Christine Michael to start, Graham to play for 'Hawks

The Awakening has entered the starting lineup in Seattle.

Christine Michael will start at running back for the Seahawks on Sunday, coach Pete Carroll told reporters Friday.

Faced with his football mortality, Michael experienced a rejuvenation at the end of the 2015 season, which carried over into the 2016 preseason. It left Carroll raving about "strong indicators that he's ready to take advantage of this opportunity," and lauding Michael as an "explosive and dynamic athlete." Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's short and sweet response coined the "Awakening" phrase. It's culminated with Carroll's announcement that Michael will be the lead back for the Seahawks, who are set to take their first real step into a world without Marshawn Lynch.

Seattle isn't rushing Thomas Rawls, previously the incumbent starter, back from an ankle injury that limited him in preseason action. Rawls missed Thursday's practice with an illness, and Carroll maintained earlier in the week that when healthy, Rawls is Seattle's starter.

But with Michael's arrow pointing skyward, the tailback could tighten his grasp on the job before Rawls has much of a chance to say anything about it.

Another point of excitement for Seattle comes in the form of tight end Jimmy Graham, who is returning from a ruptured patellar tendon and is expected to play Sunday, Carroll said. While he's been less than the star he was in New Orleans and is attempting to overcome an injury that has spelled the end of many past careers, adding Graham to the receiving options for quarterback Russell Wilson is always encouraging, as is his return to the field at the start of the season.

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