The Seahawks have overhauled their running back corps this offseason in the wake of Marshawn Lynch‘s retirement, spending three draft picks on the position while also re-signing Christine Michael. But the most important member in the running back room remains second-year player Thomas Rawls, who is still recovering from a broken ankle that he suffered in December. Speaking with Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com today, Rawls offered reassurance that he’ll “most definitely” be ready to roll when training camp begins.
“Rehab is going phenomenal,” Rawls said. “Running, cutting, working hard, getting back out there. I’m looking forward to being out there the first week. Rehab has been going phenomenal this whole offseason. I don’t have a break because I’ve gotta work 10 times harder. So I’m excited to come back and fill that void in that backfield.”
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said last month that he “absolutely” expected Rawls to be fully healthy when the regular season starts, but did allow that the club will probably ease the former undrafted free agent into training camp and preseason contests. Indeed, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets that the Seahawks are unlikely to let Rawls play many snaps during the exhibition season, and will instead use those games to evaluate their rookie running back class.
That class is comprised of three 2016 draft picks: third-rounder C.J. Prosise, fifth-rounder Alex Collins, and seventh-rounder Zac Brooks. The club also boasts undrafted rookie free agent Tre Madden, who is listed on the team’s website as a running back, but is widely thought of as more of a fullback. But despite all the new additions, Kapadia still expects Rawls to enter the season as the starter if he’s healthy.
Rawls, who turns 23 years old next month, was a revelation during his rookie season, rushing for more than 800 yards and four touchdowns in relief of Lynch. He surpassed the 100-yard mark four times, including a memorable Week 11 contest against the 49ers, when Rawls ran for 209 yards, the second-highest total in the NFL last year.
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