Entering his fourth NFL season, plenty of fans have been quick to write off Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise.
When healthy, Prosise has tantalized Seattle with dual-threat brilliance out of the backfield. As a rookie, he wreaked havoc as a receiver with seven receptions for 87 yards in a win over New England and later in the year, he exploded past Philadelphia’s defense for a 72-yard touchdown run.
The problem? Both of the aforementioned plays happened more than two years ago, as chronic durability woes have prevented him from showcasing his dynamic skill set in any capacity ever since.
Prosise, who broke into the league as a third-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2016, simply hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Sidelined for 32 out of a possible 48 regular season games, he’s been on the shelf for the equivalent of two full NFL seasons and he’s ended all three years of his career abruptly on injured reserve.
First, Prosise’s rookie season came to a screeching halt after just six games due to a broken scapula suffered against the Eagles shortly after his long touchdown run. Then in 2017, he was lost for the season again with an ankle injury after rushing for just 23 yards in five games.
His bad luck mercilessly continued into last season, as Prosise played a mere 18 offensive snaps in six games before abdomen and hip flexor injuries led to his latest trip to the injured reserve list. His final stat line? One carry for negative three yards and three catches for 22 yards.
Given the litany of ailments Prosise has endured in his brief stint with the Seahawks, it would have been easy for the organization to move on, especially with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny returning. Being a mid-round pick, releasing him would’ve only been a minor blemish against the team’s salary cap.
But as the calendar moves closer to July and the return of training camp, Seattle has taken the opposite approach, keeping Prosise around with hopes he can overcome his lengthy injury history and still become a contributor in a reserve role.
With his full arsenal of football skills and athletic tools back on display, coach Pete Carroll has been thrilled with how Prosise has performed up to this point in Seattle’s offseason program.
“C.J.’s been really on it. It’s been great to see him healthy.” Carroll told reporters on Tuesday. “You know, he’s been fit throughout, he’s really strong, worked out really hard in the offseason to get his strength right. His weight is up, but he’s fit and has really been able to do a little bit of everything.”
Carroll didn’t disclose Prosise’s current weight, but after adding a bit more muscle to his 6-foot-1 frame, he’s eager to see how he’ll compete as this summer plays out.
“To add him in to the competition is really nice, so we’re fired up about C.J. being back.”
There’s no denying Prosise has immense talent. When provided the opportunity and healthy enough to take advantage, he’s shown an innate ability to be a game changer any time the football is in his hands, whether as a runner or a receiver.
Now that Mike Davis has relocated to Chicago, the Seahawks once again have a need for a change of pace third down back alongside Carson and Penny. With J.D. McKissic coming back and Travis Homer joining the team as a sixth-round pick out of Miami, there’ll be plenty of competition for that role.
But if Prosise can stay out of the trainer’s room long enough, which of course remains a big if, he’s still just 25 years old. Despite everything he’s been through, Carroll still believes in him and his presence could make the race to replace Davis far more interesting this summer.