Chris Carson retires from the Seahawks and I’m conflicted
Chris Carson has retired from the Seahawks according to multiple reports. He absolutely needs to do what’s best for him, but man, will I miss him on the field. It was an absolute joy to watch him.
This isn’t exactly breaking news, 12s, as dozens of media outlets carried the story that Seahawks running back Chris Carson has retired. As of this writing, neither Carson nor the team has confirmed the story, but this is not going to be one of those Tom Brady “did he really retire?” stories. While some outlets have described this as sudden – and that’s true, as far as it goes – 12s have long dreaded this announcement.
Now let me clarify something right now. Yes, I’m conflicted, because Chris Carson was such a key part of the Seahawks success. When he was healthy, he consistently ranked among the best backs in the league. For an excellent rundown on what the former seventh-round pick brought to the field, look at Geoff Shull’s article on the many ways that Carson dominated the competition. For those of you in the tl;dr camp – well first, go read Geoff’s piece anyway. Just know that Carson led the NFL tied for second with most 100-yard games and most first downs, was fifth in yards rushing, and my favorite stat – uh uh uh, go read the article yourself.
Chris Carson brought the Seahawks Beastmode 2.0
Those eye-popping stats all happened from 2018 through 2019. We all know that the kid the Hawks drafted with the 249th overall pick beat a brigade of Seattle running backs to earn the starting nod in 2017. You may laugh now, but a lot was expected from Eddie Lacy when he joined the Seahawks. Thomas Rawls returned from injury and looked poised to return to his own great rookie campaign form. J.D. McKissic and perennial potential star C.J. Prosise were all ahead of Carson when he reported to camp. Yet he was the guy who took the ball and ran with it – and ran and ran, at least until he broke his ankle in week four versus the Colts.
To say Chris Carson bounced back in his sophomore is a gross understatement. As detailed above, he was a freight train for the Hawks – assuming a freight train could do a somersault to avoid a wreck and keep on steaming down the track. Carson didn’t shy away from contact, either. That tendency, the knowledge that he could run right through would-be tacklers may have finally been his Achilles heel. Not literally, but that would have been better than the injury that eventually did take him off the tracks.
A severe ankle sprain benched him for four games in 2020, but he was as good, if not better than ever. His carries per game dropped from 17.6 and 18.5 to just 11.8 that year. The Seahawks brought in Carlos Hyde to spell Carson, and I’d have to say it worked. Number 32 notched the highest rushing yardage of his career with 4.7 yards per carry. He was more effective than ever out of the backfield, too, hauling in 37 passes for four touchdowns. The only possible detriment to his game in the past had been fumbles. He cleaned that up in 2020 as he lost the ball just once.
Then 2021 hit, and it hit like a Mack truck. A Mack truck barreling down I-90 at 80 miles an hour. Carson injured his neck in week four versus the Cardinals and never made it back on the field. Despite the hope that rest and therapy would allow him to get back in the lineup, he eventually opted for neck surgery in November, and his season was officially over.
It was likely that his career was over, too. Pete Carroll may be the most positive person in the world; Norman Vincent Peale probably called him if he was ever feeling any doubts about life. Yet Carroll never gave a sunny projection of Carson’s status. At best, the Hawks head coach said, “we’ll see.”
And here we are, at the end of the line for one of my favorite Seahawks. By the end of the line, I’m speaking only of his career as a football player, of course. While I’ll miss Chris Carson shedding tacklers like dandelion seeds in a hurricane, I’m much happier knowing that he’ll stay as healthy as can be as a former NFL player. His last contract guaranteed him $5.5 million. Granted, that’s not exactly Ezekiel Elliot money, Chris Carson can live a very comfortable life. A life that is well-deserved. Chris Carson, you can be sure that every member of the 12s wished you all the best.