Focus on: Walter Thurmond

Posted Sep 13, 2013

With cornerback Brandon Browner listed as doubtful for Sunday night’s nationally televised home opener against the San Francisco 49ers, Walter Thurmond could start for the second consecutive game.

Leave it to Kris Richard to see the twist of fate that is Walter Thurmond likely replacing injured cornerback Brandon Browner for Sunday night’s nationally televised home opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

“The irony is he’s kind of right back in his spot,” Richard, the Seahawks’ defensive backs coach, said after Friday’s practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

It was during training camp in 2011 when Thurmond was expected to be the starter on the right side. But when he got a hamstring injury, Browner stepped in and not only won the job but kept it.

Now it’s likely Thurmond will step in for Browner, again, as he did in last week’s season-opening victory over the Panthers in Carolina. It’s the next-man-up situation, in reverse.

“Brandon has been a monster out there for us, doing a fantastic job,” Richard said. “Now he’s out for a couple, and here comes Walter. He could have easily kind of tucked his tail and said, ‘Maybe I’ll never.’ But he’s not that kind of competitor.”

Browner is not officially out. He was listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report for Sunday night’s game at CenturyLink Field, and coach Pete Carroll said the final decision on Browner’s status won’t be made until prior to the game. Browner was scheduled to return to practice on Thursday, but couldn’t. He didn’t practice on Friday, either.

“He has not been able to get as much work as we had hoped,” Carroll said. “He’s still working and running in rehab, but we did not get him on the field.”

Browner didn’t play in last week’s season opener after injuring his left hamstring in practice during the week. Thurmond stepped in, and stepped up. He and Byron Maxwell, who played outside when Thurmond slid inside to cover the slot receiver in the nickel, helped the defense hold the Panthers’ Cam Newton to a career-low 125 passing yards.

If Thurmond starts against the 49ers it will be the first time he has started back-to-back games since Weeks 5-6 in 2011 – and only the second time he’s done it since being a fourth-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. A medical manual’s worth of injuries has limited him to four starts, and eight games, the past two seasons.

“With Walter, it’s just a matter of great faith, great patience and great trust,” Richard said. “He’s trusting in his God-given ability, he’s got his opportunity and now he’s making the most of it.”

Browner missed the Seahawks’ 42-13 victory over the 49ers at CenturyLink Field in December because he was serving a four-game suspension. So the Seahawks have done it before, and Sunday we’ll find out if they can do it again.