RENTON Eddie Lacy was preparing to do what he’d done 57 previous times in his NFL career and 38 times in three college seasons at Alabama when healthy for a game.
Get in uniform and play in it.
Then his running back coach Chad Morton came up to Seattle’s splashiest offseason acquisition Sunday morning as the Seahawks were boarding their bus to take them from their Seattle-area hotel to CenturyLink Field for the home opener against San Francisco. Morton told Lacy, who gained 3 yards on 5 carries with no blocking the week before in the Seahawks’ opener at Green Bay, that he was inactive for the game.
It was the first time the former NFL offensive rookie of the year was a healthy scratch in his major-football career.
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“There’s no way to take it; there’s no positive way to take it. But I was the most positive I could be,” Lacy said before Wednesday’s practice for this Sunday’s game at Tennessee. “ It was, like, my first time that’s happened to me, or whatever. I really didn’t know what to think of it.
“I just do what I can do.”
What he could have done against San Francisco was be another, 250-pound option for a running game that was again stalled with Thomas Rawls returning from a high-ankle sprain then gaining 4 yards on his first five carries. Rookie Chris Carson seized the opportunity behind the stalled Rawls. With Lacy standing in neon-green team gear on the sideline, Carson had 93 yards on 20 carries. That included 41 yards and three first downs on five rushes during Seattle’s last drive that consumed the final 4:47 to clinch the 12-9 win over the 49ers.
Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll said he wished Lacy would have played.
"I wish we would have had him up,” said the man who was the final authority on putting him down last weekend. “We could have used him.”
Carroll said following the 49ers game and again Wednesday it was a one-week thing dependent solely on the match-up and guys at other positions who were in the game plan against the 49ers.
Asked about that, Lacy said: “I have no idea.”
He said he was told “it’s a numbers thing--whatever that means.”
Then he laughed. Nervously.
Lacy signed a one-year, prove-it contract with at least $2,865,000 guaranteed in March. He could earn another $2.3 million in bonuses tied to performance, including yards gained. Being inactive for the first time in his career for something other than injury ate into the maximum of $1 million Lacy could have earned in game-day active roster bonuses per week this season. Having 3 yards rushing through two games eats into the other bonuses, big time.
“I just have to continue to be me,” he said, “go out there and practice the same way I’ve been practicing and see what happens week by week.”
Wednesday morning, ESPN.com published a revealing article in which Lacy talks openly about his feelings toward the national jokes and internet fun people have had for years with his weight.
"I could pull up my Twitter right now and there would be a fat comment in there somewhere," Lacy told ESPN.com writer Kevin Van Valkenburg. "Like I could tweet, 'Today is a beautiful day!' and someone would be like, 'Oh yeah? You fat.'
“I sit there and wonder: 'What do you get out of that?'...
"You just can't shake it," Lacy said in the article. "And no matter what, you can't say nothing back to them. You just have to read it, get mad or however it makes you feel, and move on. I could be 225 and they'd still be like, 'You're still a fat piece of s***.'"
I asked Lacy on Wednesday afternoon, hours after the article posted online, what he thought of how it came out.
“I actually haven’t read it yet,” he said. “I haven’t had time. I’ll probably read it later on.”
His weight was part of his fade in Green Bay from an 1,100-yard rusher in 2013 and again in ‘14 to being let go by the Packers this past winter after ankle surgery and his rookie contract ended. Lacy’s weight got past 260 pounds in Green Bay. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said during the last couple years Lacy was too heavy to be an effective rusher in his offense. He reported for the 2016 season in shape, was averaging more than 5 yards per carry into October, then got a season-ending ankle injury. He had surgery in which doctors inserted a metal plate, screws and wires that are still there. Unable to run to stay in shape as he recovered from surgery late last year, he gained weight again.
When he signed with Seattle this spring, his weight stayed a topic. The clauses in his contract in which he could earn $55,000 per month for making team-assigned weights made news. Those bonuses stayed in the news when Lacy’s representatives confirmed he made the first couple of them. Lacy also promoted the P90X home conditioning program he was using to get in shape for the Seahawks’ 2017 season, including a “Beach Body Challenge” in June.
I asked him Wednesday what he was seeking to do in the ESPN article discussing as he did all the jokes about his weight.
“Just wanted to pretty much end all conversations about it,” Lacy said. “From my perspective, it is what it is.
“And there should be no reason to ever talk about it again.”
But what about his own agency being so open about him making his weight and collecting his monthly bonuses this summer? Was he surprised at that?
“No, not really,” he said. “They thought that it would be a good thing to do.”
After our chat ended and we thanked each other, Lacy pulled his shoulder pads topped by his white, number-27 jersey over his head. He grabbed his Seahawks helmet, turned left and went out to the practice field, in full uniform, preparing to play Sunday against the Titans. Just as he did in the opener at his former Packers. And in the first five games of last season in Green Bay before the ankle injuries. And every other week he hasn’t been hurt since he left his home state of Louisiana and signed with Alabama nearly a decade ago.
Oh, one more thing: Does Lacy expect to play--or at least be active and in uniform--on Sunday at Tennessee?
“I have no idea,” he said.