Carroll: Rawls, Prosise to compete for starting RB spot

The Seahawks under Pete Carroll have always preached competition.

That mantra helped Russell Wilson emerge from the pack as a rookie quarterback and the team plans to employ the same approach in Seattle's backfield.

Carroll on Thursday confirmed that Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise will engage in an open battle for Seattle's top backfield spot.

"Our team is all about competition," Carroll said from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "Every time we come back to camp, it's going to start all over again. Guys have statements of who they are, and then they have to come back and reestablish that and then take it as far as they can. There's nothing in the way of C.J. Thomas Rawls is a terrific player on our team, too, who had a very difficult season and was banged up all year. So those two guys come back to camp really ready to go."

Carroll showed faith in both of his runners on Thursday, but went out of his way to gush about Prosise, the team's third-round pick from 2016. Acknowledging that the second-year runner "carved out a very small (role) so far because he hasn't played very much," Carroll praised the back's versatility as a plus.

"(He) can do the things we'd like him to do, he can do a variety of stuff. He's a running back first. He's a pass catcher. He's a guy that can get out of the backfield as a wide receiver," Carroll said. "... We're getting a wide receiver and a running back, two-guys-in-one in a sense."

Said Carroll: "You have to look at our games to watch when he was available, which was just a couple. When he was there, he was instrumental. He was fun to have on our side. It was great for (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) to be able to use him in various ways, and he was very effective. He had long runs, he had long catches, he had tough runs, he ran inside, he ran outside. ... We have no hesitation at all in what we can do with him, we just have to get him available."

Availability was an issue for Rawls, too, who was limited to nine games last season with a fibula injury. Held to 3.20 yards per tote on the year, Rawls finally exploded in the playoffs with 161 yards against the Lions.

Prosise endured issues of his own, missing all but six games with a laundry list of physical woes, prompting Carroll to say of the rookie in January: "I can't tell you that I'm not concerned about C.J. He had trouble through the offseason. He was unavailable to us throughout, and there was a groin and a hammy and a wrist and the scapula thing he had. He has to show it."

On Thursday, Carroll sang a different tune and made it clear that both of his backs will have a chance to carve out major roles in 2017. Considering their many maladies from a season ago, it's likely that neither will be viewed as a luxury.

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