Aaron Curry kept the Seattle Seahawks waiting for more than a week before showing up at training camp. But the team isn't going to delay the professional debut of the No. 4 overall pick.
On the day Seattle's most tenured star, Walter Jones, returned to practice for the first time since July 31, coach Jim Mora said Thursday that Curry will see extensive playing time in Saturday's exhibition opener against San Diego, perhaps the most of any prospective Seattle starter.
After first saying he wasn't going to make public how long some of his starters would play, Mora said that Curry likely will play into the third quarter and be shifted all over the defense. Curry will be used both at linebacker, and lineup at right end to give the Seahawks an opportunity to see his pass rush skills in action.
"You know, if there's one thing that I would look for is watch Aaron Curry and see how he rushes as an end. We're going to find out a little bit, you know? I'm excited to see it," Mora said. "There's no sense in waiting."
Along with Curry's first game, Saturday is the debut of some new faces that Seattle expects to play significant roles as they try to rebound from last year's 4-12 swoon. It's also Mora's first game as a head coach since Dec. 31, 2006, right before he was fired after three seasons in Atlanta.
"It's been good for me. I'm looking forward to the game, I'm looking forward to being back on the sideline in that role," Mora said. "I think there will be an adjustment period throughout the game and probably throughout the preseason, but I'm excited where we are as a team and I'm comfortable going into this game with my role as well."
Aside from Curry, Seattle will get its first chance to see a re-tooled defensive line with Cory Redding at end and Colin Cole at tackle, joining Brandon Mebane and Patrick Kerney. Kerney returned to practice on Thursday after missing a couple of days and Mora said Kerney would be a game-time decision on Saturday.
Rookie offensive lineman Max Unger is likely to start at right guard against the Chargers. With Seattle's line in a state of flux for the first two weeks of camp, Unger has been given most of the reps at right guard with the first unit.
Now comes displaying the progression made in practice during a game. If anything, Unger is familiar with the venue _ his final college game at Oregon came in San Diego.
"A lot of nerves," Unger said. "My first game of college, my first game of high school, its the same feeling. It never goes away."
Only a handful of players have been ruled out for Saturday's game. Cornerback Marcus Trufant is still absent from camp with a back injury, and Jones won't make the trip to San Diego. But getting the 12-year veteran back on the field Thursday was a big step.
Jones went through Seattle's first practice, then was stuck as a spectator with a sore back. Jones believes his body wasn't ready to go through the first day of camp and probably should have waited a little longer before starting.
He wasn't sure if microfracture surgery on his left knee in the offseason had anything to do with the back spasms that kept him off the field for nearly two weeks. Jones is hoping to continue progressing and possibly play a little bit next week against Denver.
"The first time I came out I don't think I was completely ready," Jones said. "I went through it but I wasn't ready. ... They wanted to get me out here today just to move around and this was the best I have felt in a long time."
NOTES: Mora said QB Matt Hasselbeck will play a couple of series, but that he wants backup QB Seneca Wallace to get some time behind Seattle's starting offensive line.
Among the spectators at Thursday's open practice: Portland Trail Blazers star and Seattle native Brandon Roy. Both the Blazers and Seahawks are owned by Paul Allen.