Seahawks' Pete Carroll wants patience with Thomas Rawls' return

RENTON, Wash. - As Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls went through eight months of rehab following a season-ending ankle injury, one former teammate he had in his corner was Marshawn Lynch.

"A lot of encouragement," Rawls said. "He's been having my back for a long time now and just making sure I'm in really good spirits.

"I took a lot from him, just how he approached the game from the mental part and just leading me off the field as far as different things as far as being in the NFL or making business decisions or talking to different people or trying to help me get a regimen of taking care of my body as a rookie."

Rawls returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a broken left ankle and ligament damage in December. He went through warm-ups with his teammates and caught passes from the quarterbacks during the beginning part of practice.

As the team split into positional groups, Rawls went to a side field with a trainer. With his helmet off, he got in his running back stance and took off in sprints that ranged from 10 to 40 yards. The session lasted about 15 minutes, and Rawls was an observer for the rest of practice.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has maintained all along that the team will proceed slowly with Rawls and won't rush him back.

"We're going to be careful," Carroll said. "There's no need to rush him at all. A very violent football player. He needs time to get ready to play the way he does, so we're going to take however long that is. I don't really have a schedule at this point."

Carroll added that the team has not made a determination yet on whether Rawls will see any action in the preseason.

Overall, though, the team continues to believe Rawls will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. He's in position to replace Lynch as the Seahawks' primary ball carrier.

"He was willing to work at it at the levels that we could barely understand," Carroll said. "He was so vicious about the workouts. The stuff he was doing to prove to the trainers that he was ready, the hops and the jumps and the bursts and the continued work over a long period of time, it was unreal. I don't think there's anybody in better shape than Thomas. He put himself in great, great conditioning. It'll be hard for us to help him maintain that level. He's worked so hard."