Thomas Rawls believes he’s finally healthy enough to rediscover the form that made him a breakout star as a rookie two seasons ago for the Seattle Seahawks before injuries derailed his success.
It’s a good thing Rawls is feeling that well, considering he will be in a full competition for the starting running back spot when training camp begins next month.
“I’ve always been in competition with myself,” Rawls said Friday as the Seahawks wrapped up OTAs. “I just believe that this program, this whole organization has a mindset of competition. We believe that as long as people compete they will earn whatever they deserve. In the end, it’ll work itself out.”
Rawls and free agent signing Eddie Lacy are expected to compete for the bulk of the carries as Seattle intends to be a run-first team again. That will lead to opportunities for Lacy and Rawls to get their share of carries, but both want the chance to be the primary ball carrier.
Aside from the competition with Rawls, Lacy has a competition with himself because of incentives in his contract tied to his weight.
“As a competitor you want to be challenged,” Lacy said last week. “It’s a positive challenge. At the end of the day it helps me personally, too. So why not?”
Full health has eluded Rawls since he came on the scene during the 2015 season, when he served as more than just an injury fill-in for Marshawn Lynch. Rawls rushed for 830 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 13 games before suffering a serious broken ankle late in the year.
Coming back from the injury proved to be more difficult than expected and was compounded by Rawls fracturing his leg in Week 2 last season. He played in just nine games and rushed for 349 yards in a season that was supposed to see him succeed Lynch.
“I just remember coming off those injuries and everything, it was kind of tough,” Rawls said. “You also learn from being a professional and in a way, it kind of humbles you in a lot of different ways. I’ve been having a great offseason.”
The Seahawks minicamp next week will be one more opportunity to set a priority order for the glut of running backs. Aside from Lacy and Rawls, the Seahawks also have second-year running backs C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins, new draft pick Chris Carson and free agent signing Mike Davis on the roster.
“I haven’t played a full season but I know who I am and what I’m capable of,” Rawls said.