Seahawks running back Travis Homer (25) is brought down by the 49ers’ Marcell Harris on a carry during the first half of a game this past Sunday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Seahawks running back Travis Homer (25) is brought down by the 49ers’ Marcell Harris on a carry during the first half of a game this past Sunday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Homer’s odyssey leads him to starting role for Seahawks

Persistence and top-notch special-teams play pay off the rookie 6th-round pick.

By Tim Booth / Associated Press

RENTON — For all the hype and attention that came with Marshawn Lynch’s return to the Seattle Seahawks, he wasn’t the running back that left the strongest impression.

Don’t believe it? Listen to Lynch himself.

“You’re inspiring me,” Lynch was caught saying to Seattle rookie running back Travis Homer on the sideline of last Sunday’s regular-season finale against San Francisco.

If there was a bright spot to come out of Seattle’s loss to San Francisco in Week 17, it was the discovery of yet another late-round draft pick showing potential as a ball-carrier in Seattle’s backfield. Thrust into the starting role after injuries to Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise robbed Seattle of its depth over the final month of the season, Homer showed unabashed confidence, a willingness to deliver a hit and bursts of speed that had been buried on the depth chart all season.

Seattle will need another performance like that from Homer on Sunday in the opening round of the playoffs against Philadelphia.

“The consistency that he hits it when he’s got the ball in his hands, he’s got a really good style, attitude about running the ball. He’s just downhill and gives you everything he’s got,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “That suddenness really is an asset. We really love the way he plays, love the style of his play.”

It just took a while for anyone to see what Homer could bring on the field.

He was a sixth-round pick of the Seahawks in the April draft and while he showed a few flashes during the preseason it was clear early on that Homer would be deep on the depth chart. But he instantly became important on special teams and that kept him on the active gameday roster for all 16 games. While he wasn’t getting carries, he was at least getting on the field.

The first carry of his career didn’t come until Week 13 against Minnesota when he took a fake punt for 29 yards. He got a couple of carries in cleanup duty against Carolina two weeks later after Penny was lost for the season to a knee injury. A week later, Homer was suddenly Seattle’s only healthy running back after Carson (hip) and Prosise (arm) suffered season-ending injuries in the first half of Seattle’s loss to Arizona.

Carroll said he had to remind Homer that day to be a little smarter about when to take hits and when to avoid them since he was Seattle’s only healthy running back remaining.

“I didn’t really like it but I had to do what I had to do,” Homer said.

There was no need for Homer to hold back against the 49ers after the arrival of Lynch to add depth. Homer finished with 62 yards rushing on 10 carries and added another five receptions for 30 yards. He was exceptionally good on Seattle’s final two possessions of the fourth quarter doing a little of everything required of a running back in Seattle’s offense. He ran when given a chance. He caught a few passes out of the backfield as a secondary option and most importantly was solid in pass protection helping keep Russell Wilson clean.

“He’s been really true to who he is, but it wasn’t a surprise. It was good to see him be effective,” Carroll said.

The entire week was a bit surreal for Homer leading into his first career start. He knew he was going to be a big part of the game plan, but at the same time was also trying to help out Lynch in his return after 14 months away from football and four years away from Seattle.

And as for what Lynch said to him on the sideline?

“It was definitely a cool moment for me to have one of the greatest come up to me and say what he said,” Homer said.

Notes

Seattle safety Quandre Diggs practiced and is expected to play Sunday after missing the past two games with a high-ankle sprain. Diggs said the injury happened in Week 15 against Carolina when his foot got caught underneath him making a tackle. … Carroll said Lynch came out of Sunday’s game fine in his first action since October 2018.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 27. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
Tyler Lockett is Seattle’s most important wide receiver

He’s overshadowed by the flamboyant DK Metcalf, but Lockett makes the big plays.

Seattle Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett, second from right, celebrates with teammates DK Metcalf, center, and Jordan Simmons, right, after Lockett scored a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of Seattle’s 38-31 victory Sunday at CenturyLink Field. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Grading the Seahawks’ 38-31 victory over the Cowboys

The offense shines again, while questions still linger about the defense.

From left to right, Seattle Mariners Kyle Lewis, Kyle Seager and Dee Gordon stand together at a “summer camp” baseball practice in July, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
POLL: How do you grade the Mariners’ 2020 season?

Seattle missed the postseason yet again while giving young players valuable experience.

QBs, offenses take spotlight as Cowboys visit Seahawks

Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Dallas’ Dak Prescott have both been on top of their games this season.

Meet the 9 new members of the Snohomish County Sports HOF

The class includes legendary teams, athletes, coaches and voices from the area.

Mariners sweep Athletics in late-season doubleheader

Kyle Seager homers in both games as Seattle wins 5-1 and 12-3; the Mariners’ season ends Sunday.

Community sports roundup: Local wins senior state golf tournament

Mill Creek’s John McDonald claims the title at the Washington Super Senior Men’s Amateur tournament.

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton dives with the ball, but is stopped near the goal line as the clock expires in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won 35-30. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
POLL RESULTS: Every victory over the Patriots is savored

All three Seahawks regular season wins over New England received good support from voters.

Pac-12 reverses course, votes to play football this fall

The league announces that a seven-game conference-only schedule will begin on Nov. 6.

Stewart, Bird help Storm sweep Lynx, advance to WNBA Finals

Will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between Las Vegas and Connecticut in the finals.

Schottenheimer enjoying view of Seahawks offense from up top

The Seattle O-coordinator has called games from the booth this season as opposed to the sideline.

Mariners lose to A’s on walk-off home run in 10th

Seattle takes the lead in the top of the 10th, but a Mark Canha homer lifts Oakland to a 3-1 win.