Fullback Michael Robinson #26 of the Seattle Seahawks during the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 20-16. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

by Curtis Crabtree
KJR reporter
Twitter: @Curtis_Crabtree

RENTON - Head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have built a team full of quality depth across the board. The downside was it meant several quality players being let go over the weekend.

FB Michael Robinson, CB Antoine Winfield, DT Clinton McDonald and TE Sean McGrath were perhaps the four most surprising cuts during the purge from 75 players to 53.

Carroll said the moves weren't easy to make.

"It’s been a very challenging weekend as we knew going in," Carroll said.

The decisions with Robinson and Winfield were perhaps the toughest to make. Robinson had developed into a team leader and Pro Bowl fullback in hist time with Seattle. Ultimately, his salary become problematic for the team and was the likely reason he was let go.

"We had a lot of tough decisions and Mike was one of them," Carroll said. "Mike had been with us for a long time. All these guys hurt us, in a sense, when they left because they had bought in and given us everything that they had and Mike was a very instrumental guy on this football team as we were coming along."

Carroll said FB Derrick Coleman played well enough to allow the Seahawks to take a bit of a chance with the release of Robinson.

"He just came through in a big way and sent a big message to us in special teams. Hes had a great camp in special teams. He’s one of the core guys there," Carroll said.

"We know that he can carry the ball too if we need him to, he catches the ball very well, and he’s learning the system as a fullback. He outlasted his competition to go into the opener as a starter. That’s a big accomplishment for Derrick [Coleman] and we are really excited about him."

Winfield took less money to sign with Seattle because he wanted to chase a Super Bowl. Instead, the Seahawks were going to release him and he elected to retire. Carroll said Winfield did everything they hoped he would do and that he's still playing at a high level. However, Carroll said CB Walter Thurmond just had an outstanding training camp and essentially earned the job.

"As much as I love Antoine, I’m really excited for Walter to have come through like he did and we have all been waiting for him and he just needed to get healthy and he finally is and it showed," Carroll said.

One of the more curious decision was to part with McGrath.

McGrath and TE Luke Willson were the top two tight ends for nearly the entirety of training camp as TE Zach Miller remained on the physically unable to perform list. Seattle has regularly kept at least three tight ends on the roster but elected to go with just two and let McGrath go. McGrath was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Carroll said they have total faith in Miller and Willson and that T Michael Person can also work as an extra tight end at times. He played in Seattle's jumbo packages the last two weeks of the preseason.

Seattle made the decision to release fourth-round pick WR Chris Harper over the weekend and actually signed him back to the practice squad on Sunday. However, the San Francisco 49ers signed Harper to their active roster.

"We were fortunate to get him back on the practice squad, that’s how you go about it and the gamble that you take, and they picked up a good football player," Carroll said.

"We were hoping that he would be with us and bring him along. But that’s how it goes."

It was the only player Seattle lost to other teams. McGrath, DT Jaye Howard and CB Ron Parker were all claimed off waivers by the Chiefs. S Winston Guy was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars.