RENTON -- It's taken nearly 11 months since he was injured in a playoff game in Atlanta last January, but cornerback DeShawn Shead finally returned to the practice field on Wednesday.
"It was definitely a grind and I'm happy to be back," Shead said on Wednesday.
Shead has been out for the entire season while recovering from a torn ACL sustained in a loss to the Falcons on Jan. 14.
"We're really fired up for that," head coach Pete Carroll said. "It's been a long haul for him. Any time you've ever heard me talk about him I would tell you he's ridiculously on it in terms of his rehab and his effort and his preparation and all that and I'm thrilled for him to come back to the practice (field) now. He has three weeks to show where he is and all that and we'll take a good look at it with our fingers crossed and high hopes that he'll be able to help us out."
Shead had surgery to repair the knee in late January and then needed a clean-up operation in July right before the start of training camp.
"I had to go in and they had to clean up some scarring," Shead said. "I guess, according to my doctor, I'm an 'over-healer' so I created some more scarring in there than usual, so just went in there and just cleaned it right up and then it was like night and day. I cleaned it up. My motion was better immediately after surgery. ... You got to recover from that too. That's more trauma to my leg."
As Carroll mentioned, Shead has a 21-day window to practice before the Seahawks have to put him on their active roster or end his season by moving him to injured reserve. It's a change from the rules of prior years that Shead can even return this late in the season. Previously, a player on the PUP list had to return to practice by Week 11 in order to have a chance to return. That rule was changed at the league meetings in March, removing the end cap on when a player can start practicing again.
Shead took over the starting role at right cornerback for the Seahawks after 10 games in 2015 following ta failed experiment with free agent signing Cary Williams. He started five of the final six games of the 2015 and started all 15 regular season games he appeared in last season before his injury in the playoffs.
Shead recorded 81 tackles with 14 passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble in his only season as a full-time starter for Seattle. He re-signed with Seattle on a one-year deal over the offseason.
Shead didn't believe it would take him the full three weeks of practice to be ready to play. However, it's unlikely he'll be able to get in game shape with just three days of practice before the team heads to Jacksonville this Friday.
“I’m just ready to get out there and be able to help this team as much as possible, anywhere we need it,” Shead said. “I expect to earn my spot back, and I expect to earn my way back on the field. Nothing was ever given to me, that’s what I know. So I have to go out and prove myself again.”
-- Right guard Ethan Pocic and defensive ends Michael Bennett and Marcus Smith were new additions on this week's injury report. Pocic and Smith were both listed with ankle injuries while Bennett was listed with a knee injury for the first time.
-- Defensive end Dion Jordan was limited in practice on Wednesday as he works his way back from a beck injury that has kept him out the last two games.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Defensive back DeShawn Shead #35 of the Seattle Seahawks breaks up a pass intended for Wide receiver Anquan Boldin #80 of the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)