Seahawks rookie wide receiver Dee Eskridge is focused and prepared after returning from the Physically Unable to Perform list this week.
Following Thursday's practice, Eskridge talked about the mental aspect of adjusting to being in the league. "I would say just the mental. It's a lot of mental load when it comes to being a receiver here. It's like playing quarterback. I've got to be on the same page as Russell (Wilson) at all times," Eskridge said. "I can't just worry about what I have to do, I've got to worry about what the defense is doing, and I've got to worry about a lot more things when it comes to Russ. So, I would definitely say the mental aspect of it."
Eskridge, a wide receiver drafted out of Western Michigan, was selected as the 56th overall pick by the Seahawks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Eskridge suffered a toe injury that placed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list since the start of camp.
However, Eskridge has been devoted to becoming a better player as he continues to heal. The rookie gets up at 5:15 a.m. to be at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for 5:50 a.m. meetings with quarterback Russell Wilson.
"I went to him (Wilson), and we were just talking about some things and how I could get better in certain areas. Then, he had mentioned that he came here at 5:50 a.m., so since then I have been here at 5:50 a.m. with him doing that."
Eskridge admitted waking up earlier can be a challenge, but that he is committed to doing what needs to be done.
"I mean it's what I've got to do. It hurts to get up that early, but it's worth it in the long run."
While Eskridge isn't expected to play in Saturday's preseason game, his return to practice was a positive step for the rookie.
"It was a good week," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We're all excited that he made it through—the thing I always tell you is, what happens the next day, can he come back? And he responded really well. Next week will be a really big week for him, whether he plays (in the third preseason game) or not I don't know, but he'll be practicing most of the entire week, so we'll know where we stand there. I'm not setting any markers on next week's game or anything, but it would be good if he could play, it'd be great to get him on the field if it's possible. But he looks good, he's feeling it, he's excited—this is the first time he's really had a chance to really connect with our guys and all of that, so that's a big positive for us."
Although he missed the first three weeks of training camp, the rookie appreciated the fact that the Seahawks never put pressure on him to rush back from his injury.
"It tells you what type of organization this is because they're constantly encouraging me, telling me that there is no pressure. The only pressure that is present is the pressure I'm putting on myself. So, credit to Pete Carroll and all of the guys that just allow me to get healthy and be a part of this team."
Eskridge is focusing on the season ahead, being able to play with an offense that "suits" him.
"I feel like it suits me perfect. Obviously, my college tape shows, I was getting the ball quick in my hands and making things happen," Eskridge said. "So I feel I'll continue to do that within this offense, and it's built around the guys that are in this room. There's a lot of great things in store for this season."
Looking ahead Eskridge is optimistic on recovering from his injury and becoming healthier to support his teammates the best that he can.
"I come into a room and I'm obviously an alpha, and I come in and just find my way and make a way and make the guys around me better," he said. "I'll continue doing that and continue to learn from those guys as well."