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Originally published October 2, 2013 at 5:54 PM | Page modified October 3, 2013 at 8:18 PM

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Seahawks’ Bruce Irvin happy to get back on the field

Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin is all smiles this week as he prepares to make his season debut Sunday at Indianapolis. Irvin missed the first four games while serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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RENTON – It was a question that Bruce Irvin didn’t really need to answer with words.

Instead, when asked how it felt to be back with the Seahawks after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, Irvin pointed to his face and said “my smile explains everything.’’

So did his presence at the team’s training facility early morning Tuesday and Wednesday.

“He’s really excited to be here,’’ linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said after Wednesday’s practice of Irvin, who had eight sacks last season to lead all NFL rookies. “He really understands what he did wrong, and he is very happy to be back playing football. Just talking to him, he really appreciates this game a little bit more. Sometimes things have got to happen to you to appreciate it, and we are expecting a lot from him.’’

Indeed, Norton said Irvin will be thrown right into the mix this week at the strongside linebacker spot — where Malcolm Smith has been starting — and given a chance to earn playing time there. That’s the position where the team decided in the spring to use Irvin more in an attempt to expand his duties.

Irvin, the team’s first-round pick in 2012, will also continue to be used as an edge pass-rusher in passing-down situations.

The team had hoped to get Irvin well-indoctrinated into the spot during the exhibition season. Instead, Irvin suffered a groin injury and missed a few weeks of practice, as well as the first two exhibition games. But he got healthy during his four-game suspension, which he spent at West Virginia, his alma mater, working out in the school’s weight room. He noted with another smile that he had donated money (reported to be $100,000) to the school for the weight room, “so I felt like I should go back there and use (it).’’

Asked if he felt ready to play Sunday at Indianapolis, Irvin again flashed a smile.

“You got four weeks to chill, you better be ready,’’ he said. “… I’m just honored that coach (Pete) Carroll would welcome me back, and I’m just going to keep my nose clean from here on out and just play football.’’

Notes

• The Seahawks made an intriguing move Wednesday, signing quarterback B.J. Daniels off waivers from the 49ers, releasing linebacker John Lotulelei to make room on the active 53-man roster. The 23-year-old Daniels, who played at South Florida, was taken in the seventh round of the 2013 draft and impressed during the exhibition season with a style that has drawn comparisons to the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson.

He did not play in any regular-season games, however, and the 49ers released him to make room for veteran John Skelton, who will compete with Colt McCoy for the backup spot. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh told San Francisco reporters the team had hoped it could re-sign Daniels to the practice squad.

But the Seahawks decided to sign him to their active roster in a move similar to San Francisco’s signing earlier this year of Seattle receiver Chris Harper, a fourth-round pick the Seahawks released in the cutdown to 53.

Seattle has three quarterbacks on its roster: Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson and Daniels.

• DL Michael Bennett, who was taken off the field Sunday in Houston, was listed as a full participant in practice Wednesday. Also fully participating was DT Jordan Hill, who has not played this season because of a biceps injury. Center Max Unger was listed as a limited participant as he continues to try to come back from a triceps injury.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @bcondotta

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