DETROIT -- Pete Carroll couldn't help but take a friendly jab at Ed Dickson.
The veteran tight end had eluded the head coach twice before signing with Seattle this offseason -- first when he spurned Carroll and USC to instead sign with Oregon, and then in the 2010 NFL draft, when the Ravens nabbed him in the third round before Carroll's Seahawks could.
But Dickson couldn't elude one last Detroit Lions defender in the open field Sunday.
He had a lot of turf ahead of only him and safety Quandre Diggs to beat after a play-action fake and a brief hesitation at the line of scrimmage left him wide open. Diggs saved a touchdown when he brought Dickson down after a 42-yard pickup.
"He had a chance to shake and bake a little bit on that play, and then he kind of left that up in Eugene or something," Carroll joked. "I don't know where that went."
You could understand it if Dickson isn't quite in midseason form after missing the first six games. His long-awaited Seahawks debut -- delayed because of a stint on the non-football injury list -- was still a productive one. It also included a leaping 12-yard touchdown catch over Diggs' back on a corner route in the end zone, one of several highlights for the Seahawks in their 28-14 victory over the Lions.
When the Seahawks signed Dickson away from Carolina this offseason, general manager John Schneider said they considered him the best blocking tight end in free agency. He was going to be part of the plan to upgrade in that regard from Jimmy Graham as Seattle looked to re-establish its dormant running game. But those two plays showed what type of a pass-catching weapon Dickson could be for Russell Wilson over the second half of the season.
Dickson's debut coincided with K.J. Wright's return from a late-August knee scope. Seattle had cycled through replacements at weakside linebacker in his absence, first going with rookie Shaquem Griffin at that spot in the opener and then signing Mychal Kendricks after Griffin struggled. The Seahawks moved Barkevious Mingo over from the strong side when the NFL indefinitely suspended Kendricks for his role in insider trading.
Word could come early this week on when Kendricks will be reinstated, if it happens at all this season. That doesn't seem like as pressing of a need for the Seahawks now that they have Wright and Bobby Wagner -- one of the NFL's best linebacker duos and the team's longest-tenured defenders -- together again.
Wright finished with five tackles and a pass defended while occasionally getting spelled on third down. Safety Bradley McDougald called it "a breath of fresh air" to have Wright back and noted how his return reduces the in-game burden on the other veteran defenders to make sure the youngsters are on the same page.
"K.J.'s been a pivotal part of this defense," McDougald said. "He's been here, he's been through the fire and he's just somebody we can count on."
It might be fitting that the Seahawks got a pair of starters back two days before the NFL's trade deadline.
In an ideal scenario, Schneider would swing a trade to reinforce Seattle's roster -- anyone have an extra pass-rusher? -- for a second-half playoff run like he did last year with Duane Brown. But an addition of that caliber, or perhaps any addition at all, doesn't seem realistic.
The Seahawks gave up their 2019 second-rounder as part of the Brown trade. They're also without their sixth- and seventh-rounders after trading them for quarterback Brett Hundley and safety Shalom Luani, respectively. That leaves Seattle with only four picks in all. Even the ever-aggressive Schneider might not be willing or able to part with anything more.
It's a good thing for the Seahawks that Wright and Dickson take care of two of the positions where they needed the most help.
“It's a great boost," Carroll said. "Of course, their play on the field, but it's even more than that. Particularly for Ed. He had a nice game today. We hadn't seen him play. He went out, he had his chance to make some stuff happen and will help us moving forward. K.J., his presence is really powerful for us. So, yeah, it's a great boost.”