The Seahawks plan to bring back a familiar face to provide depth at the depleted running-back position — Alex Collins, a fifth-round draft pick in 2016 who spent one year with the team.
The news was first reported by ESPN and the NFL Network and confirmed in a tweet by Collins, who stated that he was “ready to make the most of this opportunity.”
His visit to Seattle was listed on the league’s official transactions Friday, beginning the mandatory six-day COVID-19 intake testing process, with his signing expected to be announced when that is completed. That means he would not be available to play until the Seahawks’ Nov. 8 game at Buffalo.
But Seattle is in desperate need at running back. Chris Carson (foot), Travis Homer (knee) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) have missed practiced all week, leaving rookie DeeJay Dallas as the only one available in practices.
Collins, still just 26, rushed for 125 yards on 31 carries as a rookie with the Seahawks in 2016 but was waived in the cutdown to 53 players in 2017, in part due to the emergence of Carson, then a rookie.
Collins ended up signing with Baltimore and rushed for 1,384 yards in two seasons with the Ravens.
But he hasn’t played since 2018. He was waived by the Ravens in 2019 after an arrest that eventually resulted in him pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana and possession of a handgun in a vehicle. He also was dealing with a foot injury. He served a three-game NFL suspension in 2019.
But Collins is healthy, and beginning next week could be an option for the Seahawks, who did not have any running backs on their practice squad this week.
It also remains unclear when 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny will return to practice as he continues to recover from an ACL injury suffered Dec. 8 at Los Angeles.
Coach Pete Carroll said Friday that “it doesn’t look like it’s coming up next week” for Penny to return to practice off the Physically Unable to Perform list, though he said Penny seems close when working out. The Seahawks have until Week 11 to bring Penny off the list, and then three weeks for him to practice before having to activate him.
‘Snacks’ debut Sunday?
Veteran defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison appears finally ready to make his Seahawks debut against the 49ers, with Carroll hinting strongly that he will be elevated off the practice squad and active Sunday.
Harrison was not elevated his first two weeks with the Seahawks as he worked his way into playing shape.
“Without question he had his best week,” Carroll said of Harrison. “He’s needed the weeks to get going. This was the best he’s looked, and was really moving around well, so he’s working to get himself back in there.”
Carroll, though, noted Harrison is essentially a base-down tackle who will be counted on for his run defense, something Seattle’s three tackles have done pretty well.
“This week or next week he’s ready to play,” Carroll said. “So he would play whatever the game plan allowed him to and there would be no play count on him. But he’s a situational player, and he does a great job inside tying things up. So our guys are doing OK in there and battling, and we don’t have any issues rotation-wise right now. But he’s really made a big step forward this week.”
The Seahawks will have to wait until next week to get Carlos Dunlap into the lineup after trading for him Wednesday, as he must complete the COVID-19 intake period.
But he’s not the only addition Seattle will soon get to its defensive line.
Carroll said Friday that Rasheem Green had a good week of practice and is on track to return to the 53-player roster next week. Green has not played since the season opener against Atlanta due to a nerve/stinger issue.
Seattle also continues to experiment with rookie Stephen Sullivan as an edge rusher.
Sullivan, who played primarily receiver at LSU, was drafted with the intention of being a tight end and he played that spot while on the practice squad until a few weeks ago when he was moved to end.
Carroll said Friday that Sullivan is “getting really close to being able to be out there.”
But what will become something of a roster crunch as more players return — Green and Dunlap would take up the two current openings on the 53-player roster, though the team could fill one or both of those this week with someone such as defensive back D.J. Reed — may not make it easy for Sullivan to get on the active roster soon.
Still, Carroll said Sullivan is making a case for it.
“He’s remarkably picked up a bunch of stuff in his rush technique and style, and he’s done some really good stuff, so we’ll see what happens with that,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot depending on who’s up, who’s down. There’s a lot going on this week.”
The Seahawks also remain hopeful of getting rookie second-round pick Darrell Taylor on the field soon, too — he remains on the Non-Football Injury list while recovering from surgery to place a titanium rod in his leg to repair a stress fracture.
But as with Penny, Carroll said on Friday no determination has been made yet about when Taylor will practice.