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Shaquem Griffin finishes preseason as Seahawks leading tackler, ready to start if necessary

Raiders Seahawks Football

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin (49) pursues Oakland Raiders tight end Paul Butler (84) during the first half of an NFL football preseason game, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)


With K.J. Wright unlikely to play in next week’s opener in Denver, rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin appears set to start for the Seahawks in Wright’s place at strong-side linebacker against the Broncos.

The one-handed college standout from Central Florida led Seattle in tackles for the second time in the preseason, recording seven tackles against the Raiders. He led the team in tackles for the preseason as well with 24 in four games played.

“I’m more than excited to get everything started,” Griffin said after the game. “I got guys like K.J. and Bobby (Wagner) that always keep me in tune and make sure I stay in my playbook. ... Having those guys as a mentor has definitely helped me out and prepared me for the games coming up.”

Wright had surgery on his knee this past week to address an issue that surfaced after last week’s game against Minnesota. It’s not expected to be a long-term absence but it has made his availability for the season opener questionable at best. Griffin has been Wright’s backup throughout the offseason and will get the call should Wright be unavailable.

"(We’re) confident,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said of Griffin if he’s called upon against the Broncos. “Confident. He’ll be alright. Hope for K.J., but we’ll be confident.”