Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) runs for a touchdown during a game against the Eagles on Nov. 24, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) runs for a touchdown during a game against the Eagles on Nov. 24, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Seahawks’ Penny ‘looks terrific’ as return draws closer

The young running back hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury on Dec. 8, 2019.

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — A year ago around this time the Seattle Seahawks were suddenly scrambling for running backs, losing Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise to season-ending injuries in a three-week span in December.

Now, as another season nears its end, the Seahawks will soon be faced with the “good problem” of trying to figure out how to divide the snaps and carries in a crowded backfield.

Carson and Carlos Hyde have each returned to full duty in recent weeks, and as soon as Sunday’s game at Washington could be joined by Penny.

Penny, Seattle’s first-round pick in 2018 out of San Diego State, officially returned to practice last week after recovering from a knee injury suffered last Dec. 8, opening a 21-day window in which he can practice before the team has to activate him to the 53-player roster or put him back on IR.

But the way coaches tell it, the only question about Penny is when he’ll be back on the roster, not if.

“He looks terrific,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told reporters via Zoom Thursday. “He’s looking fast, he’s looking explosive. … I think he just looks as good as you could expect him to. I think he’s getting really close to being ready to go.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson was equally as effusive about how Penny has looked when he talked after practice.

“I’m super excited for Penny just how hard he’s worked his tail off just to get back from the injury that he had and how confident he’s looking out there,” Wilson said of Penny, who had 370 yards and a team-best 5.7 yards per carry average last year before being injured, including a career-high 129 yards on 14 carries against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks before he was sidelined.

The Seahawks could play it cautious and wait another week to bring Penny back for the Dec. 27 showdown for the NFC West against the Los Angeles Rams — the team against which he was injured a year ago.

But having a game to get his feet wet some before the Rams contest might make sense, too, especially if the team thinks Penny is truly ready to play again after recovering from an ACL injury.

Once Penny comes back then the question will be how to fit him in with Carson and Hyde. But one role Penny could fill is the two-minute/third-down back position, especially with Travis Homer continuing to deal with a knee injury (Homer could go on IR to open up a roster spot for Penny).

But Schottenheimer said what you’d expect — it’s a lot better dealing with a full backfield than the depleted group Seattle had at the end of last season, when the Seahawks had to bring back Marshawn Lynch or Robert Turbin, or even earlier this year when the Seahawks had to call up Alex Collins and Bo Scarbrough from the practice squad to see significant action.

“There was one game we were trying guys out and seeing ‘okay, hey can you run the ball? Can you do this, can you do that?’ ” Schottenheimer said. “So it’s a good situation to have. And what I’ve noticed is these guys all cheer for each other. They’re competing, they want to be great. But if Chris scores, Carlos is excited. If Rashaad would rip off a big run last year Chris would be excited. So they cheer for each other, and that friendly competition is cool to see.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Glacier Peak took on Cascade in football at Everett Memorial Stadium on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Prep football preview: Storylines, teams, players, games to watch

Everything you need to know about Snohomish County high school football during this shortened season.

Granite Falls' Riley Hoople makes a reception with Sultan's Derek Feltner defending Friday night in Sultan on February 26, 2021 (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
This week’s prep football schedule, picks and streaming links

Click on the game to watch your favorite team in action Friday night and all day Saturday.

Volleyball players in Wesco took the court for competition this week for the first time in the over 15 months. (Herald file photos)
Prep volleyball season preview

Local teams, players and games to watch this season.

Everett Community College’s Trojan mascot (left) poses with Everett Silvertips mascot, Lincoln. (Provided photo)
Silvertips, EvCC announce partnership to house players

Everett’s billeting program is on hold to respect health and safety protocols forced by the pandemic.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert (24), looks to drive against Pacific forward Jeremiah Bailey (13), during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stockton, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. Gonzaga won 76-58. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Edmonds native Kispert named WCC player of the year

Former local hoops stars Paisley Johnson Harding and Jordyn Edwards also received All-WCC honors.

Everett High School graduate Jayden White (right), a University of Washington freshman, poses next to throws coach Andrew Ninow after breaking the Huskies' school record in the weight throw last Friday. (Photo by Jamie Mitchell)
Community sports roundup: Everett H.S. grad breaks UW record

Jayden White broke UW’s weight throw record, highlighting a success-filled week for local athletes.

High School football teams across Snohomish County are closing in on their first game in over a year. (Herald file photos)
Prep football: Key games and the area’s complete schedule

The first H.S. football game in the county in over a year is set to take place this coming Friday.

A Marysville Pilchuck football player sports a spear on his helmet as the Tomahawks took on Snohomish in the Wesco 3A Championship Friday evening at Quil Ceda Stadium on November 1, 2019. School district leaders may soon need to consider dropping Marysville Pilchuck High School’s mascot, the Tomahawks. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Should Marysville Pilchuck High drop the name ‘Tomahawks’?

A state bill would ban Native American mascots and symbols from schools — unless there is tribal permission.

Dawn Trudeau (Seattle Storm)
13 years ago this month, they bought the Seattle Storm

Dawn Trudeau and her partners didn’t foresee the challenges — or the championships — that were in store.

FILE - Washington's Asa Turner (20) celebrates with Kamren Fabiculanan (31) after Turner intercepted a pass in the final minute of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Seattle, in this Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, file photo. Washington won 27-21. Washington has pulled out of the Pac-12 football championship game due to COVID-19 issues in the Huskies program, and Oregon will now play No. 13 USC for the conference title on Friday instead.  Washington (3-1) announced Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, it is withdrawing from the championship game after determining the Huskies did not have at least 53 scholarship players available and did not meet the minimum number of scholarship athletes at specific positions.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Washington’s 2021 football schedule released

Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake is hopeful that fans will be allowed as soon as the spring game May 1.

Washington State running back Deon McIntosh (3) celebrates after scoring against Utah during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Washington State’s 2021 football schedule released

The Cougars open the season with three straight home games and six of their first eight in Pullman.

Seattle Mariners' Dylan Moore, right, is congratulated by teammate Kyle Lewis after hitting a solo home run off of Texas Rangers starting pitcher Kolby Allard during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Servais on Dylan Moore: ‘He’s a ball player’

Mariners’ super-utility player looks to build on a breakout season.