Seahawks free-agency focus: TE John Carlson
Posted by Danny O'Neil
In 2011, he didn't catch anything, much less a break.
He is one of 18 Seahawks scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and his future is anyone's guess at this point. He caught more than 50 passes in each of his first two seasons as a Seahawk, saw his pass-catching production take a step back in 2010 and then in a single month saw Seattle pay a boatload of money to acquire a player at his position when the Seahawks signed Zach Miller and then Carlson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in August.
In the span of two years, Carlson has gone from someone people projected as a possible Pro Bowler, to likely losing his starting job to becoming a free agent after being out for an entire season.
So what happens now? Well, your guess is as good as Carlson's.
"It's hard to know what to expect," Carlson said. "Obviously, missing the season was not ideal, but that was the situation I was in. I feel really good. I didn't beat my body up over the course of the season. My shoulder is repaired. At this point, all I can do is work as hard as I can to physically prepare my body at getting back into football shape."
Carlson underwent surgery to repair a damaged labrum in September. He was in a sling for six weeks and lost 17 pounds. He has gained 10 of that back.
"I feel really good right now," Carlson said. "I'm almost to the four-month mark. I'm not ready to play football yet, but it's coming along. They give me this next two-month window, but I'm going to challenge myself to get it done before that."
His future in Seattle is another question entirely, one that he couldn't be sure of when asked if he would be back.
"I'd like to," Carlson said. "But it kind of depends on how they feel about me. If it's a mutual thing, that would be great. If it doesn't work out that way? I don't know where I'm at with the team at this point so that's kind of where it's at."
When Seattle acquired Miller in August, coach Pete Carroll stated it was with the intention of pairing Miller with Carlson. That was for the 2011 season.
Now, the questions about Carlson's future in Seattle depend on two factors:
a) Is Seattle willing to pay Carlson as a starting tight end even with Miller on the books?
b) Will another team -- (cough, cough) Mike Holmgren in Cleveland (cough, cough) -- see Carlson as a free-agent upgrade at that position.
In the meantime, Carlson will continue his comeback from an injury that ended his season before it ever started.
"I'll be here rehabbing so over the next two months prior to free agency," Carlson said. "I'm sure those talks will continue, and we'll see what happens."
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