RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks on Saturday placed running back C.J. Prosise on injured reserve, ending the season for the oft-injured former Notre Dame star who was a third-round pick in 2016, taken 90th overall.
To fill his spot on the 53-man roster, the Seahawks promoted linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee from the practice squad. Ellerbee adds depth to a linebacker corps that will again be missing veteran K.J. Wright, who continues to battle a sore knee, on Sunday against the 49ers. Ellerbee also figures to contribute on special teams. Two key special teams players — fullback Tre Madden and safety Shalom Luani — were each listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game with injuries suffered within the last week, creating the need for some depth there.
Prosise was already declared out for Sunday’s game with what was officially listed as an abdomen issue, though coach Pete Carroll indicated it was a little more involved.
“He’s got an abdomen, groin, hip flexor-thing going on,” Carroll said Friday.
Carroll said the injury had been “bothering” Prosise “for some time” though he had not been listed on game status reports in recent weeks.
“He’s been working through it and it’s gone beyond that,” Carroll said Friday.
Prosise had played in just five games this season. But of the six games he sat out, only once was it reported that it was specifically due to injury, when he sat out in week three against Dallas with a groin injury. The others were considered as healthy scratches as Prosise lagged on the depth chart at tailback behind Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis.
Whatever the specifics, going on IR continues the injury-related frustration that has dominated Prosise’s Seattle career.
He has now played in just 16 regular-season games as a Seahawk (of what will be 48 by the end of this season).
He briefly looked like a budding star when he rushed for 66 yards while catching seven passes for 87 more yards in a win at New England during his rookie season in 2016, and then the next week ran for a 72-yard touchdown against the Eagles, the eighth-longest run in franchise history.
But Prosise suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of that game against the Eagles on Nov. 20, 2016 and has barely played since.
He sat out the rest of the 2016 season with the shoulder injury and then was limited to just 11 carries for 23 yards last season while playing in just five game. He missed the other 11 due to an ankle injury that also landed him on injured reserve for the final seven games (though he did make one big play along the way that again showed the talent that has compelled the team to exercise patience with him throughout, a 46-yard reception at Tennessee).
Prosise said in the offseason that a new training regiment had better prepared his body for the rigors of an NFL season and he was largely healthy through the team’s offseason program. But he suffered a hip injury in the preseason that derailed his quest to win regular playing time and he spent most of this year as the team’s fourth tailback on gamedays.
Prosise played just 30 snaps on offense this season (and another 34 on special teams) getting just one carry, a loss of three yards on Nov. 11 against the Rams. He also had three receptions for 22 yards in a week two loss against the Bears for his only receptions of the season.
That Prosise has done little the last two seasons and now is on IR for the second straight year will lead to lots of speculation about his future. But going on IR seems to indicate the team will bring him back next year for what is the final season of his four-year rookie contract (when he would make $745,000) and let him compete and see what happens.
Seattle had added depth at tailback this week with J.D. McKissic coming off IR. His return had for the moment given Seattle five tailbacks on its 53-man roster, a little bit of a logjam since the Seahawks typically have only three active on gameday (Seattle has gone with three tailbacks for nine of 11 games so far this season but figures to go with four against the 49ers with Madden also likely out with a chest injury).
Ellerbee, claimed off waivers earlier this season from Cleveland, has played in four games for Seattle on special teams (getting 13 snaps overall) but has yet to appear in a game on defense. He was waived on Nov. 6 but re-signed to the practice squad two days later.