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Injury-induced roster contortions hit Seattle

8/13/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks re-signed long snapper Tim Lindsey at the expense of defensive back Eric Wicks, a seemingly minor move with significantly broader implications.

Every team faces injury problems during camp, but the Seahawks are worse off than any team in the division. Punter Ryan Plackemeier is practicing on a limited basis, but his surgically repaired pectoral has not yet been ready for games.

The team still hasn't declared a winner between kickers Olindo Mare and Brandon Coutu, so both remain on the roster. Lindsey was re-signed because the team's only other snapper, Tyler Schmitt, is out with back trouble. A back injury already forced the team's reserve short snapper, guard Chris Gray, into retirement.

What it means: Seattle is carrying six specialists, tied with New Orleans and Tennessee for the league high. The Seahawks are carrying only eight linebackers, 12 defensive backs and four tight ends. Each of those figures is tied for the league low. Only six teams are carrying fewer running backs than Seattle (the Seahawks have six, and one of them, starting fullback Leonard Weaver, is resting a strained hamstring).

How has this happened? Bad luck with injuries, for starters. The Seahawks also bear some of the responsibility. They weren't able to re-sign kicker Josh Brown, leading to the Coutu-Mare race.

They had a perfectly good snapper in J.P. Darche, but they didn't want him back in free agency. Years ago, they let durable punter Jeff Feagles leave in free agency to save a few hundred thousand dollars. Feagles has subsequently set the NFL record for consecutive games played, collecting a Super Bowl ring along the way.