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Updated Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Brandon Browner returns but Walter Thurmond is out for Seahawks

By Danny O'Neil
Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — The Seahawks regained a starting cornerback Monday, but lost some of the depth in that secondary.

Brandon Browner returned to the 53-man roster after finishing a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Walter Thurmond was placed on injured reserve, his season over after aggravating the hamstring injury he suffered earlier this month.

So Thurmond winds up on injured reserve for a second consecutive season. His 2011 campaign ended after he suffered a broken leg in Week 7. He reinjured that leg in March, started his rehabilitation from scratch and wasn't added to the roster until Seattle's 10th game.

"After the leg break that he had, he never really got back to full balance with his whole body," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He was just vulnerable."

Thurmond, a fourth-round choice in 2010, started one game this season, stepping in against Arizona in the first game Browner missed because of his suspension.

Browner's return gives Seattle both of its starting cornerbacks for the playoffs with Browner returning to play opposite Richard Sherman.

"That's my right-hand man," Sherman said of Browner after the game Sunday. "That's my guy. That's one of my best friends. He completes us. He makes us whole."

Sweezy does it

Rookie right guard J.R. Sweezy has started at right guard the past two games while John Moffitt, the second-year player, has been inactive.

That represents a change on Seattle's depth chart, Sweezy moving ahead of last year's third-round choice.

"We'll get through the week, and let those guys keep battling," Carroll said, while making it clear Sweezy has had the edge recently. "He's leading to get the call for the start."

Sweezy and Moffitt split time at guard in Game 14 against Buffalo in Toronto, but depth concerns along the defensive line and at linebacker the past two weeks prevented the Seahawks from having eight offensive linemen active and available. Moffitt was inactive, Lemuel Jeanpierre serving as the backup guard because he could also play center.

Tried and Tru

Cornerback Marcus Trufant returned Sunday after missing the previous four games with a hamstring injury.

He resumed his role as the fifth defensive back in Seattle's nickel formations, and Carroll was asked whether Trufant would remain in that role now that Browner has returned or if rookie Jeremy Lane or second-year cornerback Byron Maxwell might get a chance.

"It does change the dynamic a little bit as Brandon is back," Carroll said. "But Tru had a very good game this week, a nice job in his first game back."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.


BRIAN BAHR / GETTY IMAGES
Brandon Browner is back with the Seahawks after serving his four-game suspension, much to the delight of fellow cornerback Richard Sherman.




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