The Seattle Seahawks knew defensive end Chris Clemons had become a key player for their defense when they elected to give him a three-year contract extension last offseason. However, they truly understood just how valuable Clemons is when they lost him to injury in the playoffs.
Clemons suffered a torn ACL on the horrific turf of FedEx Field during the Seahawks playoff victory over the Washington Redskins in January. While Clemons has become a consistent pass rush threat for Seattle, it was his absence in the run game where the Seahawks felt his loss the most. Rookie Bruce Irvin was called upon to assume Clemons’ role as the starting end against the Atlanta Falcons. But Irvin couldn’t hold up against the run as the Falcons ran for 167 yards against the Seahawks as Seattle’s season came to an end.
With Irvin set to miss the first four games of the season to a suspension, the Seahawks are holding out hope Clemons will be able to get back in time for their season opener against the Carolina Panthers. According to head coach Pete Carroll, it’s not out of the question for Clemons to be ready to go.
“Yes he does have a shot to be ready according to the doctor. He’s got a chance and we’ll just wait and see how it goes,” Carroll said. “Like I said from the beginning we’re not going to rush it. We’ll make sure he’s really well and ready to go and all of that, but he is well ahead of schedule and he’s in great shape and so we’re really pleased.”
Clemons has averaged 11 sacks a season for Seattle over the past three seasons. He hasn’t been around the team during OTAs but is expected to make an appearance for the team’s mandatory mini-camp next week – though he isn’t expected to participate.