Seahawks' Lofa Tatupu practices, likely to play Sunday
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said "signs are really good that he'll play," after middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu participated in Friday's practice.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — Linebacker Lofa Tatupu participated in Seattle's practice Friday, the Seahawks' last workout before the team left for Chicago.
Tatupu, however, still must be cleared by doctors to play after leaving last week's game against New Orleans with a concussion.
"The docs still got to weigh in on all this," coach Pete Carroll said of Tatupu's status. "But he did a good job (Friday), and they're checking him out to see how he is afterward. But he was fine, and the signs are really good that he'll play."
Tatupu is listed as questionable on Seattle's injury report, which translates to a 50-50 chance that he will play. He is the only player whose status is in doubt for either team heading into Sunday's game.
Under the NFL's concussion policy, a player must be free of all concussion symptoms and also be evaluated by an independent physician before he is cleared to play.
So how was Tatupu able to participate Friday without official clearance?
"We had no helmets today," Carroll said. "There was no hitting going on."
Tatupu has played in all of the team's games this season, starting at middle linebacker. If he is unable to play, David Hawthorne will start at middle linebacker with Will Herring moving to Hawthorne's spot at weakside linebacker.
As a seventh-round pick, receiver Ben Obomanu will have to adjust to a new reality next season: long-term security.
Obomanu, 27, signed a three-year extension with Seattle, the team announced Friday. He is under contract through 2013. Obomanu began this season primarily as a special-teams player, but became a starter during the second half of the season.
He caught 30 passes, double his total in the first four seasons after Seattle drafted him out of Auburn in 2006. He scored four touchdowns, finishing the season despite suffering a lacerated right hand in December that required more than 20 stitches. Last week, he caught five passes for 43 yards in the playoff victory over the Saints, returning to the game after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the first quarter.
Receiver Mike Williams also signed a three-year extension earlier this month.
Return to sender
This game features two of the top returners in the NFL, and Carroll was asked what he plans to do against Chicago's Devin Hester, who holds the NFL record for scoring returns.
"That's something we need to talk about before game time," Carroll deadpanned. "We'll get to that topic here before we start, I'm sure."
He kids because the Seahawks are well aware of Hester's game-changing potential, and not just because of that 87-yard punt return he made against Seattle during the regular season.
So are the Seahawks going to kick to Hester?
"It's figuring out what best suits the opportunity and the challenges there," Carroll said. "So we're kicking the football now. We're kicking the football and he's gonna get it, and we need to do a great job of covering and doing all the things we need to do to take care of that."
• OL Chris White was absent from practice Friday because of a personal matter. He is expected to join the team in Chicago.