Seahawks need long snapper after Houser suffers collapsed lung

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks long snapper Kevin Houser hopes to be out of the hospital in time for Christmas Eve after doctors re-inflated his collapsed lung.

Seahawks coach Jim Mora said Houser, a 32-year-old veteran of 10 NFL seasons, was sitting up in his hospital room Monday and watching "Ren and Stimpy" cartoons with his wife and kids.

"He's doing much, much better," Mora said.

Houser, the Seahawks' only true long snapper, was hurt while covering a punt during the second quarter of Sunday's 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He went into a photographer's shed on the sideline to receive a painkilling injection, then returned to snap for Seattle's only extra-point attempt later in the half.

Midway through the third quarter, Houser ran at Tampa Bay's Sammie Stroughter at the end of a 33-yard punt return and collapsed in pain on the sideline.

"Kevin, he was hurting," Mora said, sighing and shaking his head. "He was doing everything he could trying to stay in the game.

"I feel bad because of that effort and his desire to be an impacting guy on our team that he's in the hospital now. But he's feeling better. We just hope he's home for Christmas Eve."

Mora said Houser likely will go on season-ending injured reserve. The team is trying to bring back veteran Jeff Robinson, who's currently out of football after playing in Seattle for parts of the 2007 and '08 seasons.

So much for little cornerback Kelly Jennings' cameo as a long snapper.

Houser's injury highlighted another problem with the Seahawks' roster. The team had to hold an impromptu tryout on the sideline, using fullback Owen Schmitt and linebacker Will Herring on practice snaps before settling on Jennings to snap for a punt late in the third quarter.

Mora said the situation was so dire that he considered going for all fourth downs -- until special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven convinced him that Jennings could snap the ball back to punter Jon Ryan on a fourth-and-13.

"How'd you like Kelly Jennings long snapping?" Mora said after the game. "Goodness sakes. It is exasperation to believe that we could actually be at the point where our backup right corner is long snapping for us. I say to myself, 'How did this happen?' He's 172 pounds dripping wet."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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