The Seahawks made a roster move Saturday, activating cornerback Jeremy Lane off the physically unable to perform list. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said throughout the week that the plan was for Lane to return for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh, so the move was expected, but even so, the move confirms Lane made it through the week well and is ready to play Sunday.
Running back Bryce Brown, who was re-signed to the roster earlier in the week, was waived to make room for Lane on the 53-man roster.
Lane, who broke his arm and tore his ACL on an interception return in Super Bowl XLIX, had multiple surgeries on his arm and knee, causing him to miss the start of the 2015 season. He returned to practice following Seattle's bye week, but the Seahawks waited to add him to the roster to make sure he was in game shape having been sidelined for so long.
Lane said waiting for his return required being "very patient" after returning to practice but being held out of the past two games, but conceded, "It got easier every week, so I think they were making the right decision."
Lane, a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft, first made his mark on special teams as a rookie and also started three games at right cornerback. Lane then saw significant playing time at cornerback over the past two seasons, primarily in the nickel defensive back role. While the nickel spot has been where Lane has played most, he also has experience playing outside, and Carroll said Lane could factor into the competition at right cornerback with Cary Williams, the starter all season up to this point, and DeShawn Shead, who replaced Williams in the second half of last week's game.
"I'm very comfortable at it," Lane said of playing outside as opposed to the more familiar nickel spot. "In 2012, I was a starter at right corner and did very well at it. I'm ready. I consider myself a corner who can play nickel."
While it remains to be seen how Lane will be used this week and beyond, Seahawks coaches and players agree he'll provide a boost upon his return, whatever his role may be.
"He's going to bring that extra level of enthusiasm and effort," defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. "He's a guy that we've relied upon around here for a lot of years to just kind of bring that extra grit, and that's what he has. It'll be interesting to see how he's going to react and respond when he gets his chance to get out there and go."
Brown, who initially signed with Seattle on October 27, was inactive for two games with Seattle, then waived a week ago when the Seahawks added linebacker Eric Pinkins to the roster. Brown was re-signed Tuesday, presumably to provide depth at running back with Marshawn Lynch out with an abdominal injury, but with Brown's release, the Seahawks will now go into Sunday's game with only two healthy running backs—Thomas Rawls and Fred Jackson; though fullback Derrick Coleman, who played running back in college, could be used there as well if needed.
With both teams having won 8 regular season games against the other, this Sunday will feature a rubber match between the Seahawks and Steelers. Journey back to these epic games and also their only postseason face-off in Super Bowl XL.