Will Irvin pray for Chargers backup center?

RENTON, Wash. -- Last week when Green Bay Packers rookie center Corey Linsley had to make his first NFL start at CenturyLink Field against the Seahawks, Seattle linebacker Bruce Irvin said he would pray for him.

On Sunday, the San Diego Chargers also will start a backup center in Rich Ohrnberger, because starter Nick Hardwick injured his neck on Monday night and was placed on injured reserve.

"I ain't got nothing to say about that," Irvin said Wednesday. "But yeah, I heard about it. My eyes were like [opened wide], but I ain't saying nothing about it."

Will Irvin pray for Ohrnberger?

"I pray for everybody," he said smiling, "just some people a little more."

Irvin feels like his prayers have been answered after surgery in June to repair a hip injury, which ended the pain he suffered through all last season.

"I'm just happy I got it over with and I'm back to playing," Irvin said. "It's so refreshing. When you get surgery, it's more mental. I'm still kind of afraid to really drop [into coverage] because I haven't done it yet. It's about getting it through my head that it's fixed now."

Irvin missed all the preseason and returned to practice last week, but he did play against the Packers, strictly as a pass-rusher.

"He had a tremendous Monday practice and he can't remember when he's felt this freed up," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Irvin. "He's had a hip issue in all his playing years, all the way back in college."

Irvin said the hip issue became more pronounced last summer.

"I remember tweaking it in college, but I really knew I messed it up last year in training camp," he said. "It was the mock game in camp. I knew something was wrong.

"I missed the two preseason games last year because of my hip. But I had the four-week vacation [substance abuse suspension], so I was getting it worked on while I was in West Virginia. It held up for the rest of the season. I tried to get through OTAs this year, but it wouldn't work."

Irvin didn't think the injury hindered his play last season, but he's glad the constant pain is gone.

"I wouldn't say I was limited, but I'm pain free now," he said. "When I would drop into the flat [in pass coverage] last year, I would feel it. When I changed directions and stuff I would feel it. After practice and after games it would really be hurting."

Irvin hopes to see more action Sunday after playing sparingly in the season opener.

"I'm looking to get a little bit more,'' he said. "I was satisfied last week. I think I got 18 reps, but I hadn't played since February. For me to try to play 40 snaps [last week], this is a grown man game. I probably would have looked crazy. Pete and the trainers have done a good job of protecting me from myself and taking care of me."