Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had a press conference on Thursday as the team wrapped up it's three-day mini-camp, and perhaps the most notable thing he said was that he expects tight end Jimmy Graham (knee) and running back Thomas Rawls (ankle) to be ready for the regular season.
Carroll still expects Jimmy Graham and Thomas Rawls to be ready for regular season, says Graham slightly ahead of Rawls at this point.— Stephen Cohen (@scohenPI) June 16, 2016
For months now people have speculated that Graham was not only going to return later than Rawls due to their respective injuries, but that he would likely start the season on the PUP list, which would sideline him for at least the first six weeks of the season. According to Carroll though, it sure sounds like their star tight end could be back in time to play the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. Graham had 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games last season before tearing his patellar tendon against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though many attributed Russell Wilson's phenomenal second half to the absence of Graham, his tear through the record books began while Graham was still very healthy.
The closest comparison to this type of injury has been Victor Cruz of the New York Giants, who has missed 28 of a possible 34 games since tearing his patellar tendon.
There has been less concern that Rawls wouldn't be ready for Week 1, but now it seems like he's fallen behind Graham in terms of rehab. Rawls broke his ankle in Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens, just as he had been averaging 5.72 yards per carry over the last four games of his season with 109 yards per game. The undrafted free agent rookie out of Central Michigan has been expected to be the starter at running back, though the team did draft three players at the position in April and re-signed Christine Michael, so they have not been unprepared for the possibility that it may take him longer to heal than hoped. Carroll added that Rawls is expected to spend the next six weeks in Seattle rehabbing his ankle.
If Carroll is right about the recovery process for both of these offensive stars though, the Seahawks could very well have the most dangerous offense in the division, if not the conference.