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Norwalk High grad Penny progressing well with knee injury rehab

 

Norwalk Highgrad Rashaad Penny of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. Photo by: Islanderzz (Wikimedia).

 

Staff Report • June 2, 2020

Rashaad Penny appeared to be just finding his footing as an NFL running back last season when the Norwalk High grad was struck down by a knee injury.

Penny was displaying signs of blossoming during his sophomore season with the Seattle Seahawks when he was cut down by a season-ending ACL tear.

The second-year back suffered the injury in Seattle’s 28-12 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. Besides the ACL tear, there were other less serious issues with the knee that were also addressed when Penny underwent surgery.

“He had a pretty significant knee injury,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told CBSsports.com.

Penny also missed three games earlier in the season due to a hamstring ailment.

The good news is that it looks as though Penny’s rehab from the knee injury is ahead of schedule. He was back riding the stationary bikein February, just two months after undergoing the knife. He also recently began to work on foot agility drills, another step forward in the recovery process.

“Slow progress is good progress,” Penny tweeted on May 11.

The Seahawks are hopeful that Penny will be ready to return to action in time for training camp this summer.

Penny Was Heating Up

In the weeks prior to his injury, Penny, Seattle’s 2018 first-round pick in the NFL Draft, was beginning to display the promisethat the Seahawks saw in him that encouraged the team to make Penny such a high draft choice.

Penny, 24, enjoyed a breakout game in Week 12 during a road victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He rambled for a career-best 129 yards on the ground and also scored a touchdown on a 58-yard run.

Penny followed that performance up in Week 13 with another strong effort against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13. In that game, Penny combined for 107 yards in total offense. He rushed for 74 yards and also picked up 33 receiving yards. As well, he scored a pair of TDs, one on a run and the other on a pass reception.

“He had a big impact . . . and we really liked his contribution,” Carroll said. “A guy like that, you don’t just replace him.”

Penny finished his sophomore season with 453 yards from scrimmage, and found the end zone four times.

Making The Most Of His Chances

Working mainly in a backup role on the depth chart behind Chris Carson, Penny’s sample size might have been small but his performance level was outstanding.

In just 10 games, he carried the ball 65 times and gained 370 yards. That was the highest total among all NFL running backs with 70 or fewer rushing attempts last season.

The 5-foot-11 back also displayed some explosiveness with the ball in his hands. He broke four runs over 20 yards or more, and fumbled just one time. As well, Penny gained 184 yards after contact, second-best among NFL backs with 70 or fewer carries.

A Legend At San Diego State

 

 

Rashaad Penny at San Diego State. Photo by Bobak Ha’Eri (Wikimedia).

 

In his senior season at Norwalk, Penny absolutely crushed it. He rambled for2,504 yards and scored 41 touchdowns on the ground on 216 carries. As well, he caught 21 passes for 665 receiving yards and 10 TDs.

Pursued by seven NCAA schools, Penny chose the San Diego State Aztecs. In 2016, he was part of NCAA history. D.J. Pumphrey rushed for 2,133 yards and Penny gained 1,018 as San Diego State became the only school in NCAA history to suit up a 2,000 and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.

The following season, his senior year, saw Penny carry the load. He led all NCAA Division I FBS players with 2,027 rushing yards.

Penny’s Seahawks A Hot Commodity

The Seahawks were an NFC playoff team last season, going 11-5 to earn a wild card position. Their season ended when the Seahawks fell 28-23 to the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in the NFC Divisional Playoff Round.

Seattle is again seen as a top contender for the Super Bowl in 2020. The Seahawks are listed by online sportsbooksas the co-sixth favorite to win the Super Bowl at odds of +2000.

Only three NFC clubs – the San Francisco 49ers (+800), New Orleans Saints (+1000) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1000) – are given a better shot at winning the big game than Seattle.

Seattle Not Counting On Penny?

The Seahawks look to be in the market for depth at running back. According to several sources, the team has spoken to a pair of free agents in former Atlanta Falcons back Devonta Freeman and ex-Houston Texans runner Carlos Hyde.

This movement toward backfield insurance may not be entirely motivated by Penny’s knee injury. Carson finished the season with a cracked hip.

“We have to make sure that we have enough depth,” Carroll told the Tacoma News Tribune.

If he’s slow to recover from his surgery, expectations are that Penny could begin the season on the Physically Unable To Perform list (PUP). If so, that would leave Penny ineligible for the first six games of the 2020 NFL season.

Travis Homer, with one career NFL start, is the only completely healthy returning running back on the Seattle roster. The Seahawks spent a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Miami running back Deejay Dallas, but he’s viewed as someone who’d be a fit as a situational back on third-down passing situations.

 

 

 

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