Seattle Seahawks: 15 best running backs in franchise history
Number 4: Chris Warren, the forgotten Seahawks star
He held the Seahawks rushing title for eight years, and yet Chris Warren rarely comes up when people discuss the Hawks’ best running backs. When you look at his stats, or see clips of his plays, that seems unbelievable. When he left Seattle, Warren was both the all-time leading career rusher with 6,706 yards, but also had the single-season record of 1,545 yards. Yet he seems to be an afterthought today.
I believe there are a lot of reasons for this. Seattle took him in the fourth round of the 1990 NFL draft. He initially enrolled at the University of Virginia but transferred to Division III Ferrum College after his sophomore season. Not too many Division III players even get signed after the draft, let alone taken that early. Still, it’s hardly the resume that’s going to pump up expectations from your team or the fanbase. So he arrived with little acclaim.
Now add that the Seahawks were in full Ground Chuck mode in 1990. Chuck Knox was in his sixth season with Seattle and his offenses featured a punishing running game, led by the number two man on my list. Oops, should have mentioned the spoiler alert – sorry, 12s. But you get the point; when Chris Warren was drafted, the Hawks were all about the running game. But he was a fourth-round pick from a Division III school, and Seattle already had John L. Williams and Derrick Fenner in place. It wasn’t until his third season in the league that Warren got his chance to shine – he only had 17 carries combined in his first two years.
Sadly, 1992 was not conducive to universal acclaim. That was Tom Flores’ only season as the Hawks head coach; to say the 2-14 result was less than appreciated by the 12s, well, it wasn’t. But it was Warren’s first of four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He capped that run with his outstanding 1995 performance when he not only set what was then the Hawks single-season yardage mark but set the scoring mark as well with 15 touchdowns. Nagging injuries – sounds familiar by now – took their toll.
While he was still Seattle’s lead back for the next two seasons, in 1998 he was with the Cowboys, effectively playing out the string and ending his career with a single game for the Eagles. Even during his three straight Pro Bowl seasons, he had little support. Stan Gelbaugh and Rick Mirer are not going to lead you to the promised land. Perhaps that’s why Chris Warren has become something of a forgotten man.