The Seahawks are moving on to Plan E at lead running back just in time for their final push toward the playoffs.
Seattle made official on Tuesday what had become known the day before: Thomas Rawls went on injured reserve, his remarkable rookie season over because of a broken ankle and torn ligaments, and the team re-signed recently cut Bryce Brown to fill his place on the roster and, for now, in the backfield.
Also Tuesday, the Seahawks waived running back DuJuan Harris after he fumbled on the Ravens 5-yard line soon after Rawls got hurt Sunday at Baltimore. Seattle also waived wide receiver B.J. Daniels and defensive back Akeem Davis.
The Seahawks filled those spots on the active roster by re-signing recently released tight end Chase Coffman and activating linebacker Brock Coyle off the injured-reserve/designated-to-return list.
Brown follows injured Marshawn Lynch, Rawls, 34-year-old Fred Jackson and Harris (who struggled in two games for the Seahawks this season) as lead rushers this season.
Asked if Seattle would have been able to keep Rawls on the roster for an eventual return if there had been more than three regular-season games remaining, coach Pete Carroll said Monday: “It doesn’t sound like it. … We wouldn’t. It was a significant injury. The ligament damage was the concern that would take a long time.”
Rawls finished with a team-leading 830 yards rushing, currently second-most among NFL rookie running backs behind the 975 by St. Louis’ Todd Gurley. He led the team with four rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per run. He had 47 yards on his first five carries Sunday at Baltimore before his left ankle broke under a pile of Ravens at the end of a run near the goal line on Seattle’s opening offensive drive.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to bring a guy back that we’ve been training,” Carroll said of Brown. “We liked the work that he did. Roster issues made it come and go a little bit here, but we’re happy to get him back.”
Brown stands to get the majority of carries Sunday for the Seahawks (8-5) against Cleveland (3-10) and until Lynch returns from abdominal surgery — whenever that may be. Lynch is rehabilitating “off-site,” Carroll said Monday. He’s been away from team headquarters for all but a day or two since surgery in Philadelphia on Nov. 25. Carroll says the team still does not know when the bruising tailback will be back on the field.
Harris played in 15 regular-season games last season for Green Bay. Seattle signed the 27-year-old to its practice squad on Nov. 24 and promoted him to the active roster Dec. 5 for the game the next day at Minnesota, in which he had three carries for seven yards. He had 42 yards on 14 carries Sunday at Baltimore and lost that fumble at the Ravens 5-yard line while making a cut.
Now he’s gone.
Carroll said Jackson will remain the team’s third-down back for pass catching and pass blocking. Jackson had seven carries for 15 yards in Baltimore, plus another eight yards on a reception with a pass dropped in four targets. Lynch’s good friend has 24 catches with two touchdowns receiving this season but has looked every bit his 34 years while rushing 24 times for 89 yards.
The Seahawks also made three moves off their practice squad, releasing wide receiver Antwan Goodley, defensive tackle Justin Hamilton and linebacker Alex Singleton.