The Seahawks activated receiver Paul Richardson off the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning he likely will make his 2015 debut on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals. Richardson, Seattle’s first pick in the 2014 draft (45th overall), missed the first half of the season while recovering from a torn ACL sustained in Seattle’s playoff win over Carolina.
To make room on the 53-man roster, receiver Ricardo Lockette was placed on injured reserve, the result of a neck injury he sustained in Seattle’s Week 8 win at Dallas.
Richardson returned to practice ahead of the Dallas game, and while he was confident he could have played in that game, the Seahawks wanted to give him time to get back up to speed after a long layoff. Despite being eager to return to action, Richardson admits the extra practice time was good for him.
“It got me into the flow really well,” he said. “It’s different when you’re going over plays and just sitting there, but when you can be in the huddle, hear Russell (Wilson) give a play, then react, get to line and see a defense, it’s totally different. It’s good. These guys knew what they were doing.”
How exactly Richardson will fit into the receiver rotation remains to be seen, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it clear they won’t hesitate to throw him right into the mix.
“We’re going to jump him right back in,” Carroll said. “Really, we’re going to put him right back into it. He’s had enough time now, he’s been out on the practice field, he looks great, so we’re just going to fit him in. How do I see it? We’re going to fit him in.”
Richardson started six games as a rookie, catching 29 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, but started to increase his playing time and production late in the season, catching 13 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in Seattle’s final three games. And even though Richardson hasn’t played in a game since January, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is confident they have recaptured the chemistry that helped Richardson become a big part of the offense down the stretch.
“I think it’s there already,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we have to wait it any longer. I think that he’s ready to go. The way the he came in rookie year, and then his transformation through just the first however many games he played throughout the season. He really just continued to come along and continued to make plays for us, as you guys saw. So he’s an exciting player… An uncanny ability to attack the football, first of all, is what Paul Richardson brings. He brings an ability to escape and make plays after the catch. He gets tons of yards after the catch. He’s a guy that understands routes, understands the game, understands our system really well.”
Lockette, meanwhile, is back with the team after spending time in a Dallas hospital recovering from surgery, and while he won’t play again this year, he’ll be around the team the rest of the season while recovering from his injury, and even took part in the annual team photo Saturday wearing a neck brace in addition to his uniform.
“He looks good and his spirits are great and all,” Carroll said. “He’s hampered that he’s got a brace that he’s wearing. Really forward thinking and positive about coming back… We plan on (having him around), yeah. He wants to be here and we would love to have him here. He lives here in town so we expect him to be around a lot.”
With the deadline passing for teams to make roster moves ahead of Sunday’s games, cornerback Jeremy Lane, who returned to practice this week, will remain on the PUP list for now. Carroll was, however, encouraged by what he saw from Lane in his first week back, saying the corner has “done very, very well.”
32 regular season games. 16 wins for the Seahawks. 16 wins for the Cardinals. Take a look back at the photos and scores from each game before their rubber match this Sunday night at CenturyLink Field.