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July 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Hawks put on pads for the first time — and who returns punts?

hawkspractjuly30

That’s the early moments of Seattle’s Tuesday practice in the photo above as the team has put on full pads for the first time this training camp — and the first time since the playoff loss at Atlanta last January.

So the intensity should jump a bit today.

It was interesting to watch early on as the team went through some punting drills. With Leon Washington now gone, the Seahawks need a new punt returner — Washington handled 41 of the team’s 42 punt returns last season (and that’s not something Percy Harvin has really done in his past, by the way, as he has been primarily a kickoff returner).

The two Seahawks who appeared to be handling the returns today were receiver Golden Tate and cornerback Walter Thurmond.

Tate has 17 returns in his Seahawk career for 202 yards (including a long of 63). Thurmond doesn’t have any in the NFL but did return punts in college at Oregon. Thurmond is healthy again after battling injuries throughout his Seattle career, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll mentioned in the spring that he was a candidate to handle returns this season.

Here are a few other notes from the early moments of practice:

— The players on the PUP list are still out, and also still out is DE Cliff Avril, who also sat out Sunday after taking part in the first three practices. Presumably it’s due to his foot injury that also bothered him in the spring. (UPDATE — Overlooked when I first published this to add that DE Michael Bennett is also not practicing today);

— One new player out today is CB Ron Parker, who suffered some sort of leg injury late in practice Sunday;

— DT Jesse Williams, who missed the Saturday and Sunday practices after tweaking  his knee, was back on the field as was LB Heath Farwell, who had been out for a few practices with back spasms;

— Linebacker O’Brien Schofield, claimed  on waivers over the weekend from the Cardinals, is in uniform and practicing.

 

 

 

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