As Seahawks general manager John Schneider hinted might be the case in a meeting with the media earlier this week, tight end Jimmy Graham (knee) and running back Thomas Rawls (ankle) opened the team's 2016 training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, news head coach Pete Carroll confirmed following the club's first preseason workout at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
"They're in fantastic shape," Carroll said of Graham and Rawls, who each suffered season-ending injuries late last year. "Nobody's worked harder than those two guys. I mentioned in the first meeting, you don't normally talk about the rehab guys, and I'm talking about the rehab guys because of the effort and what they have given to this offseason. We want to see where they are under our guidance full on. They're working twice a day. They're going to show us that they can do all of that before we make the next step, but they're PUPing right now and then we'll see when that happens."
As Carroll made clear, the training camp PUP designation can be removed at any time before the start of the regular season, allowing that player to return to practice immediately. However, if a player remains on PUP when the regular season begins, they are required to miss the first six weeks .
"The good thing about this PUP thing is you can bring them off whenever they're ready to go, so we'll just see," Carroll said. "We're going to take it one day at a time and keep moving."
This offseason, both Schneider and Carroll have remained consistent in their message that Graham and Rawls will be ready to play in Week 1, when the Seahawks host the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 11 at CenturyLink Field. An exact timeline, though, for the pair's return to practice will depend on how they look as training camp progresses, Carroll said.
"We're kind of looking at it in segments," Carroll added. "We're going to look at these first four days and we go to a break after that. We'll see where we are after that. If they're really looking good, then maybe we go ahead and make the move.
"We're not going to be impatient at all with this, but they'll be a time when we want them to start to develop, because they can't do stuff with the coaches yet, so they're only working with the trainers. There will be a time, but there's plenty of time."
Carroll anticipates it will be easier for Rawls to work his way back into the running back spot than it will for Graham to acclimate to the tight end position.
"The running back spot he can fit in," Carroll said. "It's a little more complicated for a tight end with all the things he has to do, so I've got that in my mind for Jimmy, just to make sure we can bring him along so he can be right."
Sealver Siliga To NFI
Elsewhere on the injury front, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, who signed a free-agent deal in Seattle this offseason, has been placed on the non-football injury list. Carroll said Siliga injured his calf away from team headquarters.
"He's got a little calf thing that happened at home during the offseason he's just coming back from," Carroll said. "I don't have a timeline on that."
Garry Gilliam "Limited"
Left tackle Garry Gilliam, who Carroll said was "limited" during Saturday's practice, continues to recover from a cyst he had removed from his knee this past May. The Seattle head coach thinks it will be "maybe a week" before Seattle's training staff feels like it can "totally let him go."
"He's really in great shape," Carroll said of Gilliam, last year's starter at right tackle. "He's already made his return. We've just got to ease him back into practice, so that's not going to be a problem at all. So it's not a factor. He's just going to be slowed down for two or three days here if everything goes fine and then he'll be back in. He was working with the guys today."
C.J. Prosise Slowed
Finally, rookie running back C.J. Prosise, the team's third-round pick out of Notre Dame, injured his hamstring during a special teams drill near the start of practice. Prosise was bothered by a hip flexor injury during OTAs, but did take part in the team's mandatory minicamp in mid-June.
"He felt his hamstring a little bit in one of the special teams drills right off the bat," Carroll said. "He's getting some hard work in with Kam [Chancellor] and a bunch of our guys, and then out here the first day he feels his hammy a little bit, so I don't know what that means."
More than 2,500 fans came out for the first day of the Seahawks' 2016 training camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.