RENTON, Wash. — Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah practiced Tuesday for the first time since signing with the Seattle Seahawks in May, a significant step in his return from the shoulder injury that cut short his final season with the Detroit Lions.
And it’s a sign that Ansah has a good chance to be available when the Seahawks open their season Sept. 8 against the Bengals at CenturyLink Field.
Ansah was seen taking part in warmups and positional drills during the portion of practice that was open to reporters. Previously, his work had been limited to training on side fields as he continued to build back strength in his surgically repaired shoulder and work his way back from a more recent groin injury.
Pete Carroll, who has expressed hope that Ansah would be back for Week 1, said last week that there was a chance Ansah would be ready to start practicing once the Seahawks got back to work after two days off following their preseason game against the Chargers.
Carroll specified that it was Ansah’s groin injury that was keeping him out and that his shoulder was “fine.”
The Seahawks tend to have players coming off extended injury absences practice for at least two weeks before allowing them to play in games, which makes it significant that Ansah is practicing 12 days before the opener.
The Seahawks gave Ansah a one-year, $9 million deal that includes $6 million guaranteed. The max value is $13.25 million with another $4.25 million available in incentives tied to playing time, sacks, Ansah making the Pro Bowl and the Seahawks reaching the playoffs.