RENTON, Wash. – For most of the known world, it’s a game that will mean nothing and be forgotten the minute the clock hits zero, assuming it’s remembered that long.
But for a few players in Thursday’s 7 p.m. Seattle-Oakland exhibition game at CenturyLink Field, it’ll mean everything, with ramifications that could last a lifetime.
As the final of four exhibition games, and with the regular season a week-and-a-half away, the starters will make cameo appearances and then exit quickly.
The rest of the game will be played by backups, rookies and free agents attempting to either more clearly define their roles, or more critically for some, assure that they have a spot on the final roster.
Seattle, like all NFL teams, has 75 players on its roster and will need to cut to the NFL regular-season limit of 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday.
In years past, that cutdown hasn’t really been all that difficult for a rebuilding Seahawks team.
But now, with a roster some consider as talented as any in the NFL, the Seahawks say these decisions will be particularly gut-wrenching.
And while that’s a sign of how far the team has come in the four years of the John Schneider-Pete Carroll leadership, that doesn’t mean the cuts are easy.
“This is a very difficult time,’’ Carroll said. “There’s a bunch of guys who have worked really hard to make this team, and not everybody gets to stay.’’
Carroll said this week the plan is to give as many of the on-the-bubble players as much playing time against the Raiders as they can to make one final statement.
“We have a number of guys that are on the verge that are really making decisions hard,’’ he said. “So those guys in particular, if we do it the way that we plan to do it, we are going to give them a chance to really show it.’’