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Thursday, April 18, 2013 - Page updated at 07:30 p.m.
Chris Clemons and James Carpenter recovering from injuries for Seattle Seahawks
By Jayson Jenks
Seattle Times staff reporter
Two players who could be major factors in the Seahawks' upcoming season are making progress in their return from injuries, general manager John Schneider said.
Offensive lineman James Carpenter, the Seahawks' first-round pick in 2011, had his season cut short for the second consecutive year because of a knee injury. Defensive end Chris Clemons suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and damaged meniscus in the Seahawks' playoff win at Washington.
Carpenter stayed in Seattle this offseason and spent much of his time with assistant strength and conditioning coach Jamie Yanchar.
Carpenter started nine games at right tackle during his rookie season before a severe knee injury sidelined him. He missed the first three games of last season as a result, then missed two more games because of a concussion. He started all seven games he played last season before having pain in the same knee that ended his rookie year.
"It's going to be a pure confidence thing with him," Schneider said. "He's very, very strong right now. From what they tell me, he's the strongest guy on the team. The whole thing is going to be his lower body, flexibility and movement and strength."
Schneider expressed confidence in Clemons' recovery from ACL surgery, calling the tough defensive end a "really quick healer." It is unclear if Clemons will start the season on the physically unable to perform list, but the Seahawks should be in good position either way after signing defensive end Cliff Avril earlier this offseason.
Winfield signing official
The Seahawks officially signed veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield to a one-year deal after Winfield returned his contract to the Seahawks on Wednesday. Winfield's signing was reported last week, but the deal didn't become official until the contract was returned.
Winfield, who will turn 36 in June, was released from the Minnesota Vikings after recording three interceptions and 12 passes defended last season. He reportedly signed with the Seahawks for less money than the Vikings were offering.
"Quite frankly, his agent was very aggressive in reaching out to us and expressing Antoine's interest in playing with this defensive backfield and our defense, and he had heard a lot of good things about the organization," Schneider said.
Winfield, who at 5 feet 9 is smaller than the corners the Seahawks have previously coveted, projects as an inside corner while returning starters Richard Sherman (6-3) and Brandon Browner (6-4) will man the outside.
Winfield also provides leadership to one of the NFL's most talented secondaries, albeit a young one. He is a likely replacement at nickelback to Marcus Trufant, a free agent who isn't expected to return.
"While he doesn't necessarily fit our size requirements for the position," Schneider said, "he's always been a player that's compensated for that deficiency with his intensity, his instincts and his tackling skills."
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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