SEATTLE — The Seahawks added a wide receiver with a familiar name to reinforce an injury-riddled position.
It just wasn’t the familiar name many were thinking, projecting Terrell Owens might be brought back after playing for the team in August. It wasn’t Dwayne Bowe, either, though the Kansas City Chiefs receiver has been the subject of trade speculation leading up to Thursday’s deadline.
Seattle signed rookie Jermaine Kearse, the former Washington Husky, to its 53-man roster, promoting him from the practice squad after placing veteran Ben Obomanu on injured reserve, losing him for the season because of a wrist injury suffered Sunday in the loss at Detroit.
Kearse was undrafted in April after catching 180 passes in his college career, tied for second-most in Washington history. He signed with Seattle as a free agent. He was slowed by a foot injury during the team’s offseason workouts, but once he was active in August, he showed an immediate rapport with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. He spent the first two months of the season on the practice squad, playing well in work against Seattle’s starting defense.
Kearse might not only be active on Sunday when Seattle faces Minnesota, but he could see playing time. Doug Baldwin is a longshot to play, according to coach Pete Carroll, as Baldwin recovers from a high ankle sprain. Braylon Edwards’ status is a question mark after his knee swelled unexpectedly on Sunday morning, preventing him from playing against the Lions.
Seattle’s starting receivers, Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, are healthy, as is Charly Martin, who has played slot, but the loss of Obomanu is significant. He was Seattle’s jack-of-all-trades receiver and a special-teams mainstay. He was in his seventh season with the team and was one of its more physical blockers at receiver, used often in formations featuring one receiver and two tight ends. He was on the field for Marshawn Lynch’s 77-yard touchdown run in Detroit, Seattle’s longest run from scrimmage in seven years.
The uncertainty prompted speculation that Seattle might look outside for a receiver. Owens played three weeks with the team in training camp, and after he was released, Carroll said the Seahawks would consider bringing him back if a need arose.
But Owens played flanker with the Seahawks whereas Kearse has practiced a variety of spots with the team. The fact Kearse could play special teams is also important.
Obomanu is the first player the Seahawks have placed on injured reserve since the season began, underscoring how healthy the team has remained. Seattle had not made a change to its 53-man roster since Sept. 18 until Tuesday with the promotion of Kearse and the release of cornerback Danny Gorrer.
Gorrer was inactive for the six games he spent with the Seahawks, and his release likely clears space for cornerback Walter Thurmond, who is set to return from a broken leg. Thurmond was a fourth-round pick of Seattle in 2010 and spent the first eight weeks this season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. The Seahawks have until Monday to activate him.