Will Dissly was on the back of the cart. Back to where he was this time last year.
Russell Wilson’s message to the Seahawks’ no-luck tight end: “Keep the faith.”
Dissly had an extraordinary season interrupted by a major-looking injury for the second time in his two years in the NFL on Sunday. Dissly left Seattle’s game at Cleveland early in the second quarter with an Achilles-tendon injury that coach Pete Carroll said after the game was “devastating.”
“We don’t a final (examination) on it, but it’s a serious one,” Carroll said following the Seahawks’ wild, 32-28 victory of the Browns. “We’ve still got to get some tests and stuff like that, MRIs and all that.
“But it’s a big loss. He’s been playing great football. And you saw him running, open field, and it just happened like Achilles do. They come out of nowhere.
“It’s a really devastating injury for him for the season.”
Dissly was running a pass route into the end zone, looking over his inside shoulder in the second quarter. Wilson’s throw under pressure from the Browns was outside Dissly. As the big tight end attempted to turn his body and shoulders, his left leg and foot appeared to give out under him. He crumpled to the natural grass painted brown and orange in the end zone as Wilson’s pass fell incomplete.
Team doctor Ed Khalfayan and trainers rushed to Dissly, who stayed down in the end zone for a moment or two. Two assistants helped him to the sideline while he limped, barely putting weight on his left leg. After a couple minutes of observation by Khalfayan inside a tent behind Seattle’s bench, Dissly got into the passenger seat of a motorized cart and was driven from the field as the Seahawks’ drive ended with a field goal instead of a touchdown.
As he was driven away Dissly appeared to raise his hand to some Seahawks fans seated near the tunnel leading from the field to his team’s locker room.
“That was tough today. Tough on Will. Tough on the team. Tough on me,” Wilson said. “I’ve developed such a great relationship with Will. I just want him to keep the faith.”
Dissly had his standout rookie season end after four games in 2018 because of ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. He went on injured reserve and missed the rest of last season.
He returned to full go in August—and resumed his unnaturally strong trust with quarterback Russell Wilson for so early in his career. Dissly had six touchdown catches in nine career games entering Sunday. Dissly’s four TDs entering the Browns game led all Seahawks receivers.
“Will has done everything he can. He’s been an unbelievable Seahawk,” Carroll said. “Every play he’s been if for us, last year and this year, he’s been just top-flight, a first-class competitor in all ways.
“It’s just unfortunate that he’s going to have to miss the season here—if the tests come through like we think they are.”
“It’s tough because it’s been back to back years for him,” Wilson said. “But, he’s still young. If anybody’s as tough as nails, it’s him. There’s nobody tougher that I know.
“He’ll come back stronger. We will support him and love him. ... More than anything else, I just want him to stay encouraged. Keep believing that great things are going to be in store for him. And we are going to do everything we can for him to make sure that that’s the case.
The Seahawks were down to Luke Willson, re-acquired last month, and Jacob Hollister, promoted from the practice squad, at tight end for the final three quarters Sunday.
Ed Dickson could return from injured reserve in two weeks. He had knee surgery in August. The Seahawks put him on their initial 53-man roster for the regular season then put him on IR, making the veteran tight end eligible to return after eight games if he’s healthy to.
Carroll has said Dickson is working toward doing just that, but his progress is still to be determined.
In the nearer term, the Seahawks seem likely to put Dissly on injured reserve this week to add defensive tackle Jarran Reed to the active roster. Reed, last season’s 10 1/2-sack man, served the sixth and final game of his NFL suspension for an alleged domestic-violence incident at his Bellevue home.