When Pete Carroll provided an update on Brandon Mebane's status following the first of his team's 10 OTAs (Organized Team Activities) last month, the Seattle head coach said his 6-foot-1, 311-pound starting nose tackle has been running around like a defensive back this offseason.
"Not exactly, I'll take that back," Carroll corrected with a smile. "But he's doing great."
That's good news for the Seahawks, as Mebane works to come back from a hamstring injury that put an early end to his 2014 campaign. Carroll said Seattle's athletic trainers have been "thrilled" with Mebane's recovery to date and went so far as to label this offseason the "best" the ninth-year veteran has ever had.
Seattle held its 10th and final OTA on Thursday and the run stuffer's work throughout the official offseason practices was limited to individual rehab. Carroll said he doesn't envision any reason why Mebane can't make it back to football in time for the start of training camp in late July, sentiments Mebane shared on Friday during a segment with 710 ESPN Seattle.
"I'll be back the first day of training camp," Mebane told 710 ESPN Seattle's Justin and Gee. "I could go now, but it's really like no need to just jump out there and force the issue."
When Mebane went down in the second quarter of last November's Week 10 win over the New York Giants, the team primarily turned to veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who has since signed a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints, as well as Tony McDaniel and Jordan Hill to fill the void in the middle of Seattle's defense.
Playing without Mebane, the team gave up 190 yards rushing in a 24-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs the very next week. The run defense would recover down the stretch, however, allowing a paltry 66 yards per game to opponents over the final six weeks of the regular season - all Seahawks wins. That team success doesn't change the fact that few NFL rosters boast a player of Mebane's caliber who's capable of clogging, controlling, and taking on multiple blocks at the line of scrimmage, things Mebane thinks he'll be doing again for the Seahawks sooner rather than later.
"I feel great, man," said Mebane. "I'm at my playing weight already and I feel good. I feel real good."