The Seattle Seahawks are 1-0 and preparing to host the Tennessee Titans at Lumen Field. However, a key member of the roster will be out of the lineup for the game. Backup running back Rashaad Penny will miss at least one game with a calf injury.
Penny suited up the season-opening game against the Colts as Chris Carson’s primary backup. He was on the field for seven snaps, rushing twice for eight total yards. The Seahawks ultimately ruled Penny out of the game with a calf injury. According to “ESPN,” Head coach Pete Carroll later explained that the team played it safe with Penny due to the presence of other healthy running backs on the game-day roster.
“He’s got a calf strain, so it’ll take us a bit to figure out what the return would be on that,” Carroll said during his Monday press conference. “He ran really well when he ran the other night, so we’re going to miss him, it looks like this week, we won’t know.
“We’ll let you know how that goes. But Alex [Collins] is ready to go, and both [Travis] Homer and DeeJay [Dallas], they’re ready to go too, so we’re in good shape. We had four running backs up this week, so we’re in pretty good shape at the position. Unfortunately, if it takes him a couple weeks, then we’ll figure out how to handle that.”
Penny has not suited up for a full season since becoming a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He appeared in 14 games of his rookie season, tore his ACL in December 2019, and then missed all but three games in 2020 due to his recovery. Now he will miss even more time with the calf issue.
Penny Missed Time During Training Camp With Injury
The absence in Week 2 will not be the first time that Penny is out of commission in 2021. He also missed part of training camp and the first preseason game with a lingering thigh issue.
Penny returned to practice ahead of the second preseason game and suited up with his teammates while preparing to face the Denver Broncos. He focused on adjusting to Shane Waldron’s offense while Carroll laid out significant expectations.
“I just want to see [Penny] play football,” head coach Pete Carroll said ahead of the second preseason game, per the “Bellingham Herald.” “He’s been very explosive when he played. He’s had a lot of big plays when he has opportunities. I just want to see him play good, hard, physical football. And we think the results are going to be really good.”
Penny suited up against the Broncos at Lumen Field, rushing five times for a total of eight yards. He also caught one pass for six yards during the 30-3 loss while easing his way back into action.
Penny Faces an Uncertain Future With the Seahawks
The 2021 season will be critical for Penny as he attempts to ensure a future in the NFL. He will be a free agent at the end of the year after the Seahawks declined to pick up the running back’s fifth-year option on his contract.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news in May and confirmed that the Seahawks would not pay Penny $4.5 million for the 2022 NFL season. This lack of a fifth-year option does not guarantee that he won’t be on the roster next season. He just won’t earn the same salary.
If Penny wants to return to the Seahawks in the future, he will have to get back to full health and prove that he can contribute on a consistent basis. For now, however, the Seahawks will move forward with Carson as the starter. DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer, and Alex Collins will all contribute as backup options.