INDIANAPOLIS — Chris Carson will “absolutely’’ be ready for the start of the 2020 regular season, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday at the NFL combine.
Rashaad Penny, though, might not be.
As for Marshawn Lynch, who came back to fill in for the injured Carson and Penny late in the 2019 season?
Well, Carroll and general manager John Schneider weren’t ruling out another Beast Mode attack down the line.
“We’ll see,” Carroll said. “You never know.”
All of that makes running back one of the most intriguing positions for the Seahawks as they enter the heart of the offseason.
Penny, the team’s 2018 first-round pick, is rehabbing from an ACL injury (and other knee damage) suffered Dec. 8 against the Rams in Los Angeles.
Carroll said Penny is “ahead of schedule” but also said “it would be an extraordinary accomplishment” if Penny is ready for the start of training camp.
Carroll said that likely means Penny will land on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list when camp begins. That’s not as ominous as it may sound — players on the PUP list when camp begins can be recalled at any time.
Carson, meanwhile, is rehabbing from a hip fracture suffered Dec. 22 against Arizona. Carson, who topped the 1,000-yard mark each of the last two seasons, is not having surgery while the injury heals on its own. That means, for now, Carson isn’t doing much.
“It’s an injury that takes time,” Carroll said. “It’s serious because it’s a hip, but it’s not serious in that we know what’s gonna happen. It’s not displaced or any of that kind of stuff. We just need to wait it out, which is really hard for Chris because he’s a workout maniac and loves to be in the weight room and all that. He’s doing the best he can and he’s done everything he can possibly do and we’re just hoping he just doesn’t overdo it, so we’re trying to monitor that. But we’re counting on a full recovery. He should be ready to go.”
Carroll said they’ll be careful with Carson and Penny as they return, meaning they likely won’t do much — if anything — in preseason.
That means somebody will have to get a lot of work in camp and in preseason games. At the moment, there aren’t a lot of options — Travis Homer is the only other running back under contract who played last season.
C.J. Prosise, who also suffered a season-ending injury against Arizona, is an unrestricted free agent, as are Lynch and Robert Turbin, each signed before the final regular-season game against the 49ers.
Could Lynch really be an option? Well, he turns 34 in April, so he wouldn’t take a bunch of carries in the preseason. The most-likely scenario for another Seahawks comeback is that Lynch would be kept on “retainer” again and called upon if needed, but it still seems most logical that his playing days are over.
But then again, Lynch has made a career of defying logic.
“I don’t know that,” Schneider said when asked if Lynch’s return a year ago felt like the end of his career. “We’ll see how the offseason goes.”
Maybe Carroll and Schneider just don’t want to shut any doors after surprisingly reopening one last year for Lynch, who gained 34 yards on 12 carries in one regular-season game and 33 on 18 in the playoffs while scoring four touchdowns.
“I’m not going to rush him back to the offseason, that’s for sure,” Carroll added with a smile after saying Lynch’s playing days might not be over just yet. “It’s never been one of his strengths.”
Lynch or no Lynch, expect Seattle to make some additions to its running back corps over the next few months.
Here’s more of what we learned about the Seahawks on Tuesday:
No limit to Olsen-Wilson pairing; Will Dissly recovering well
Carroll and Schneider each were predictably enthusiastic about signing veteran tight end Greg Olsen to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million.
“We are very fortunate to have him,” Carroll said.
Each said how avidly Russell Wilson pushed for the signing but also noted he’s never been shy about offering his input.
Carroll, though, said the personal connection between Wilson and Olsen should only help Olsen’s transition on the field in the fall.
“I don’t think there is any ceiling we should put on their ability to get together,” Carroll said. “I’m really excited about that.”
As he is about the entire tight-end corps.
Olsen’s signing gives Seattle another option if Will Dissly has any setbacks in his recovery from an Achilles injury. But both Carroll and Schneider confirmed they expect Dissly to be ready when the regular season begins.
“I don’t know why he wouldn’t be,” Schneider said. “I don’t have a reason to say that he wouldn’t be, at this point. But he’s doing a great job with his rehab.”
Dissly was so excited about Olsen’s addition that he agreed to give Olsen his jersey number, 88, with Olsen giving a donation to a charity of Dissly’s choice.
Schneider also said the team hopes to re-sign veteran Luke Willson, who returned to the Seahawks early in the season and helped fill the void after Dissly’s injury, and Carroll also indicated the team has high hopes for Jacob Hollister, who is a restricted free agent.
Britt ‘looks good’ in return from knee surgery; Jamarco Jones has shoulder surgery
Carroll said center Justin Britt, who injured his ACL at Atlanta on Oct. 27, appears to be recovering well.
“He looks real good,” Carroll said. “I’ve seen him a number of times coming through the building, and all. His attitude and … I know I’m hearing of the work ethic he’s putting forth is exactly what we would hope for right now. He is doing great. He is going to come roaring back from this surgery.”
Britt is entering the final season of his contract due to pay him a base salary of $8.25 million with a cap hit of $11.4 million. That, combined with his injury, has led to some speculation about his future. But Carroll’s comments seem to indicate the team expects Britt back in 2020. Britt’s injury replacement, Joey Hunt, is now a free agent.
Carroll also revealed Jamarco Jones, who started three games last year at guard and tackle and two more in the playoffs, recently had shoulder surgery.
Jones could be viewed as an option at left guard if veteran free agent Mike Iupati does not re-sign.
Jones, drafted in 2018 out of Ohio State, is viewed mostly as a tackle and didn’t play guard until injuries forced him to last season, filling in for right guard D.J. Fluker at midseason and then at left guard for Iupati in the playoffs.
“Jamarco did a nice job for us, he really did,” Carroll said. “He surprised us a little bit that he would be so comfortable playing guard, particularly on the right side ’cause he’d been a left-side guy and left tackle for most of his playing time. … We’re counting on him to be very versatile and very much a part of the competition for all the play time.”