RENTON — Running back Marshawn Lynch returned to practice for the first time since reporting to training camp late last week, but who will block for him at right tackle this season remains in question.
The Seahawks released Michael Bowie on Saturday after it was determined his injured shoulder would require surgery. Bowie, who started eight games as a rookie for the Seahawks, was the favorite to win the team’s starting right tackle job entering training camp. However, he reported to camp 20 pounds overweight, according to head coach Pete Carroll, and he injured his shoulder again on the first day of practice.
With Bowie gone, the battle for the starting job shifts firmly to second-round pick Justin Britt and veteran Eric Winston.
Britt has taken nearly every first-team snap at right tackle since Bowie’s injury. Winston has started 119 consecutive games over the last seven seasons for the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals.
“It’s a big competition going on. There has been since the start of camp,” Carroll said. “It’s unfortunate that we don’t get to keep Michael (Bowie) but we have to keep moving and keep going here. This is a very competitive situation with Britt and with Winston in there and I think Alvin Bailey will be mixed into this thing too, eventually. It’s a really good spot for us in that we do have depth and we do have competition.”
Left tackle Russell Okung took part in individual drills for the first time after offseason foot surgery. Alvin Bailey has been taking the first-team snaps at left tackle in Okung’s absence, but could enter the battle at right tackle once Okung is back to full speed.
“Alvin has got the flexibility to play a couple different spots. He’s played guard a little bit, too, so he’s a valuable guy in that regard,” Carroll said.
Seattle also added two new linemen on Monday, claiming tackle Cory Brandon off waivers from Arizona and signing veteran guard Wade Smith.
“We’re hoping (they) can bring us something,” Carroll said. “We want to continue to work to make this position as competitive as possible.”
Lynch was very limited as he took just a handful of snaps during Monday’s practice. He did not take part in any offseason practices and missed the first week of training camp in a contract dispute. Carroll said Lynch kept in shape on his own but needs some time still to work into football shape.
“We’re going to take our time and make sure that we do that. We’ve always been very patient with him, making sure his body is in great shape and all. We’re just going to bring him along,” Carroll said.
Notes: Seattle waived LB Brandon Denmark and WR Ronald Johnson, signed DT Andru Pulu and OL Wade Smith, and claimed OT Cory Brandon off waivers from Arizona. … OT Russell Okung (foot) and S Kam Chancellor (hip) worked through individual drills for the first time since having offseason surgeries. … G James Carpenter (calf) could return to practice Tuesday. … S Dion Bailey was on crutches after suffering a sprained ankle on Saturday. … WR Phil Bates left practice due to illness.