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Thursday in Hawkville: Seahawks make Chase Palmer’s wish come true

Posted Aug 21, 2014

Make-A-Wish recipient Chase Palmer attended the Seahawks’ walkthrough, when he met QB Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch and free safety Earl Thomas. Palmer also will attend Friday night’s game against the Bears.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 21, when the Seahawks held a “Review Saturday” walkthrough as their final on-field preparation for Friday night’s preseason home finale against the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field:

WORD OF THE DAY: WISH

Yes, as in Make-A-Wish. But in the case of Chase Palmer, it’s also as in Wish granted.

Palmer, a 14-year-old freshman-to-be at Spokane’s East Valley High School, attended the Seahawks’ walkthrough on Thursday, when he also toured VMAC, had lunch in the cafeteria and – most importantly – met All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas and the Pro Bowl duo of quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch.

“It’s just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Palmer said when asked why his Wish was to come to the Seahawks and meet that trio of players. “This has been a lot better than I expected. I didn’t expect all this stuff.”

As he said that, Palmer was clutching some of that “stuff” – a No. 21 Seahawks jersey with Palmer on the back; a ball from Super Bowl XLVIII that players stopped to autograph as they left the indoor practice facility; another ball that Wilson gave him; and Thomas’ gloves.

Palmer, who has cystic fibrosis, was accompanied by his parents, Michelle and Robert.

As Thomas left the field, he gave Palmer a big hug – too big, as the free safety later explained. Approached in the locker room, Thomas was taking to social media to make amends for the too-hard hug.

“It’s more than pretty cool,” Thomas said. “It kind of gives you a sense of like, you’re not in his shoes but you can feel his excitement and also look in his eyes and feel his pain. So, the great thing about it was just giving him a hug.

“I apologized to him right now on Instagram if I kind of hugged him too tight. You’re already in that type of warrior state out there when you’re playing. Then you look to the sideline and you see a Make-A-Wish kid, and he’s actually there just to see you and he could be anywhere else in the world. First, you’re grateful for your health, but also you’ve got to understand you’re a role model.”

Thomas paused to take a deep breath before adding, “Just to be a light right now for somebody, that’s what God has put us on the earth for. Just to be the best ambassador for him. So this was a great, great experience for me just to see that Chase could have been anywhere but he chose us here in Seattle. This is a very special place.”

It was that, and more, for Palmer on Thursday. And he’s not done yet. Friday night, he’ll deliver the game ball for the Seahawks’ preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears prior to kickoff and then watch the game from a suite at CenturyLink Field.

INJURY UPDATES: SEVERAL PLAYERS COULD MAKE PRESEASON DEBUTS

Palmer’s visit to VMAC also included standing next to coach Pete Carroll during his post-walkthrough Q&A session with the media. Several times, Carroll leaned over to check with Palmer before answering – or not answering – the question.

“Chase has got all the answers right here,” Carroll said to open the session. “But just like I would, he’s withholding also. He’s not going to tell you. He’s got the whole game plan and he knows everybody on the roster that’s playing. But he wouldn’t tell you either.”

Carroll did provide updates on some of the players who could make their preseason debuts on Friday night, and those who will have to wait until next week or longer to return:

STAT DU JOUR: THIRD TIME HAS BEEN A CHARM

The Seahawks have played well in their third preseason game the past 15 summers, going 11-4. It might have something to do with the starters playing their longest stints of the preseason in the third game. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the venue, because only five of the games have been played at home – and Friday night’s game against the Chicago Bears will be the Seahawks’ first third-week home game since 2007. And the opponent doesn’t seem to matter that much either, as the Seahawks have played the Chiefs (five times), Chargers (three), 49ers (twice) and Vikings (twice) multiple times, and Broncos, Packers and Cardinals once. Here’s a look at how those games have gone:

Year Outcome
1999 W, 41-7 vs. Cardinals
2000 W, 25-21 vs. 49ers
2001 W, 28-18 at 49ers
2002 W, 17-14 vs. Chiefs
2003 W, 42-31 vs. Chiefs
2004 W, 26-20 at Chargers
2005 W, 23-17 at Chiefs
2006 L, 31-20 at Chargers
2007 W, 30-13 vs. Vikings
2008 L, 18-17 at Chargers
2009 W, 14-10 at Chiefs
2010 L, 24-13 at Vikings
2011 L, 23-20 at Broncos
2012 W, 44-14 at Chiefs
2013 W, 44-14 at Chiefs

The possible returns of Pro Bowl center Max Unger and Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle Russell Okung to the offensive line: “It’s really important. It’s been obvious on the practice field just the language that they share, the communications, the sense for one another. It makes a big difference at this position more than any other position in the game. It’s great to see it out there (in practice). Now if we get everybody out there some it will be good in this ballgame. But we continue to practice together, which is really good. You’ll see who plays when it comes tomorrow night.”

Linebackers Malcolm Smith and Korey Toomer: “They’re ready to play some football, which is great.”

Strong safety Kam Chancellor: “Kam Chancellor is ready to play some football. He may get out there.”

Wide receiver/punt returner Bryan Walters, who bruised ribs against the Chargers and has not practiced this week: “We’re going to hold him out.”

Defensive tackle Jimmy Staten: “He’s working hard. He’s making progress. We’re just hoping he can get back out next week so he can get some play time (against the Raiders on Thursday night). It’s going to be kind of a race to get there.”

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood: “He’s progressing really well. He feels great. Next week is the week that he possibly can get going again. It’s going to be, again kind of like Jimmy, a race to get him back out there.”

Linebacker Bruce Irvin: “We’re really aiming for the next week, if we can get him out the week after that. He’s getting real close. He has had no setbacks. He’s flying around the field.”

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner: “We’re hoping (he’ll be back next week).”

Defensive lineman Michael Brooks: “Michael Brooks is going to get operated on. I think that’s happening today.”

Lynch got two snaps in last week’s game against the Chargers, but no carries. That should change on Friday night.

“It’s time. It’s time for him to get some carries and get involved a little bit,” Carroll said. “Really, I could not be more pleased with the conditioning level that he’s had. The consistency at practice and his preparation has been great. So he’ll be ready to go and I know he’s looking forward to that, too.”

PLAYER WATCH: CHRISTINE MICHAEL

Asked about second-year running back Christine Michael, who got limited carries during his rookie season while playing behind Lynch and backup Robert Turbin, Carroll offered, “I think he’s the most improved guy. I think he’s the most improved player on our team.”

Michael has run for 61 yards on 15 carries and also caught four passes for 20 yards in the first two preseason games.

“He’s come a long ways in so many ways,” Carroll said. “He just needs to keep playing, and he needs to keep showing, and competing. He’s explosive. His mind is in it. He’s all over it. So we’re anxious to just keep bringing him along.”

UP NEXT: GAME DAY

The Seahawks will close out the home portion of their preseason by hosting the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field on Friday night. The players will be off Saturday and have a walkthrough on Sunday before practicing Monday and Tuesday for their preseason finale next Thursday night in Oakland against the Raiders.