Focus on: Chris Clemons

Posted Sep 4, 2013

It was only a few snaps in an individual drill early in practice, but getting Chris Clemons back on the field on Wednesday was the next step in getting the Leo end back in the Seahawks’ lineup.

Chris Clemons hunkered into his familiar pass-rushing stance. He uncoiled at the snap, planted on his left leg and quickly changed directions.

It was only one snap, and in the earliest drill of a midweek practice. But just having Clemons on the practice field – in his helmet and No. 91 jersey – was a needed step in getting the Seahawks’ sack leader in each of the past three seasons back where he belongs, and the team needs him: at the hybrid Leo end position.

Clemons has been sidelined since tearing a ligament and meniscus in his left knee during the wild-card playoff victory over the Washington Redskins in January. He didn’t play during the Seahawks’ unbeaten preseason, and won’t play in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Panthers in Carolina.

But what Clemons did on Wednesday – as little as it was – is significant because it’s the latest step in his arduous rehab following surgery. And the next needed step in getting him back in the lineup, so he can add to the 33.5 sacks he has produced since being acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010.

“We are just trying to get him back on the practice field,” coach Pete Carroll said just before that next-step goal was achieved.

Clemons’ very limited work was conducted with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and the other Leo ends – O’Brien Schofield, who may likely start against the Panthers; rookie free agent Benson Mayowa, who also will get some snaps there after leading the team with 3.5 sacks in the preseason; and free-agent addition Cliff Avril, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury but also got some limited work on Wednesday.

Always the leader by example, Clemons was coaching up Mayowa and offering advice to Schofield between snaps.