Seferian-Jenkins not yet cleared for Washington

The question remains unanswered over whether Washington star

tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be available for the

Huskies’ season opener against No. 19 Boise State. It may linger

right up until kickoff Saturday.

It’s now as much about Seferian-Jenkins’ health as it is any

possible team discipline for off-field troubles.

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday that

Seferian-Jenkins has not been cleared medically to play in

Saturday’s opener against the Broncos while recovering from a

broken right pinkie. Sarkisian gave no indication whether he

believed Seferian-Jenkins would be cleared this week in time to

play in Washington’s return to renovated Husky Stadium.

Seferian-Jenkins is listed as the starter on the depth chart

that was released over the weekend.

”He’s not cleared to play at all. If you read it properly this

is a post-training camp depth chart,” Sarkisian said. ”He was

limited in this morning’s practice. He has not been cleared to play

physically as of yet at all.”

Whether Seferian-Jenkins would take the field against the

Broncos has been up for debate since the spring, when he was

arrested on investigation of driving under the influence. Sarkisian

did not announce any team discipline beyond Seferian-Jenkins being

suspended from spring practice. The status of the big tight end was

thrown further into flux when he pleaded guilty in July to the DUI

charge and served one day in jail as part of his sentence.

Sarkisian has remained mum throughout and when asked if

Seferian-Jenkins would play Saturday should he be cleared,

referenced his statement made before fall camp started in early

August that he wouldn’t discuss any discipline.

”Come on dude. Were you at my preseason press conference?”

Sarkisian said.

Seferian-Jenkins suffered the injury during practice Aug. 12 and

had surgery later in the week to insert a pin and stabilize the

finger.

Last season, Seferian-Jenkins caught 69 passes for 850 yards –

both single-season records for Washington tight ends – and seven

touchdowns. He was a third-team AP All-American. If

Seferian-Jenkins can’t go in the opener, the Huskies will lose one

of their biggest pass-catching options. In last December’s Las

Vegas Bowl against Boise State, Seferian-Jenkins had six catches

for 61 yards and a touchdown.

The doubt about Seferian-Jenkins could also hamper the Huskies’

new up-tempo offense, considering this is the first time Washington

is choosing to go no-huddle almost exclusively. Seferian-Jenkins

was the security quarterback Keith Price often turned to last

season. Price says he has more trust in the others around him going

into the season and should keep the Huskies pass game from being so

focused on either Seferian-Jenkins – when he returns – or wide

receiver Kasen Williams.

”We had a lot of youth last year. This year guys were making

plays in training camp,” Price said. ”Kevin Smith has had a

tremendous camp, one of the better camps out of the receivers and

we’ve had a couple of young guys, John Ross and DiAndre Campbell

making plays. When guys are making their plays it’s hard to throw

it to just one guy.”

The Huskies’ other concern is the distraction this week brings

with the spectacle of retuning to Husky Stadium for the first time

since November 2011. The $280 million renovation will finally be

shown off Saturday night, although the team has been able to enjoy

the facilities for the past couple of weeks.

”It makes for a special night. I think our staff and players

have done a really nice job with the move in because anytime there

is moving there are natural distractions,” Sarkisian said. ”I

think they’ve all handled it really well … and I think the team

is ready to go play.”