The Seahawks made official on Tuesday what was already known the day before: Thomas Rawls’ remarkable rookie season is over because he went on injured reserve with a broken ankle and torn ligaments, and the team has re-signed recently cut Bryce Brown to fill his place on the roster and, for now, in the backfield.
The Seahawks waived running back DuJuan Harris after he fumbled on the Ravens 5-yard line soon after Rawls got hurt Sunday at Baltimore. Seattle also waived wide receiver B.J. Daniels and defensive back Akeem Davis.
The team filled those spots by re-signing recently released tight end Chase Coffman and activating linebacker Brock Coyle off the injured-reserve/designated-to-return list.
Asked if there were more than three regular-season games remaining whether Seattle wouldn’t have put Rawls on IR because he may have been able to return this season, coach Pete Carroll said Monday: “It doesn’t sound like it. I don’t think he’s going to. We wouldn’t. It was a significant injury. The ligament damage was the concern that would take a long time.”
Rawls finished with a team-leading 830 yards rushing, currently second-most among NFL rookie running back’s behind the 975 by St. Louis’ Todd Gurley. He led the team with four rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per run. He had 47 yards on his first five carries Sunday at Baltimore before his left ankle broke under a pile of Ravens at the end of a run near the goal line on Seattle’s opening offensive drive.
Brown is back after Seattle signed the former Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills runner on Oct. 27 and released him Nov. 21 after he was inactive for two games. He is Plan E as lead runner for the Seahawks this season, after injuries to Marshawn Lynch and Rawls, 34-year-old Fred Jackson looking slow and DuJuan Harris fumbling and struggling against the Ravens after Rawls got hurt Sunday.
The 24-year-old Brown has 1,004 career yards rushing after two full seasons with the Eagles in 2012 and ‘13 behind LeSean McCoy and seven games last year with current Seahawks runner Fred Jackson in Buffalo. The Bills released the 6-foot, 220-pound Brown last month, after they traded a fourth-round draft choice to the Eagles last year to get the former seventh-round draft choice. He had only 126 yards rushing in seven games, two starts for Buffalo.
"It’s a good opportunity for us to bring a guy back that we’ve been training," Carroll said. "We liked the work that he did. Roster issues made it come and go a little bit here, but we’re happy to get him back."
Brown stands to get the majority of carries Sunday for the Seahawks (8-5) against Cleveland (3-10) and until Lynch returns from abdominal surgery -- whenever that may be. Lynch is rehabilitating “off site,” Carroll said Monday. He’s been away from team headquarters for all but a day or two since surgery in Philadelphia on Nov. 25. Carroll says the team still does not know when the NFL’s rushing leader from 2011 until this injury-filled season will be back on the field.
Harris played in 15 regular-season games last season for Green Bay. Seattle signed the 27-year old to its practice squad on Nov. 24 and promoted him to the active roster Dec. 5 for the game the next day at Minnesota. He had 42 yards on 14 carries Sunday at Baltimore and lost a fumble at the Ravens 5-yard line while making a cut.
"I have to be better," Harris said repeatedly following the game.
Now he’s gone.
Carroll said Jackson will remain the team’s third-down back for pass catching and pass blocking. Jackson had seven carries for 15 yards in Baltimore, plus another 8 yards on a reception with a pass dropped in four targets. Lynch’s good friend has 24 catches with two touchdowns receiving this season but has looked every bit his 34 years while rushing 24 times for 89 yards.
The Seahawks also made three moves off their practice squad, releasing wide receiver Antwan Goodley, defensive tackle Justin Hamilton and linebacker Alex Singleton from it.