Thurmond back from suspension for Seahawks

Walter Thurmond is returning from his four-game suspension just

in time to join the Seattle Seahawks for the postseason, but

without the starting spot he held before the suspension.

Thurmond was activated to Seattle’s roster Friday ahead of

Sunday’s game against St. Louis, adding another talent to Seattle’s

secondary. Thurmond spent the past four weeks working out on his

own and said Friday he was appreciative of his teammates for

understanding he made a mistake.

”I didn’t have to explain anything to anybody. Everyone

understood the situation,” Thurmond said. ”We’re all human, we

all make mistakes and it’s just a great group of guys in here. No

one was judgmental about the situation and If anything more

encouraging.”

Thurmond was suspended in late November for violating the

league’s substance-abuse policy. Byron Maxwell has started at

cornerback with Thurmond out and played well enough that he will

continue to be Seattle’s starter Sunday against the Rams.

Thurmond became Seattle’s sixth Seattle player officially

suspended for substance-abuse or performance-enhancing drugs

violations by the league since 2011. That number became seven when

Brandon Browner was suspended for violating the substance-abuse

policy this month.

”Life is about living, you know and learning from your

mistakes. And if you’re not learning from your mistakes then you’re

just going to keep making more mistakes,” Thurmond said. ”I’ve

gone through a lot of stuff in my life and I’ve lived and learned

from those mistakes. It’s just another hiccup in the road and I’m

moving forward.”

Seattle waived cornerback Perrish Cox to clear the roster spot

for Thurmond. There was speculation that Thurmond’s addition could

mean a roster move with injured wide receiver Percy Harvin, but

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Friday there was no move

coming.

Thurmond was just getting his chance to be the Seahawks starter

opposite Richard Sherman when his suspension came down. He spent

most of the season as the Seahawks starting nickel defensive back,

with the responsibility to defend slot receivers. When Browner

injured his groin against Atlanta in Week 10, Thurmond took the

spot and had his first career touchdown when he returned an

interception for a TD a week later against Minnesota.

Then the suspension came and Thurmond saw Maxwell play very well

in his place. Maxwell has three interceptions in four games. That

leaves Thurmond’s best chance at getting on the field back in the

role as the nickel cornerback.

”Byron has played great football for us and I think he is on a

rhythm that we want to take out there in a game like this and

there’s no reason to put Walter in that situation after just one

week of practice,” Carroll said. ”But, Walter is ready to play.

If he’s active, he’ll be out there and helping us out.”

Thurmond has started three games this season for Seattle. Even

when he wasn’t starting, Thurmond was a critical member of one of

the NFL’s best secondary units. Thurmond beat out veteran Antoine

Winfield, whom Seattle signed in the offseason, for the nickel

cornerback spot during training camp. He had struggled with

injuries throughout his career but was finally healthy and playing

well ahead of an offseason where he will be a free agent.

One benefit to the suspension for Thurmond was getting healthy.

He said both knees had been bothering him and the four weeks of

rest has him feeling refreshed before the playoffs arrive.

”I feel great right now. I’ve got the freshest legs going into

the playoffs and the advantage is us right now,” Thurmond

said.

Notes: Seattle WR Jermaine Kearse (ankle) will be a game-time

decision for Sunday. He is questionable on the injury report. …

DE Red Bryant (knee) missed the first two days of practice this

week, but practiced Friday and is expected to play.