RENTON, Wash. -- Thomas Rawls was as surprised as you were when he found out he was inactive Sunday night.
The Seattle Seahawks running back practiced all last week and had fully recovered from the high ankle sprain he suffered in the preseason. So it wasn't for health reasons that he was deactivated for Seattle's game against the Indianapolis Colts as the Seahawks dressed Eddie Lacy and J.D. McKissic as backups to starter Chris Carson.
Rawls, in his typically upbeat fashion, took it in stride.
"I didn't go into an attitude or a funk or anything like that," he said Wednesday. "It was just one of those things where it's a business decision and I'm OK with that. I don't come before this team, I don't come before this organization. I stay in my place and that's a player's place, so when I touch the field, whenever [No.] 34 is out there, I'm out there. If I'm not, I'm not. But you're going to know when I'm out there because I'm going to be out there having fun and working hard for my team."
No. 34 will be out there a whole lot now that Carson is on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain and a leg fracture against Indianapolis. In fact, numerous comments from coach Pete Carroll have left the impression that Rawls will be Seattle's primary option in Carson's absence, even though he was a healthy scratch in Week 4 and has only carried five times for 4 yards this season.
One such comment from Carroll was in response to a postgame question about how Lacy ran against the Colts while carrying 11 times for 52 yards, much of that coming in the fourth quarter after Carson went down. Carroll pivoted to Rawls midway through his response.
"I thought he looked exactly like we hoped," he said of Lacy. "He looked big and strong and tough and very decisive and all, and he just needs to get some more carries to get going. I thought that was great. With Chris being banged up, we’re so fortunate to have Thomas ready to jump back out there. We’re just lucky that we have a guy like that who’s ready to go and is healthy and all that.”
Asked about Lacy during his Monday morning radio show on KIRO-AM 710 ESPN Seattle, Carroll was complimentary of how Lacy ran but again shifted the focus to Rawls, saying: "How lucky could we be if we lose Chris and here's Thomas ready to go? We're very fortunate. We'll just turn that page and get going with Thomas as Chris returns."
And Carroll said in his Monday afternoon news conference: "Right now, we're so fortunate that [while] Chris has to sit out for a while, that Thomas Rawls gets to step up. That's just good fortune and it’s good planning and all of that. Thomas is really raring to go and we're excited to get him to play. We love the way he plays. He will obviously get more attention coming up this week."
If the Seahawks are indeed planning on going with Rawls as their lead back, it would be in line with expectations from the offseason program and the early part of training camp. Rawls routinely worked ahead of Lacy until he injured his ankle, which forced him to miss the final three preseason games and the regular-season opener while Carson grabbed hold of the starting job.
If there was any position where the Seahawks could afford to lose a starter, running back might be it. Their backfield remains well stocked, which is one reason the team didn't add a running back after placing Carson on IR.
Lacy figures to be more of a factor after not playing in two of the first three games, including one in which he was a healthy scratch himself. C.J. Prosise is on the mend after missing Sunday's game with an ankle injury of his own, which opened the door for McKissic to score two long touchdowns in his first appearance of the season. McKissic will help handle third-down duties if Prosise can't play, and his breakout performance might have earned him some work even if Prosise is back.
But it sounds as though Rawls will lead that group Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams, even with Carroll mentioning Lacy in that regard as well for the first time Wednesday. Carroll also said there's no reason to believe that Rawls will be any less explosive following a string of injuries over his first three NFL seasons.
"I’m really excited for him. He's in good shape. He’s worked out hard," Carroll said. "There was no reason he couldn’t play. We just played Chris a lot and you saw us flip it around with Eddie a couple weeks ago. But now he and Eddie are going to take the load. We're so fortunate to have Thomas in the lineup, so I’m expecting he's all fired up about it. Like I said, he's healthy and he's real anxious. I just can’t wait to get him out there."