From 2012 to 2014, Seattle Seahawks icon Marshawn Lynch played in all 48 regular season games, something only replicated by Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, and Alfred Morris among fellow starting running backs. Given Lynch’s particular style of running, it’s a testament to his durability that he was always available at the height of Seattle’s successes.
But since then? Yeah it’s been a bit of a nightmare. Seattle has gone eight consecutive seasons with at least one of its running backs suffering a season-ending injury. Don’t believe me? Check out the results for yourself.
Seahawks running backs on season-ending IR
2015: Thomas Rawls (fractured ankle)
2016: C.J. Prosise (fractured scapula)
2017: Chris Carson (leg fracture + severe sprained ankle), C.J. Prosise (ankle injury)
2018: C.J. Prosise (abdomen, groin, and hip-flexor injuries)
2019: Chris Carson (fractured hip), C.J. Prosise (broken arm), Rashaad Penny (torn ACL)
2020: Travis Homer (knee injury)
2021: Chris Carson (neck injury)
2022: Rashaad Penny (broken fibula), Travis Homer (ankle injury)
2019 was shaping up to be by far the healthiest year for Seahawks running backs right up until Carson, Prosise, and Penny all went down in the span of a week. Carson was ready to go the distance and then crack went the hip in Week 16 versus the Cardinals. Their injuries necessitated bringing back Lynch for what stands to date as their last playoff run beyond Wild Card Weekend.
If you wanted to expand a bit and include, not a single Seahawks starting running back has played the entire regular season since 2014, and the only running backs to appear in every game in a regular season over the past eight years are DeeJay Dallas (2021), Travis Homer (2019), and Fred Jackson (2015). Those three combined for 74 total carries and 64 receptions, as is expected for a trio of third-down options.
Carson missed a month in 2020 with a foot sprain and a couple of games in 2018 with a hip issue. Penny started his career with a broken finger in preseason, which didn’t impact his regular season, but he missed two of the final three weeks of his rookie campaign with an injury. Obviously his ACL tear in 2019 had him scarcely on the field in 2020, hence the team signed Carlos Hyde, who promptly missed five games to injury and one to illness in his lone season in Seattle.
If any team’s recent history can highlight how uniquely injury prone running backs can be, it’s Seattle. Unfortunately, they haven’t had the offensive lines or schemes like the Mike Shanahan Denver Broncos teams where Terrell Davis was forced into retirement and they churned out 1,000-yard rushers from Olandis Gary to Mike Anderson to Clinton Portis to Tatum Bell without missing a beat.
Kenneth Walker III missed just two games last year but did have a few other nagging injuries he played through. Rookie Zach Charbonnet only missed a handful of games (one of which was a Sun Bowl opt-out) at Michigan and UCLA combined. Kenny McIntosh played in every game in his lone season as Georgia’s lead back in 2022. DeeJay Dallas has appeared in 44 of a possible 50 regular season outings, so of the presumptive top four backs on the roster none of them has any serious injury history of note.
Perhaps this can all be chalked up to bad luck, in which case at some point the nearly annual need for the Seahawks to play emergency backs significant carries is going to come to an end, right? RIGHT?! Let’s hope so.