SEATTLE – A year ago Seattle looked at its training-camp roster and couldn’t find 53 players it truly wanted to keep. This year when the Seahawks trimmed their roster to the regular- season limit of 53 players, the cuts included Colin Cole, a two-year starter on Seattle’s defensive line.
Cole’s release was the biggest surprise of the 27 roster moves Seattle made Saturday, which underscores just how much the team’s depth has changed in a year.
In 2010, Seattle was sorting through the discard pile of other teams, adding six different players who didn’t make their team’s 53-man roster in the week before the regular season began. This year, Seattle was parting ways with serviceable veterans.
Cole’s contract called for him to make $3.75 million in 2011, and Brandon Mebane was moved to nose tackle, the position where Cole started 26 games in two seasons.
Cole had not practiced in training camp as he recovered from ankle surgery. He underwent at least two procedures this offseason to repair an injury he initially suffered Oct. 31 in Oakland. It was expected he would begin the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and miss at least the first six games. But he was released.
Receiver Deon Butler, cornerback Roy Lewis and tight end Cameron Morrah – each of whom played for the Seahawks last year – were placed on the PUP list and will miss at least the first six games of the season.
The Seahawks did keep two undrafted rookies: receiver Doug Baldwin of Stanford and safety Jeron Johnson of Boise State. Mark LeGree, a safety from Appalachian State, was the only one of Seattle’s nine draft picks who did not make the roster. LeGree, picked in the fifth round, was beaten out by Johnson for the fourth safety slot.
Tight end John Carlson, receiver Isaiah Stanback and defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson were placed on injured reserve, which ends their seasons. Carlson suffered a shoulder injury Aug. 13, and coach Pete Carroll had indicated Tuesday he would be out for the year.
Wilkerson suffered a knee injury during Friday’s exhibition finale against the Oakland Raiders. His loss is a significant blow to the defense as he had played well through August.
On the offensive line, Seattle kept Lemuel Jeanpierre as the backup center instead of Mike Gibson. That’s about as suspenseful as it got, which is a marked difference from last year. Seattle chose to release T.J. Houshmandzadeh at this time last year, even though Seattle would still owe him more than $6 million.
The release of Cole and Gibson, means that of the 53 players on Seattle’s regular-season roster, only 10 were on the team when Pete Carroll became coach.