Seahawks get Jermaine Kearse & Max Unger back for playoff opener

After missing the final six games of the regular season, center Max Unger is back for Saturday night’s divisional playoff game against the Panthers and also returning is wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

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For a change, the news regarding the Seahawks' inactive players is who will play, rather than who won't play.

Center Max Unger is back for Saturday night's divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field after missing the final six games of the regular-season with a high ankle sprain. Also returning after missing the regular-season finale are wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, tight end Cooper Helfet, defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs, and cornerback Tharold Simon.

Kearse being back gives the passing game another set of big-play hands, while Dobbs' return after missing three games with a sprained ankle will allow him to step in at nose tackle in the nickel line for Jordan Hill, who was placed on injured reserve this past week. Helfet's return also is timely, because tight end Tony Moeaki is inactive because of the calf he injured in practice during the week.

But having Unger back in the middle of the offensive line is a key addition against the Panthers' very active front seven, which is led by All-Pro middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

"When Max plays, our numbers are a little bit better," coach Pete Carroll said this week. "It actually statistically shows up. We're running the ball a little better and we (pass) protect a little better. That's his guidance and his experience for the other guys up there. He's an expert at recognizing looks and calls and directing what's going on in there.

"So it just stands to reason that we maximize more so with him there. We'll just be a little more accurate with stuff. It's the kind of experience it just takes time to get. … It's a wonderful dimension for us that helps us just be right more. And that's a really important thing in the game."

Inactive for the Seahawks

CB Marcus Burley

DT Landon Cohen

C Lemuel Jeanpierre

Four of our photographers took these beautiful photos of Seattle's skyline drenched in Seahawks pride.

SS Jeron Johnson

OG Keavon Milton

TE Tony Moeaki

WR Kevin Norwood

Inactive for the Panthers

DE Frank Alexander

CB James Dockery

OT David Foucault

LB A.J. Klein

S Robert Lester

DT Star Lotulelei

OG Amini Silatulo

With Klein inactive, rookie Adarius Glanton will start at strong-side linebacker for the Panthers.

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