Seahawks linebackers in flux with Wright sidelined by injury
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For the second time this season the Seahawks are having to find an option at weakside linebacker with K.J. Wright is sidelined due to injury.
Wright has missed seven of Seattle’s 10 games played this season due to a knee injury that surfaced during pregame warmups of the team’s preseason game in Minnesota in August. Wright had surgery shortly after and missed the first six weeks of the season as setbacks in his recovery slowed his return to the field.
The knee issue again sidelined Wright during the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams and kept him out of the Thursday night victory over the Green Bay Packers.
“He’s still working to get back,” head coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday.
Barkevious Mingo started in place of Wright against the Packers before being replaced after just one defensive series by Austin Calitro. Calitro also replaced rookie Shaquem Griffin in the team’s opener against Denver.
Mychal Kendricks was then signed and started the next three games for Seattle before the league imposed an eight-game suspension for a guilty plea in an insider-trading case. While Kendricks returned to practice Tuesday, he’s ineligible to play for another two weeks while serving the final stretch of his suspension.
Meanwhile, it’s uncertain whether just rest and rehab will be enough to get Wright back on the field in the coming weeks.
“We’re going to find out. We don’t know,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks are going with Calitro this week for their matchup against the Carolina Panthers. The undrafted rookie has started three of 10 games played for Seattle this year in relief of Wright, with 22 tackles, a pass defended and a half sack of Aaron Rodgers last Thursday against the Packers.
“We’re gaining experience as we go,” Carroll said. “Austin has done a nice job when he’s had his chances. He’s still a young player so there’s stuff to learn and all but he’s done a nice job, particularly in the physical side of hitting and tackling and all.”
Calitro will likely keep the gig until either Wright or Kendricks are able to return.
“We just have to understand it’s kind of a next man up,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “Everybody kind of knows I trust everybody that’s been in the position. Austin is in it right now. We have a lot of confidence in him.”
Kendricks is eligible to play against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 10.
“It’s great for Mychal in particular;” Carroll said of having Kendricks back at practice. “He needs to get going and doing some stuff that’s positive and all of that. He had a really good experience with us before. We loved him playing for us.”
Notes: RB J.D. McKissic was designated to return from injured reserve and returned to practice Tuesday. McKissic injured his foot in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve following roster cuts in early September.