Two familiar Seattle Seahawks were back in football pads.
Safety Kam Chancellor and left tackle Russell Okung practiced with the team for the first time since both underwent surgery during the offseason.
They returned to practice in limited action Monday, participating only in position drills. They will be brought in slowly with Chancellor coming off hip surgery in early spring and Okung having surgery on his left foot.
Having Chancellor and Okung return to the field highlighted how few health issues the Seahawks face going into this season compared to this point last year.
“Our guys had a fantastic offseason,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “They came to camp in great shape, and we are hoping to be fast and ready to go Thursday night.”
The Seahawks entered their first preseason game last season with nine starters battling injuries, including receivers Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, tight end Zach Miller and pass rushers Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons.
The only regular starters currently out with injuries are linebackers Bobby Wagner and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. Carroll said neither are likely to play Thursday at the Denver Broncos but they aren’t expected to miss extended time. Wagner is dealing with a hamstring injury and Smith is recovering from offseason ankle surgery.
Offensive lineman James Carpenter (calf) was out Monday, but Carroll said he should return in the next couple of days.
“We know that there are a number of guys on the verge of coming back,” Carroll said.
Having Harvin healthy and practicing has been a story in itself. Monday marked just over a year to the day when Harvin announced he would undergo hip surgery, forcing him to sit for all but one regular-season game last season.
Harvin has been given a few off days as the Seahawks monitor his recovery, but is predominately an active participant in practices as he develops chemistry with quarterback Russell Wilson.
“We are trying to figure this out with these short weeks how to monitor him just right,” Carroll said. “He’ll practice in kind of a rotation fashion in these next couples weeks. … It’s really good for Russell to work with him and figure him out because he is that different from other guys.”
Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson returned to practice Monday, wearing a non-contact jersey, but said he is healed from a shoulder injury.
“My shoulder is fine now,” he said. “I’m full go tomorrow. Coach Carroll and the training staff are just making sure everybody is on the same page and that I’m healing.”
That doesn’t mean the Seahawks haven’t been without some injury blows. They lost tight end Anthony McCoy and defensive tackle Jesse Williams for the season. Both players also missed all of last season.
Rookie receiver Kevin Norwood has missed almost a week with a foot injury. Carroll said the team is waiting for more information, but “it’s going to be a bit.”