It took Christine Michael a long time to figure out how not to be a “knucklehead.” But is it too late now?
The 2013 second-round pick never cared enough to try to unseat Robert Turbin as Marshawn Lynch’s backup. And then, last year, he lost his roster spot to undrafted Thomas Rawls, who was such a revelation that he is expected to replace Lynch permanently as Seattle’s No. 1 back.
It took injuries to Lynch, Turbin (waived injured last summer) and Rawls for Michael to finally get some playing time in Seattle. And that happened only after he was traded to the Cowboys, released, picked up by the Redskins and released again.
Michael did well in his return to Seattle, averaging 4.9 yards per carry in the final three games of the season and rushing for 70 yards in the playoff win over Minnesota (Lynch returned for the loss to Carolina, so Michael did not get a carry in that game).
Michael recently told USA Today that he started taking the game more seriously.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself as far as self-evaluation,” Michael said. “I was just being a young guy, just being a knucklehead. I had to learn. I had to move around a lot.
“Some guys learn differently,” he said. “Some guys have to go through things to get it right. Some guys learn it from their first time on the job. It definitely humbled me and made me a smarter player — a more grateful player.”
The Seahawks were happy with his performance in his redux, but apparently not that excited: They drafted three running backs to compete against him for spots behind Rawls as the Hawks carry on without the retired Lynch.
Third-rounder C.J. Prosise is nearly a lock to make the team — Pete Carroll has said he has big plans for the multi-faceted back. So that leaves Michael fighting for probably one spot against fifth-rounder Alex Collins and seventh-rounder Zac Brooks. It probably boils down to Michael vs. Collins (a real Irish-style brawl).
If Michael is going to have any shot, he will have to prove the flash he showed in December and January was no fluke and that he really is no longer a “knucklehead.”