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Will Seahawks have Chancellor, Thomas in Week 1?

Has any position group in the NFL been more valuable than the Seahawks' secondary over the past two years?

The "Legion of Boom" has led Seattle to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, shutting down opposing pass defenses at a historically great level.

As dominant as that defensive backfield has been, it's fair to wonder how the Seahawks would fare at St. Louis and Green Bay in the first two weeks of the season if multiple stars are missing in action.

Although Earl Thomasreturned to practice Tuesday for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in February, the All Pro free safety wasn't ready to guarantee he would be ready for the season opener.

While Thomas rejoined teammates, cornerbacks Richard Sherman (hip) and Will Blackmon (groin) continue to be sidelined by soft-tissue injuries.

"They ran today for the first time, so it's just a process of getting them back," coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "I don't know when they'll return. Both of them had slight strains, so we just didn't want to aggravate them. That'll be day to day, they'll show us how they progress."

On top of the health questions, the Seahawks have no idea when strong safety Kam Chancellor will end a holdout that has lasted 19 days.

The three-time Pro Bowler has reportedly been watching practices on an iPad and engaging with teammates, but there's no sign of a resolution.

To be sure, there's a strong chance Thomas, Sherman and Chancellor will be in uniform for the season opener. There's also a chance all three will still be getting up to game speed when the whistle blows on Sept. 13.

Here's what else we learned on a Tuesday filled with backfield updates:

  1. Don't hand the Cowboys' starting running-back job to Joseph Randle just yet. Fresh off the PUP list, Darren McFadden handled first-team reps in an impressive Tuesday session. "Boy, if we can keep him out there," owner Jerry Jones raved, "he'll tear their you know what up."
  1. The Cardinals aren't putting any limitations or expectations on newly signed running back Chris Johnson. Whether Johnson edges out Andre Ellington for the starting job or fails to earn a roster spot "all depends on him," coach Bruce Arians explained on Tuesday. "Come in, compete for a job, see where it falls." That said, we would be shocked if the artist formerly known as CJ2K climbs past Ellington on the depth chart.
  1. While Arizona's backfield grows stronger, Buffalo's has been depleted. Hours after a report surfaced that rookie camp star Karlos Williams could be out multiple weeks with a "serious" conditions, the Bills watched starter LeSean McCoy limp to the locker room with a left hamstring injury that will require an MRI. Moments later, coach Rex Ryan revealed that Percy Harvin needed a pain-killing injection for a hip injury that will sideline the receiver for at least a week -- if not longer.
  1. After T.J. Yeldon earned offseason praise as a potential three-down workhorse, the Jaguars' second-round rookie now appears to be mired in a committee attack. Yeldon is in danger of missing a second straight preseason game with a sprained finger, while Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhartcontinue to see first-team reps. Coach Gus Bradley is also talking up former Ravens back Bernard Pierce, who showed well in the preseason opener. Yeldon isn't going to be fast-tracked in the workhorse role.
  1. Ameer Abdullah isn't the only rookie impressing in the Lions' backfield. Undrafted free agent Zach Zenner was mixed in with the first-team offense on Tuesday after showing vision, decisiveness and burst between the tackles versus the Jets. Coach Jim Caldwell acknowledged Zenner was "fun to watch" last week.
  1. DeMarco Murray is expected to return to practice Wednesday after "resting" for a week. Coach Chip Kelly concedes there is "a lot of validity" to concerns over Murray's heavy workload in 2014.
  1. Offseason acquisitions Travaris Cadet (hamstring) and Dion Lewis (undisclosed) will have plenty of ground to make up in the battle for the Patriots' passing-down running back. Holdovers Brandon Bolden and James White are viewed as the frontrunners at this point.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down Week 1 of the preseason and kicks off a week's worth of spectacular fantasy insight.

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