Eddie Lacy said he thought it was sort of weird that the Seahawks had to play at Green Bay against his former team in his first game with Seattle.
When running back Eddie Lacy signed as a free agent with the Seahawks in March he knew there’d be a trip to Green Bay at some point in the 2017 season.
He didn’t know, though, that the first game he’d play for his new team would come against his old team, not finding that out until April when dates were finally determined.
“I laughed,’’ Lacy said of what he thought when the schedule was set. “It was like ‘this is kind of weird.’ But I guess that would happen to me.’’
Lacy’s reaction fits with the persona his new teammates have come to know over the past few months.
“Really funny guy,’’ said receiver Doug Baldwin. “Fun-loving guy. A big teddy bear.’’
That description, too, drew a laugh from Lacy.
“I’ll take it,’’ he said. “I’ll take it. A cool teddy bear. Like Ted (the lead character in a movie about a bear who comes to life) minus the curse words.’’
The Seahawks, though, are hoping that Lacy is more of a Grizzly once he starts taking the field for real Sunday.
The 5-11, 245-pounder (or what he apparently weighs, anyway, with Pete Carroll indicating this week that Lacy met the team’s goal to be at that weight for the start of the regular season) was signed to a one-year contract worth up to $4.25 million to serve as the kind of battering ram running back Seattle didn’t really have last season with Marshawn Lynch gone and Thomas Rawls battling injuries for much of the season.
“He runs hard,’’ said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who has played against Lacy three times. “Adds a real physical side to the game. I’m excited to see him play.’’
Indeed, while Lacy played some in the preseason, the Seahawks say they haven’t seen what they hope to see come Sunday.
Lacy spent much of the offseason rehabbing from a broken ankle suffered last October that caused him to the final 11 regular season games and playoffs and required surgery.
Then came adjusting to a new team.
Lacy said he was “real nervous’’ in Seattle’s first two exhibition games before feeling more comfortable for the third game against Kansas City in which he had 21 yards on four carries in playing with the number one offense in the first half. He didn’t play in the final game, finishing the preseason with 51 yards on 14 carries.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said this week Lacy could get that many carries, if not more, on Sunday depending on how the running back position shakes out. Thomas Rawls is listed first on the depth chart but has been battling an ankle injury and hasn’t played since the first exhibition game against the Chargers on Aug. 13 (though Rawls has practiced fully this week and appears ready to play Sunday).
Lacy said he’s ready for whatever the Seahawks ask.
“I’ll definitely take however many they give me because I haven’t played since October,’’ he said. “But (it helped) going through the first preseason games and getting a feel back and getting hit and really showing myself that my ankle is perfectly fine and I feel like I’m equipped to do whatever I have to do.’’
Had the ankle injury not happened, Lacy might still be wearing Packer green and yellow.
He was off to the best start of his career with 360 yards on 71 carries, 5.1 yards per attempt, when he suffered the injury against Dallas — he had at least one run of 25 yards or longer in four of the five games he played before being hurt, ultimately undergoing a surgery that included having two screws, two wires and a plate inserted into the ankle, primarily to fix his deltoid ligament.
In his absence, the Packers converted receiver Ty Montgomery to running back and he ended up averaging 5.9 yards per carry and convincing Green Bay he could be the running back of the future.
Each side has said Lacy would have been welcomed back in Green Bay. “I thought I would be back there,” Lacy said Thursday. “I was there for four years. I just thought it would continue.’’
But Lacy, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the 2013 and 2014 seasons with Green Bay signed quickly when Seattle offered, a deal that the Packers apparently didn’t try too hard to match.
“He made a decision that he felt liked he needed to make,’’ Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said this week. “…it is unfortunate that you don’t get to continue on with your own guys and that is usually the way we go forward.’’
But there apparently are no hard feelings on either side.
Lacy said he feels nothing to prove to anyone on the Green Bay sidelined Sunday.
“Nah,’’ he said. “Just going to go out and play the game that I love to play. Just so happens I’m on a different team playing against what I came from.’’
As the game has neared, though, Lacy has given one aspect of his return some increasing thought — whether he will make a Lambeau Leap into the stands if he scores a touchdown.
“Honestly I’ve been thinking about that for the past two days,’’ he said. “Part of me wants to but I don’t want to get pushed down, so I don’t know how I’m going to react to that. Maybe I can find a small patch of Seahawks fans and do it there.’’