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Friday, August 16, 2013
Zach Miller is back, and Seahawks need him

By Mike Sando

Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller has never played fewer than 15 games in an NFL regular season. He has played between 81 percent and 98 percent of the offensive snaps for his team in each of the past five seasons.

We could hold up such numbers as a testament to durability, but they might speak as much to toughness and determination in Miller's case. Miller has appeared on regular-season injury reports 19 times over the past four seasons. He's been probable nine times, questionable eight times, doubtful once and out once -- while missing just three games.

The Seahawks are eager to welcome back Miller from a foot injury. On Friday they removed him from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Coach Pete Carroll recently said Miller was healthy enough to play in a game if necessary, but the team wasn't sure how well he would hold up over time.

"Zach will come off PUP today and next week will be much more involved," Carroll told reporters Friday. "We'll continue to be very measured in how we bring him back in."

Players coming off PUP must pass a physical exam. At that point, they cannot return to the PUP list.

The Seahawks value Miller, 27, for his blocking and all-around abilities. None of the other tight ends on the roster has demonstrated in regular-season games an ability to provide what Miller provides in the running game and as an occasional receiving threat. Miller caught eight passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks' 30-28 playoff defeat at Atlanta to end last season. The eight receptions marked Miller's high in two seasons with Seattle. The 142 yards marked a career high, beating by three yards his total against Philadelphia while with Oakland in 2009.