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Seahawks still have high hopes for Walter Thurmond

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Cornerback Walter Thurmond has missed 12 games in two seasons but he's shown promise when healthy. (AP)

By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks saw Brandon Browner make the Pro Bowl last season while another cornerback, Richard Sherman, made four interceptions in 10 starts as a rookie.

They've spent sixth-round picks on Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane in the past two drafts and re-signed veterans Marcus Trufant and Roy Lewis.

It's easy to forget about Walter Thurmond, who's been slowed by injuries since the Seahawks took him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. But according to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, a guest on "Bob and Groz" earlier this week, Thurmond is still very much a part of the Seahawks' plans.

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Thurmond
"We really are counting on him and we need him to stay healthy," Bradley said.

That's been the issue. Thurmond was limited in training camp as a rookie while recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered during his final season at Oregon. He missed two games in 2010 -- one due to a concussion and another with a hamstring injury -- and was again slowed during training camp last year while dealing with a high ankle sprain. His season ended after six games when he suffered a broken leg, an injury that could force him to start this season on the Physically Unable to Perform List.

But Thurmond, 24, has showed promise when healthy. Bradley recalled a game in 2010 when an injury to starter Kelly Jennings forced Thurmond to make his first career start against the Cardinals and Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Thurmond helped limit Fitzgerald to three catches and 30 yards, more than 40 yards below his season average.

"He really jammed at the line of scrimmage really well ... and was willing to just keep hanging in there and challenging," coach Pete Carroll said of Thurmond's performance a day later. "He's got a great attitude about it and he physically has a knack for getting his hands on receivers."

Thurmond made three starts last season, two of which came after Trufant went down with a back injury. In Seattle's win over the Giants in Week 5, Thurmond made two tackles, was credited with two passes defended and forced a fumble in the fourth quarter that led to a game-tying field goal. He was also beat by Hakeem Nicks for a touchdown in that game.

Two weeks later, Thurmond's season ended when he broke his leg after colliding with Earl Thomas while defending a deep pass against the Browns. He then suffered a setback in his recovery, which was likely one reason the Seahawks re-signed Trufant a month after releasing him. Trufant figures to be in the mix to be the fifth defensive back in the team's nickel package, a role Thurmond should vie for once his injured leg is fully healed.

" ... it didn't heal properly and he's at where he's at right now," Bradley said. "So hopefully by training camp we get him back and he can stay healthy because he's very important in our plans."

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