Seahawks Starter Will Miss Preseason Finale: Report

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll will be without another running back against the Cowboys.

The Seattle Seahawks have been dealing with a handful of injuries and absences throughout the preseason and training camp. Now, the Seahawks will be without one of their star players for the preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

John Boyle with reported on Thursday, August 25 that starting running back Rashaad Penny will miss the final preseason game after testing positive for COVID-19. While the former first-round pick won’t be available on Friday, head coach Pete Carroll said that he anticipated Penny to return to practice almost immediately after the game.

“He’s fine. Matter of fact, he’s really good,” Carroll said. “He’s got COVID, he’s been out a few days. He has next to no symptoms at all, but he just had to step back. He’ll be back out in like a day or something, quick to return.”

The news comes just a week after quarterback Drew Lock tested positive for COVID almost immediately after being named the starter for the team’s preseason contest against the Chicago Bears. Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III is also recovering from a hernia injury, leaving the door open for Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, and newly-acquired UDFA Ronnie Rivers to make some plays on Friday.

Rashaad Penny is Ready for a Breakout Season

After initially looking like a potential draft bust, Penny has solidified himself as an incredibly efficient running back when healthy. With Chris Carson retired, Penny now has an opportunity for a bigger role in Seattle’s offense.

Penny was a superstar over his final two seasons at San Diego State, rushing for 3,253 yards and 34 touchdowns over that span. His 2,248 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns as a senior made him a consensus All-American and the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year in 2017.

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After a sensational senior year, Penny was selected by the Seahawks with the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite being a first-round pick, Penny didn’t start a single game for the Seahawks, playing in 14 games with only 85 rushing attempts.

In fact, until last season Penny had never started a game for Seattle. He missed 19 games in 2019 and 2020, then spent time on injured reserve in 2021. However, once Penny returned to the team last season, the 26-year-old tore it up on offense with 749 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 6.3 yards per carry.

This season will be Penny’s first opportunity to be a full-time starter for the Seahawks, unless the rookie Walker completely tears it up and takes over the starting job. Even if that happens, Penny should still see a significantly larger role in the Seattle offense compared to previous seasons.

Which Running Backs Will Make the 53-Man Roster?

With one final preseason game remaining, the Seahawks will have some tough decisions to make before Week 1 to trim their roster down to 53 players. One of the biggest questions remaining is how many running backs general manager John Schneider will keep around.

Penny is a sure-fire lock to make the final roster, and the same goes for Walker unless he is played on injured reserve while recovering from his hernia surgery. The good news is that Carroll expects Walker to be ready before or close to Week 1, so that scenario is unlikely.

That leaves maybe a couple of roster spots for running backs, with established running backs like Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas going up against newcomers like Ronnie Rivers and Darwin Thompson.

Given their experience with the team and splash plays they’ve made in the preseason, expect the only two other backs likely to make the 53-man roster to be Homer and Dallas. A young player like Rivers could make the practice squad, but unlikely they’ll be suiting up for games unless injuries pop up.

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