New Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy said he thinks weight clauses the team added to his contract are a positive challenge.
Eddie Lacy didn’t make it more complicated than it has to be.
Asked Friday the key to meeting well-publicized weight incentives that are part of his contract with the Seattle Seahawks, the former Green Bay Packer running back said he just has to quit “eating a lot. I’m from Louisiana (Gretna). I like good food. Got to change it.’’
The Seahawks hope they have made it worth his while to at least eat not quite as much good food as he has in the past, if not necessarily cut out all good food, installing seven monthly weight incentives worth $55,000 each, for a total of $385,000.
Lacy hit the first one in May, checking in at 253, under the 255 limit.
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In June Lacy will have to weigh in at under 250 and then at 245 or under from September-December.
The weight clauses are somewhat unusual but reflective of the concern the Seahawks had in making sure Lacy stayed in proper shape. That Lacy got overweight was cited as a reason for his struggles in Green Bay in 2015 when he averaged just 4.1 yards per carry compared to 4.6 or better in his other three seasons. He was also reported to have weighed 267 pounds this offseason before signing with the Seahawks in March after four seasons with the Packers.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll has said he’d like Lacy somewhere in the 240s. Lacy said that’s fine with him — “what he like that’s what I like,” he said.
Lacy added that he accepts the weight clauses in the way that the Seahawks hoped he would — as a challenge.
“As a competitor you want to be challenged,’’ he said. “It’s a positive challenge. At the end of the day it helps me personally, too. So why not?’’
Being at 253 now — the Seahawks list him at 250 — Lacy said is a step in the right direction.
“It’s great, actually,’’ he said of his conditioning when he spoke to reporters after Friday’s OTA on what was his 27th birthday — matching his jersey number. “And it’s going to continue to get better.’’
It helps that Lacy is able to participate more in workouts than the Seahawks had thought he might.
Lacy’s 2016 season ended when he suffered an ankle injury in a week six game against Dallas last October. The injury required surgery which Lacy later described this way, as detailed by ESPN: “I messed up my deltoid and widened the bone on my ankle, so I had to get two screws, two wires and a plate to fix it because I messed up my deltoid ligament. That’s the longest thing to heal.”
Lacy isn’t taking part in all of drills now but is able to do enough for Carroll to say that he can at least get some “continuity’’ going with the rest of the offense.
It’s also enough work for Carroll to be confident that Lacy will be ready for the beginning of the 2017 season.
“I’m still limited,’’ Lacy said. “I’m able to do a lot more, though, and it’s steady progression so as long as I continue to get better I’ll just continue to do more and what they allow me to do I’ll do.’’
Lacy, who was the offensive Rookie of the Year in 2013, was off to maybe his best season in 2016 before being injured with 360 yards on 71 carries, 5.1 per attempt.
The Seahawks are hoping for more of the same in 2017, though mostly hoping that a combination of a healthy and in-shape Lacy and a healthy and back-to-2015-form Thomas Rawls will give the team the kind of rushing attack the team lacked last season. After ranking among the top four in rushing from 2012-15 when Marshawn Lynch was the lead back the Seahawks fell to 25th in the NFL last season, a dropoff that Carroll has cited as the key to the team’s offensive struggles. Russell Wilson’s injuries played a significant role, as did a young offensive line still developing.
But the injuries and inconsistency at running back took an equal toll, something the Seahawks hope the signing of Lacy will help solve.
Lacy says he’s not worried whether he gets the first carry or whether that goes to Thomas Rawls or C.J. Prosise.
“There’s no confrontation, no tension in the (running back) room,’’ he said. “We all understand it’s a business. Nothing is given to nobody. Got to come out, got to go play, got to earn it.’’