The Seahawks activated linebacker Mike Morgan off of injured reserve Saturday, an expected move after Morgan made a quick recovery from sports hernia surgery. Linebacker Jordan Tripp was placed on injured reserve to make room on the 53-man roster.
Morgan had surgery following Seattle's Week 4 win at the New York Jets, then returned to practice two weeks ago, signaling the Seahawks' intention to bring him back this season. NFL teams are allowed to return one player from injured reserve each season after that player has missed eight weeks. And while Morgan would have liked to have returned sooner—both he and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Morgan would have been able to play earlier had he not been required to wait eight weeks—he also is appreciative that the Seahawks felt he was important enough to bring back from IR.
"I'm grateful Pete and (general manager John Schneider) decided to bring me back, they didn't have to, so that's awesome," Morgan said. "… That's an awesome thing. It's great, I'm ready to play, man."
This injury, the most serious Morgan has had as a professional, was particularly difficult to stomach because it came after Morgan had finally earned a starting job in his sixth season in the NFL. Morgan, who played for Carroll at USC, signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2011, and has long been a valuable special teams player as well as a backup linebacker who made a three starts in his career, including two last season. But with strongside linebacker Bruce Irvin leaving in free agency, the Seahawks had an opening in the starting lineup, and Morgan won the competition in training camp to open the season as a starter. He served as Seattle's No. 1 strongside linebacker for four games, only to have to miss the next seven while recovering from surgery.
"It was tough," Morgan said. "You work for something for so long then finally get there and boom, you have a setback, but that's life—adversity. Now I'm back and I feel like I'm coming back stronger. I'm excited to play.
"The last couple months have been tough, but I was able to sit back and watch at learn at the same time. I learned a lot—that was the longest injury I've dealt with since college. It was an experience, but I feel like I learned from it, and I'm excited to go out there and play again."
With Morgan out, the Seahawks used four different players at strongside linebacker—Kevin Pierre-Louis, Cassius Marsh, Brock Coyle and Tripp. Tripp, who made his first start for the Seahawks in last week's game, sustained a quadriceps bruise and what Carroll called a "knee issue" in that game, and had been ruled out for Sunday's game against Carolina prior to this roster move.
Tripp, who had previously spent time with Miami and Jacksonville, first signed with Seattle as a member of the practice squad in September, then was promoted to the 53-man roster when Morgan went on injured reserve.
The Seahawks and the Panthers have faced off 12 times, including three postseason matchups. The Seahawks currently own eight wins in the series and will play the Panthers again this Sunday in Week 12 of the 2018 NFL season.