tough time, if you will, in regards to depth. So it’s pretty neat.”