When C.J. Prosise busted out on his smooth-as-silk, 72-yard touchdown gallop vs. Philadelphia, Pete Carroll likely was thinking, “That’s what I’ve been talking about.”
It was the second straight big game for Prosise, who tallied 153 yards in the Week 10 win over New England. But, just as he had started to show why Carroll was so thrilled about drafting him in the third round this year, Prosise once again got hurt.
And now we really have to wonder whether he is cut out for playing running back in the NFL — at least in the volume Carroll would like to use him.
Prosise has missed more time than not since the day he was drafted. First, a hip problem kept him out of most offseason work, then a hamstring injury sidelined him for most of training camp and the preseason. He was finally getting into the groove when he suffered a broken scapula vs. the Eagles.
Prosise has played in six games this year, running for 172 yards on 30 carries (5.7 average) and catching 17 passes for 208 yards. He’s certainly an explosive multi-use player, but he so far does not look capable of a heavy workload.
Prosise has been a running back for only two years — his senior year at Notre Dame and this year. And he has dealt with five injuries during that time (ankle and head woes with the Irish).
It all begs the question of whether the former wide receiver can handle playing running back at this level. He is listed at 6-1 and 220 pounds, but he sure looks lighter than that when he runs.
Not that Carroll is going to give up on him any time soon. The coach is notoriously patient with young players who scuffle through injury-plagued seasons.
Sometimes his patience has paid off.
Walter Thurmond entered the league recovering from a leg injury and missed 26 games in his first three seasons, but the Hawks held on to him and he finally became a contributor in his final season in Seattle (cut short by a drug suspension).
Byron Maxwell spent most of his first two seasons injured before finally emerging in his third year.
Other times, guys just haven’t been able to shake the injury bug.
The Hawks gave 2013 draft picks Jordan Hill and Tharold Simon over three years to find the Fountain of Health, but neither could do it and both were released this year.
Others who were given multiple chances to stay on the field but could not: Jesse Williams, Korey Toomer, Greg Scruggs, Anthony McCoy, Eric Pinkins.
Max Unger was traded because he couldn’t stay healthy enough to merit $5 million a year. Russell Okung and James Carpenter were allowed to play out their contracts even though they missed at least 20 percent of possible games.
Carroll loves Prosise as much as or more than any of the aforementioned M*A*S*H members, so you know the Hawks will give him a good three years to prove he is not a literal bust.
But Prosise’s litany of injuries in his rookie season does not bode well for a lengthy career, and you have to wonder whether he will be one of the few who overcomes his injury history.