The theme of the Seahawks' season so far has not been so much "next man up" as "next man back" -- nearly every week has featured the return of an injured player.
While most of the personnel pick-me-ups have come on defense -- Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, Jordan Hill, et al. -- the offense got a couple this week as the Hawks re-signed fullback Michael Robinson and opened the three-week activation window on wide receiver Percy Harvin by bringing him back to practice.
Robinson replaces rookie Spencer Ware on the roster and will replace Derrick Coleman in the lineup. Ware, who has missed five weeks with a high ankle sprain, was placed on injured reserve. Coleman is out with a hamstring injury suffered last Thursday at Arizona.
On 710 ESPN on Tuesday, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called Robinson's return a "big boost" for the offense.
Robinson might not be able to play tackle -- the Hawks are still awaiting the return of Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung -- but he might be able to help a pass protection unit that is among the worst in the NFL. He also might give Marshawn Lynch some more consistent running room.
Robinson was released before the season after he had fallen ill. He told reporters Tuesday that he had a bad reaction to an anti-inflammatory in August, leading to kidney and liver problems and two hospitalizations. He said he dropped about 30 pounds during the illness.
He was due to make $2.5 million this season, so the illness and his contract conspired against him.
"I knew there was a big chance that I would be let go," he said. "I was just hoping and praying for an opportunity to be able to come back and go to work."
He said he has been healthy for six weeks and even tried out for Tennessee and the Giants. But he also knew the Seahawks might end up calling him at some point. Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider had both mentioned the possibility when he was released.
When Coleman was injured Thursday, he (and all of his fans) knew that point probably had come, and Schneider in fact sent him a text message the next day.
He said he stayed in close touch with many Seattle players, especially Lynch, while he was gone. His return should be seamless.
Harvin's debut will be, too, if the Seahawks have anything to say about it. Bevell said they plan to take it easy with him, which means they seem likely to use all three weeks of practice time before activating him from the PUP list.
Robinson wasn't the only former Seahawk to return Tuesday. The team also added wide receiver Ricardo "Rocket" Lockette to the practice squad. Lockette spent time on the Hawks' taxi team in 2011 and 2012 and finished the 2011 season on the active roster for two games. He then spent time on practice squads with San Francisco and Chicago until the Bears released him this week.
The Hawks also added a face that is familiar to quarterback Russell Wilson, signing guard Zach Allen to the practice squad. The 6-2, 332-pounder played with Wilson at N.C. State in 2009 and 2010.
With WR Josh Lenz released from the practice squad, that eight-man unit now consists of Allen, Lockette, DT Michael Brooks, WR Arceto Clark, TE Cooper Helfet, OG Ryan Seymour, DB DeShawn Shead and DT D'Anthony Smith.
The Hawks now have five players on season-ending IR: Ware, DE Kenneth Boatright, CB Chandler Fenner, TE Anthony McCoy and DT Jesse Williams. Okung is on IR-designated to return.
They still have three players on PUP: Harvin, DE Greg Scruggs and CB Tharold Simon. LB Korey Toomer is on the non-football injury list, and guard Jared Smith is on the practice squad injured list.