A neck problem has led to the Seattle running back’s bye from the NFL after five seasons in the league.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson plans to retire after five NFL seasons with a neck injury, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The team released Carson with a failed physical designation Tuesday.RELATED
“From the first time I saw Chris on video, I loved his style, and I was thrilled when we were able to get him where we got him,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in a statement Tuesday. “Watching him grow up and become a part of such an impact for our show with great flair and all, it was exciting to watch. We will miss him and everything he brought to our show.”
Added Seahawks general manager John Schneider, “He’s been an incredible professional, a guy who brings amazing energy. His style of running is what I’ve always wanted here in Seattle. He’s the kind of running back that feeds the whole team. rest of the team. The type of player that gets defensive teammates off the bench to see him run, they can feel his energy. He’s the type of running back whose style affects the entire team, not just the offense.
A neck problem has forced Seattle to cut ties with Chris Carson, its starting running back for the past five seasons. Getty Images
“It’s a huge disappointment. We took him as long as we could with him, he saw a number of specialists but unfortunately he was not able to pass our physical.”
Carson’s retirement is a blow to Seattle’s backfield, but it’s not an unexpected twist, given the uncertainty of his future in football. Multiple Seahawks sources have expressed doubts in recent months that he would be cleared to play after undergoing what Carroll described as fusion surgery in December.
The team has been preparing to proceed without him. re-signing Rashaad Penny in March before selecting Kenneth Walker III in the second round of the April draft.
NFL Network first reported Carson’s retirement plans.
Carson appeared in the first four games of last season, and was unable to return because of the neck injury. Carroll said last month that Carson still did not have full range of motion, and had not been cleared. He said Carson was “concerned” about his future as a player.
The 27-year-old Carson rose from status as a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2017 to become one of the most physical running backs in the league when he was healthy. He began his five NFL seasons as a starter for Seattle, beating free agent Eddie Lacy as a rookie and then Penny, Seattle’s first-round pick the following year. He crossed the 1,100-yard line in 2018 (14 games) and 2019 (15 games), the two healthiest seasons of his otherwise injury-plagued career. In doing so, he became the first Seahawks running back since Marshawn Lynch in 2013-14 to post back-to-back seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards.
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In his career, Carson has rushed for 3,502 yards and 24 touchdowns on 769 carries (4.6 yards per carry) in 49 games. Spotrac.com lists his total salary on the gross playing field at $9.5 million, to this point.
Penny, who led the NFL in rushing through the final five weeks of last season, is the favorite to become Seattle’s primary running back after returning for a one-year, $5.75 million deal. He has missed 30 of a possible 69 career games, including playoffs, due to injury. That, combined with Carson’s uncertain future, was why the Seahawks beefed up their backfield by drafting Walker No. 41 overall.
In addition to Carson, the Seahawks also released linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven with a failed physical designation Tuesday. Four players were placed on the physically unable to participate list to start training camp: cornerback Tre Brown, inside linebacker Jon Rhattigan, outside linebacker Tyreke Smith and offensive tackle Liam Ryan.
The Seahawks signed their three draft picks who hadn’t completed their contracts: Walker, outside linebacker Boye Mafe and cornerback Coby Bryant. His litter of nine-player draft picks is now under contract.
Information from Jeremy Fowler was used in the writing of this note.