Veteran running back C.J. Spiller said he's excited for the chance to revive his career with the Seahawks.
C.J. Spiller’s week figures to begin and end in New York, sandwiching a few days in his new home in Seattle.
The Seahawks’ newest running back, Spiller took part in his first practice with Seattle on Thursday, which came a day after he signed with the team as added depth to a position that has been hit with injuries in the first three weeks of the season.
Spiller signed with the Seahawks after having visited the New York Jets on Tuesday, the team Spiller figures to face Sunday with Seattle.
Got all that?
Most Read Sports Stories
- Instant analysis: Three impressions from the Seahawks' 28-26 win over the Steelers
- When the Seahawks needed him most, Russell Wilson saved the day and a win on road vs. Steelers | Analysis
- Report card: Bob Condotta grades the Seahawks' Week 2 win vs. the Steelers | Analysis
- On Pete Carroll's 68th birthday, Seahawks throw massive surprise party to give him win No. 100 | Larry Stone
- Seahawks-Steelers GameCenter: Live updates, how to watch, stream Seattle's road test in Pittsburgh
Spiller admitted he had some trouble keeping it all straight, saying his head was still spinning from everything that’s happened the past few days.
Spiller said he actually was headed back home from his trip to New York Tuesday to Clemson, South Carolina — where he attended college and where he had been training since being released a few weeks ago by the New Orleans Saints — when the Seahawks called.
“Since I was already up north I figured it would be easier to fly out this way instead of going back home,” Spiller said.
Well, that and he was also excited to get a chance to revive his NFL career with a team that has an immediate need for his services.
While Spiller said he wasn’t sure if he’d play Sunday, running backs coach Sherman Smith said after practice Thursday that he’ll likely see the field against the Jets.
“I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect that,” Smith said, noting that free agent signee Terrence Magee — who was released to make room for Spiller — played last week after having been signed a few days prior to the game against the 49ers. “It’s just their ability to soak in and learn what we are trying to do and not being unrealistic in what we are asking him to do.”
Spiller’s most immediate role figures to be filling in as the third-down back. The Seahawks have ticketed rookie C.J. Prosise for that role but he has missed the last two games with a broken bone in his wrist and it’s unclear when he will be able to return. Prosise again practiced fully on Thursday but is playing with a wrap on his hand and the the key will be if the team feels he can play with his wrist protected. The Seahawks are also without Thomas Rawls for a few more weeks with a hairline fracture in his fibula.
Smith said he thinks Spiller could help in multiple roles but that for now it’s “looking like third-down situations…. no question he has a skill level. He can catch the football. He can run. So he brings all kinds of stuff to us.”
That’s what Spiller hopes to show, anyway, after being released by the Saints on Sept.13. New Orleans cut him despite having to pay him a guaranteed $1.7 million this season. Spiller, 29, rushed for just 112 yards and 3.1 yards per carry in 2015, his first year with the Saints after five in Buffalo, having had arthroscopic knee surgery prior to the season.
Spiller, though, said his health isn’t an issue.
“I feel fine,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that was the decision they made to release me. Everyone seen me during preseason. Then obviously my teammates seen me during training camp, what I was doing. That (health) has nothing to do with it.”
Spiller, in fact, said he didn’t know why the Saints released him.
“I guess that would be more of a question for those guys to answer,” he said. “It was a shock. All that stuff’s behind me now. That’s one of those things that you can’t control. That’s one of those things I couldn’t control. You accept it and you move on and hopefully you’ll get another opportunity. Lucky for me the Seattle Seahawks are giving me the opportunity again.”
After being released, Spiller returned to Clemson to train. He indicated he had other offers — the Packers were another team reported to show interest — but said he was waiting for the right opportunity, which he said he found in Seattle.
“I knew I wasn’t moving on (from football),” he said. “That’s why I didn’t put in my retirement papers. So I knew that the opportunity would present itself again. But to me it was all about making the right opportunity, not rushing anything. Making sure that it would be a great fit, both as a player and also as a person. That’s one of the things that I explained to the coaches. Of course football stuff is important but if I walk away from here and I didn’t get better as a person, individual or a man, then that was pointless.”
Spiller played in Buffalo with both Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson,who later played for the Seahawks, calling each close friends.
Spiller said he talked to Jackson, who played for Seattle last year and was asked to fill a similar third-down role, before signing with the Seahawks.
“He loved his time when he was up here,” said Spiller. “He thought that I’d do the same considering that we both were in Buffalo. That was great feedback to get with him and get an understanding of both the team and also the city itself.”
Interestingly, one reason the Bills felt comfortable enough to trade Lynch to Seattle in Oct., 2010 was that they had just taken Spiller in the draft the previous spring, at No. 9 overall in the first round.
Now, Spiller gets a chance to help the Seahawks move on in the first full year without Lynch.
“I watched this team run the ball obviously with having connections with Marshawn and Fred,” he said. “I always kept an eye on them. I know they love to run the ball.”