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.


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.

More in Sports

In 1989, a local prep wrestler accomplished the unthinkable

Cascade’s Chris Borsheim won only one tournament in his wrestling career — a state title at Mat Classic I.

Glacier Peak girls clinch 9th state berth in 10 seasons

The Grizzlies pull away late to beat Inglemoor 63-45 in a Wes-King Bi-District Tournament semifinal.

Lakewood boys hoops earns 1st-ever state regional berth

The Cougars were clutch from the free-throw line in a 58-47 win over Burlington-Edison.

Arlington girls clinch state berth with win over Ferndale

A balanced team effort keyed the Eagles to a 55-46 victory.

Lynden pulls away to top Mountlake Terrace boys basketball

The Lions’ big third quarter was the difference in a 58-49 win over the Hawks.

GP boys stay perfect, clinch 4th consecutive state berth

The unbeaten Grizzlies hit 10 3s and beat Skyline 59-39 in a Wes-King Bi-District Tournament semifinal.

Shorecrest girls tops Snohomish, earn spot at state

The Scots avenge their only loss of the season with a 48-36 win in a 3A district semifinal.

Prep postseason results for Tuesday Feb. 18


Silvertips notebook: Everett set to enter grueling stretch

The Silvertips have eight games in 11 days starting with Wednseday’s contest against Moose Jaw.

Most Read