It’s been just over 12 months since Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny last took the field.
The 24-year-old suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season and has been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp. After returning to practice two weeks ago, the Seahawks activated Penny ahead of Sunday’s game.
"He looks terrific," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said on Thursday when asked about Penny. "He's looking fast, he's looking explosive, moving really well, running routes really well. I think he looks as good as you could expect him to. I hadn't seen him for a while. He's been working when he came out, started last week, doing different things.”
The third-year running took the field Sunday against the Washington Football Team for his first carries of the 2020 season. Penny's first carry went for no gain on the toss and his second carry, moments later, was for a gain for 6 yards.
Penny, a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of San Diego State, has tallied 419 yards on 85 carries and two touchdowns as Chris Carson’s backup.
In the two games prior to Penny’s season-ending ACL injury, he exploded for 129 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries in Week 12. Then, the following next week, Penny recorded 107 total yards and two touchdowns.
When it felt like Seattle had finally found its one-two punch in the backfield with the dynamic duo of Carson and Penny, Penny tore his ACL against the Rams on his first touch in the game and his 2019 campaign was cut short. He finished the year with 370 yards on 65 carries, 5.60 yards per carry, and scored three touchdowns. Penny also caught eight passes for 83 yards and a score.
With Penny out of the lineup, the Seahawks have relied on Carlos Hyde to carry the load behind Carson in the backfield. It will be interesting to see how much action Penny gets in his first game back, but just stepping on the field after a significant injury speaks volumes of his determination to return to action.