Seattle Seahawk Chris Clemons suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in the first-round playoff victory over the Washington Redskins, a huge blow to the team’s vaunted defense that limited the Redskins to 87 total yards after the first quarter.
Clemons went down in the third quarter when his cleat could not disengage from the messy FedEx Field turf. The Seahawks were hoping for something less severe, but an MRI Monday confirmed the worst.
“It’s a big loss for us in a lot of ways,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Chris has been a great football player and just a symbol of consistency in the years that we’ve had him, but he’s been a great leader for us too and a tough dude and a guy we’ve become very comfortable playing with and we’ll miss the heck out of him.”
Clemons posted on Twitter: “I want to thank everyone for … prayers. I will be ready for next season. We still got a Super Bowl to win!”
In his three years in Seattle, Clemons was a force. He came over from Philadelphia and recorded 11 sacks each in 2010 and 2011. After receiving a new contract, he was slightly better with 11½ sacks this season. Without him, rookie first-round pick Bruce Irvin will start and have to fill the void. He was drafted to be an impact player, and he is well on his way, setting a franchise rookie record with eight sacks.
They knew he could rush the quarterback. But can he be a factor against the run like Clemons?
“This is Bruce’s opportunity. This is what we drafted him to play, and we’ll see how he does,” Carroll said. “We expect him to do really well as he steps up.”
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are concerned about kicker Steven Hauschka, who suffered a calf strain in the Washington victory. The team is expected to try out veteran NFL kickers Ryan Longwell and Neil Rackers just in case Hauschka cannot go.