The Seattle Seahawks are still waiting on the return of running back Chris Carson, who dealt with a neck injury throughout the 2021 season. Recent images of the surgery Carson had at the end of last year don’t exactly inspire confidence about a potential return any time soon.
Carson played just four games in 2021 before being shut down for the rest of the year to undergo his neck surgery. Dr. Jesse Morse, a sports medicine physician, tweeted a photo of what the hardware looks like in Carson’s neck from the surgery that has kept him sidelined for so long.
The 27-year-old running back told Heavy that still sees himself playing football once he’s fully healed, but it’s still unclear if he will be medically cleared at any point in the 2022 season.
Pete Carroll’s Latest Comments on Carson’s Health
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has been asked multiple times about the status of Carson and whether or not he’ll be able to return to the team. Carroll’s most recent comments sounded less than optimistic.
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“We visited — it was about 10 days ago now — here and had a real good chance to hang out with him and feel him,” Carroll told reporters at minicamp. “He’s concerned because he wants to play and he loves the game and he’s a worker, he wants to work and push and all that, and there’s somethings that he was still a little but restrained to do so he wasn’t quite ready to do everything at that time. It’s just hard on him.”
Carson had established himself as a tough and physical running back prior to his injury, and one of the biggest steals of general manager John Schneider’s tenure in Seattle as a seventh-round pick. In his first two seasons as the team’s full-time starting running back in 2017 and 2018, Carson rushed for 2,381 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Seahawks Are Still in Good Shape at Running Back
Even if Carson isn’t able to play in 2022, the Seahawks still have some solid options in their backfield, along with a pair of rookie offensive tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas to help pave the way in the running game.
Former 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny will be the likely starter, at least at the beginning of the 2022 season. He got his first work as the team’s starting running back in 2021, having a career year with 119 rushing attempts, 749 yards, and six touchdowns on the ground, with all of those being career-high marks.
Penny has been an efficient runner whenever he’s been able to get on the field. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry last season and has averaged 5.6 yards throughout his entire NFL career.
Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III will also be looking to get get some reps in his first season. Walker burst onto the college football stage in his first and only season with the Michigan State Spartans. He won the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back, rushing for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per rushing attempt.
The Seahawks might not have Carson for 2022, but Walker and Penny give the team a pair of talented running backs to share the load in the veteran’s absence.