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Seahawks expect Mebane, McDaniel to play in opener

By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks won't be at full strength when they open the regular season Sunday against Carolina, but they should have some starters whose availability has been a question mark.

That was the word from coach Pete Carroll, who told "The Morning News" on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM on Friday that defensive tackles Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane are expected to play. The statuses of cornerback Brandon Browner and defensive end Cliff Avril, however, remain up in the air.

"We won't be perfect going in, but it's not bad," Carroll said.

Browner missed Thursday's practice because of a hamstring injury. Avril is also dealing with a hamstring issue, and while he practiced Thursday, the fact that Carroll lumped him in with fellow defensive end Chris Clemons as players "on the verge of getting back" doesn't bode well for his availability against Carolina. Clemons didn't practice Thursday, and he isn't expected to play Sunday as he recently began practicing for the first time since offseason knee surgery.

O'Brien Schofield will start if Avril can't play. Walter Thurmond is listed behind Browner on Seattle's depth chart, though he's the team's nickel cornerback. Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane are the other cornerbacks on Seattle's roster.

McDaniel and Mebane both missed Seattle's preseason finale because of groin injuries but were full participants in practice Thursday.

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