SEATTLE -- Russell Wilson was as blunt as he's ever been earlier this offseason when he put public pressure on the Seattle Seahawks to beef up his pass protection. With Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown not practicing as he seeks a new deal, Wilson is again speaking candidly about the importance of getting his best offensive lineman back on the field.
In his first comments to Seattle-area reporters since the start of training camp, Wilson made no attempt to downplay Brown's continued absence.
"Not having Duane Brown out there is a pretty significant deal because I think he's one of the best left tackles in the game, there's no arguing it," Wilson said Sunday after the Seahawks' mock game at Lumen Field. "I think he's as good as it gets. There's nobody more athletic, more talented than he is. Age is just a number. He looks like he's 28-30 out there. He's really exceptional. So smart and physical, understands the game, and I think people fear him, to be honest with you, when they're rushing him and playing against him.
"So we definitely want to be able to get him back out there. We've got to figure that out because we need Duane Brown."
Sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter earlier this week that Brown is not pleased that he has yet to receive a new deal. He's in the last year of his current contract, which is set to pay him up to $11.35 million this season. The 14th-year veteran turns 36 later this month.
The Seahawks have five weeks until their Sept. 12 season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, which is plenty of time to get a deal done. Problem is, they're trying to extend Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, whose contract situation is their top priority.
Wilson initially avoided a question asking when Brown's absence becomes an issue for the quarterback. When pressed, he said the Seahawks need him for their first game.
"We need to figure that out because he's really special, obviously," Wilson said. "Like I said, I think he's one of the best left tackles in the game. I think he's got several more years to play. I think he can definitely do it. I don't think there's anybody more athletic than him. You see what he can do. And he's also our leader. He's a guy who really leads the offensive line, and really, he commands the offensive line and really can set the tone."
Brown ranked second in ESPN's pass block win rate as a tackle last season (94%) and ranks fifth since 2018 (92.7%). He appeared in all 16 games in 2018 and 2020 while missing four with knee and biceps injuries in 2019.
Like Adams, Brown is conducting what's known as a "hold-in." Both reported to training camp but aren't practicing in the absence of new contracts. Coach Pete Carroll said last weekend that he expected Brown to begin practicing soon, but that has yet to happen. Carroll had no update Sunday on when he'll practice.
"Duane and I are doing great," he said when asked if Brown is unhappy. "In our conversations about stuff, he's been great. He's making a statement. He's making a statement about what he feels he needs to have happen."
Asked if he thinks Brown will miss any games, Carroll said he doesn't know, adding: "He's not going to play in preseason. He wasn't going to, so it's not going to make difference right now."
In addition to missing Brown, the Seahawks were also without his top two backups Sunday. Jamarco Jones (back spasms) and Cedric Ogbuehi (biceps strain) both left Saturday's practice with injuries. Tommy Champion (groin) also didn't play. That pressed rookie sixth-round pick Stone Forsythe into action as Seattle's starting left tackle.
Carroll said Jones' back will need a couple of days to loosen up. He had no timetable on Ogbuehi's return. They were also without top center Ethan Pocic on Sunday after he reaggravated the hamstring injury that sidelined him at the start of camp. Carroll said he might need a couple of more days to heal.
The Seahawks made it through their mock game without any significant injuries, per Carroll. He said they held out running back Rashaad Penny (thigh) and cornerback D.J. Reed (groin) as precautions and characterized their injuries as minor.