Seahawks' DeShawn Shead practices for first time since ACL injury
RENTON. Wash. -- DeShawn Shead is no longer "really close" to returning to Seahawks practice, as coach Pete Carroll has repeatedly announced the past month.
As of Wednesday afternoon, he's officially back.
Shead suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Seattle's divisional-round playoff loss to Atlanta on Jan. 14, and hasn't practiced since. He spent the first 13 weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Per league rules, Shead has a maximum of three weeks before he has to be activated to the 53-man roster. If he is not activated at the end of three weeks, he is placed injured reserve and is ineligible to play this season.
"DeShawn's practicing today (for the) first time," Carroll said Wednesday. "Really fired up for that. Been a long haul for him. Any time you ever heard me talk about him I would tell you he's ridiculously on it in terms of rehab, preparation and all that.
"Thrilled for him to come back to practice now and have the chance to get three weeks to show where he is and all that. We'll take a good look at it with fingers crossed and high hopes he'll be able to help us out."
Shead said Wednesday he doesn't need the full three weeks to re-acclimate his body to the speed and tempo of practices, instead it's in the intricacies of his position that he'll need to test his legs on.
"I can do all the running -- it's the little movements I gotta get ready for like running to the ball after a route, covering a route, just the little things is the next step I think only practice can give me," Shead said. "Going against real speed, I couldn't do that under the PUP rules, those are the little things practice is going to give me.
"Overall, if I had it my way, I wish I could play this Sunday."
A starter at right cornerback for 15 games in 2016, Shead had what could be considered a breakout campaign last year, beating out Jeremy Lane in the offseason for the spot opposite Richard Sherman. He totaled 80 tackles, which ranked fourth on the team, while registering a team-high 14 passes defensed.
The Seahawks are in a fortunate position where they don't have to rush Shead back into the lineup, as they have a group a cornerbacks in Byron Maxwell, Shaquill Griffin and Justin Coleman that seems to be more than capable of maintaining the standards set by previous Seattle secondary units.
Shead said he was physically healed in the summer but the next challenge was overcoming the mental aspect of having faith in his injured knee.
"The mental hurdle is being able to trust your leg, going against somebody, get pressure on you, have somebody push on you and doing counter-movements, putting your foot in the ground," he said. "You also got to re-train that left to get in strong as your right leg. ... As your right leg is getting stronger, your left leg is trying to catch up and it's just playing this battle. Those little things like that, it's definitely part of the process, part of the battle."
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