Seattle Seahawks releasing veteran Chris Carson; RB plans to retire from NFL due to neck injury

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson is planning to retire after five NFL seasons because of a neck injury, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The team released Carson Tuesday with a failed physical designation.

“I’ve loved his style since I first saw Chris in the film and was thrilled when we were then able to get him,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in a statement Tuesday. “To see him grow and become such an impressive part of our program with such great style and all has been exciting to watch. We will miss him and everything he brought to our program.”

Seahawks general manager John Schneider added, “He was an incredible professional, a guy who brings incredible energy. His running style is what we’ve always wished for here in Seattle. He’s the kind of runner that the whole team feeds on.” He’s the type of runner whose style influences the whole team, not just offense.

“It’s a big disappointment. We put up with him as long as possible, he’s been to some specialists, but unfortunately he didn’t pass our examination.”

Carson’s retirement is a blow to Seattle’s backfield, but not a surprising result given the uncertainty of his football future. Several Seahawks sources have expressed doubts in recent months that he would be medically discharged after what Carroll described as fusion surgery in December.

The team prepared to continue without him, re-signing Rashaad Penny in March before drawing Kenneth Walker III in the second round of the April draft.

NFL Network first reported Carson’s plans to retire.

Carson competed in the first four games last season and was unable to return due to his neck injury. Carroll said last month that Carson is still not at full range of motion and has yet to be medically cleared. He said Carson was “concerned” about his future as a player.

Carson, 27, rose from a seventh-round Oklahoma state pick in 2017 to become one of the league’s fittest runners when he’s healthy. He started all five of his NFL seasons as a Seattle starter, beating Eddie Lacy, who was signed as a free agent, as a rookie and then Penny, Seattle’s first-round pick the following year. He surpassed 1,100 yards in 2018 (14 games) and 2019 (15 games), the two healthiest seasons of his otherwise injury-plagued career. He became the first Seahawks back since Marshawn Lynch in 2013-14 to rush for at least 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

During his career, Carson has rushed for 3,502 yards and 24 touchdowns on 769 attempts (4.6 yards average) in 49 games. lists him as having $9.5 million in on-field gross earnings to date.

Penny, who led the NFL for the final five weeks of last season, is said to be Seattle’s key running back after returning on a one-year, $5.75 million contract. He has missed 30 of a possible 69 career games (including playoffs) through injury. That, combined with Carson’s uncertain future, was why the Seahawks bolstered their backfield by picking Walker 41st overall.

In addition to Carson, the Seahawks also waived linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven Tuesday with a failed physical naming. They put four players on the non-physically able list to begin training camp: cornerback Tre Brown, inside linebacker Jon Rhattigan, outside linebacker Tyreke Smith, and offensive tackle Liam Ryan.

The Seahawks signed their three remaining unsigned draft picks: Walker, outside linebacker Boye Mafe, and cornerback Coby Bryant. Her draft class of nine is now under contract.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report. Seattle Seahawks releasing veteran Chris Carson; RB plans to retire from NFL due to neck injury

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