Seahawks Sign Record-Holding Running Back

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has a new running back to work with.

The Seattle Seahawks continue to tinker with their 80-man roster before having to cut it down to 53 players. General manager John Schneider made another pair of moves right before the team’s preseason finale.

Just two days before their August 25 final preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Seahawks announced a pair of roster moves. The first move was placing linebacker Jon Rhattigan on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, clearing an open roster spot. Rhattigan had made the team last year as an undrafted free agent but is still recovering from a season-ending knee injury he suffered at the end of last year.

That move opened up a spot for undrafted running back Ronnie Rivers out of Fresno State. Although the team has a handful of talented running backs already on the roster, the hernia injury to Kenneth Walker III and the early forced retirement of Chris Carson could give the rookie an outside shot of making the team or practice squad.

Who Is Ronnie Rivers?

Although he’s not the biggest name at his position, Rivers has the family ties along with the college production to make him a very interesting name to try to make the Seahawks’ roster before Week 1.

The undrafted free agent is the son of Ron Rivers, who also played at Fresno State before playing six seasons (1995-2000) in with the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons. The younger Rivers was only a two-star recruit coming out of high school as a return specialist, but he quickly found his footing at his father’s alma mater.

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Rivers started seven games for the Bulldogs as a true freshman, rushing for 480 yards and five touchdowns in his first college season. Because of the COVID eligibility rules, Rivers ended up playing five seasons at Fresno State as the team’s featured back despite only coming in at 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds.

By the end of his college career, Rivers became the school’s record holder for career touchdowns (52), rushing touchdowns (40), and holds multiple receiving records for a Fresno State running back with 150 receptions for 1,417 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Despite his success and ability to make plays through the air, Rivers went undrafted, likely due to his heavy college workload and smaller stature. He signed on with the Arizona Cardinals as a UDFA but was released when the team trimmed its roster from 90 players down to the required 85.

Rivers has quickly found a new team, and if he’s able to go on Friday night, he could have an opportunity to show what he can do against the Cowboys.

Can Rivers Make the 53-Man Roster?

Despite everything going for him, Rivers’ late addition to the Seahawks makes it an intense uphill battle for him to make the 53-man roster.

Rashaad Penny is the expected starter for Week 1, and if the rookie Walker is healthy by that time, then he’ll likely be receiving a fair share of carries as well. Head coach Pete Carroll is still hopeful that Walker will be ready for the season opener against the Denver Broncos.

Travis Homer has been a reliable backup for the Seahawks since 2019 and is also likely to make the roster. In three seasons with the team, he’s averaged an impressive 5.9 yards per carry with 686 total yards and two touchdowns.

DeeJay Dallas could also get a bigger role in this third season with Seattle. He’s already rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns over his first two seasons, and as a former fourth-round pick he has good size and athleticism for the position.

Rivers’ main competition will be against two established backups for the Seahawks, but if Walker isn’t healthy by Week 1 and the team needs another backup, there’s a small chance he could sneak onto the roster, or at least make the practice squad.

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