RENTON -- Right tackle Brandon Shell would be set to return to the lineup this week for the Seattle Seahawks from injury after missing time with a high-ankle sprain. However, a close contact with a positive COVID-19 case may have that return in jeopardy.
Head coach Pete Carroll said after practice on Friday that Shell did not practice with the team as someone Shell works without outside of the team was found to have tested positive.
"Just so that you know, I guess we'll just tell you that there was a close contact situation," Carroll said. "He's tested negative and all of that but we're just monitoring it to make sure he's OK so he wasn't out today. We didn't have on the field today. So that's just, it's a developing situation we got to figure out. He's tested clear but somebody that he's worked with hasn't and so, outside of the program, so we just got to make sure he's OK. We don't know, I don't know what to tell you about that other than that."
The Seahawks have not had a positive COVID-19 case the entire season. Wide receiver John Ursua went on the reserve list during training camp over what was proven to be a false-positive test. Defensive tackle Bryan Mone was deemed a close contact during his stint on injured reserve and returned after a few days on the reserve list. Shell may have to be placed on the list as well as they investigate the connection and continue to test him. It could lead to his absence from this weekend's season finale against the San Francisco 49ers.
A moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list would allow for the promotion of a player from the practice squad for additional depth, if deemed necessary. Tommy Champion would be the likeliest candidate.
Shell was initially injured in the team’s Thursday night win over the Arizona Cardinals. He returned to start against his former team, the New York Jets, only to leave again after aggravating the injury. Cedric Ogbuehi, Jamarco Jones and Chad Wheeler have all filled in at right tackle in Shell’s absence. Shell is now six weeks removed from the initial injury.
Running back DeeJay Dallas and cornerback Jayson Stanley have been ruled out for Sunday's game. Dallas is recovering from a high-ankle sprain sustained two weeks ago while Stanley pulled his hamstring in last week’s win over Los Angeles.
Running back Carlos Hyde (illness), tight end Greg Olsen (foot), guard Mike Iupati (neck) and safety Damarious Randall (foot) are officially questionable.
Olsen retuned to action last week from a plantar fascia tear in his foot. Carroll said that they will hold him out of this weekend's game to make sure he's ready for the playoffs.
"We're gonna keep out of this game is what we're gonna do," Carroll said. "Just to make sure that he's ready next week. Just a little flare-up from from last week but he handled it well, practiced today and got through it and all that but we just think it's the best thing to do is to give another another weekend."
Hyde has been sick (not COVID) during the week and wasn't able to practice yet on Friday.
"He's had other symptoms," Carroll said. "He had flu-like symptoms and so he's just been home. We've kept him away to make sure and he was just not quite feeling right enough today. We thought he would practice today, but we're going to carry it until tomorrow and see what happens tomorrow."
The return of Rashaad Penny from his ACL tear would give Seattle flexibility at running back if Hyde can’t play due to his illness.
Iupati has been dealing with a stinger in his neck the last two weeks. Jordan Simmons has took over the starting role in his place. Randall has missed the last couple games due to his foot injury.
Carroll said that running back Travis Homer will have a chance to return from injured reserve in the coming weeks. Homer had hand and knee injuries that forced him to miss several weeks before they placed him on IR on Dec. 19. This weekend's game will be the third game he's missed and he'll be eligible to return to the roster next week for the team's first-round playoff game.
"Certainly Travis has a chance to get back He does have a chance," Carroll said.
With Chris Carson, Hyde and Penny all available, Homer's role would be a special teams role. However, he's been a key part of that unit at times this year, particularly as the protector on the punt team.
Jones has been on injured reserve since injuring his groin making a spot start for Shell against the Giants. Carroll was less optimistic about his chances of returning to the lineup. Carroll revealed that Jones had surgery to address the injury and his ability to return is uncertain.
Cornerback Tre Flowers will come off the injured reserve list for this week's game against the 49ers. Flowers has missed the last four games due to a hamstring injury sustained against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"He's ready to go. Ready to go. He had a great week of practice and he's ready to play," Carroll said.
It seems unlikely that he would get his starting job back given the strong play of D.J. Reed in his absence. Reed, picked up off injury waivers from the 49ers in August, has helped Seattle's defense round into form down the stretch with really strong play at the right cornerback spot. Flowers can serve as quality depth and help on special teams with Stanley out this weekend.
Brennan Carroll leaving for offensive coordinator job at University of Arizona.
Brennan Carroll, the oldest son of the Seahawks head coach, is leaving the team at the end of the year to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Arizona.
Brennan Carroll joins head coach Jedd Fisch, who spent a year on the Seahawks staff in 2010 and coached alongside Brennan at the University of Miami in 2011-12.
"I'm real grateful and Brennan and I are both really grateful for having a chance to be that close to our family, you know, kind of intact for a while here," Pete said. "And we've cherished it and dreaded the time it was going to come [to an end]. He's had a couple chances at other times and we were able to keep him here, but this one is just right with the right guy with Jedd Fisch and all that. And he's really excited about it and so we're excited for him. But we've been very lucky to have this kind of connection that we've had and he's done an incredibly good job for us. I've loved having him here."
Brennan has worked with the offensive line and as a run game coordinator for the Seahawks since joining the coaching staff in Seattle in 2015. He spent four years at Miami. He began is coaching career at USC with his father in 2002 as a graduate assistant.
Photo Credit: MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 04: Jakeem Grant #19 of the Miami Dolphins catches a pass against Tre Flowers #21 of the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 04, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)