Due to strict COVID-19 testing protocols, the Seahawks have limited options on the table with three running backs banged up heading into Sunday's matchup with the 49ers and may need to get creative in the backfield. But they hope a familiar face can help them avoid such a pitfall starting next week.
According to Brady Henderson of ESPN, veteran free agent running back Alex Collins will fly to Seattle today to begin the NFL's six-day testing window. If all goes well, the ex-Arkansas star could sign with the team's practice squad and start practicing as early as next Wednesday.
Originally a fifth-round pick for the Seahawks in 2016, Collins appeared in 11 games as a rookie, rushing 31 times for 125 yards and a touchdown while adding 11 receptions for 84 yards. He was released at the conclusion of the following training camp and ultimately landed with the Ravens, where he broke out with 973 rushing yards and six touchdowns in 2017.
Collins would start 10 games for Baltimore the ensuing season, and though his overall numbers were down with 411 rushing yards and a 3.6 yards per carry average, he scored a career-high seven rushing touchdowns. He also added 15 receptions out of the backfield before ending the season on injured reserve with a foot injury.
On the morning of March 1, 2019, police officers arrested Collins after marijuana and a handgun were found in his car after being involved in a crash. The Ravens immediately cut ties with him later that day and he received a three-week ban from the NFL.
A few months after being cut by Baltimore, Collins suffered a broken leg during offseason training, which prevented him from latching on with a team during the 2019 season. Though he's been linked to teams, including Seattle earlier in the offseason, he's remained unsigned to this point after sitting out all of last season.
The Seahawks remain hopeful Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, and Travis Homer won't miss much time and it's possible at least one or two of those runners could be available to play against the 49ers. But after being burned by a rash of running back injuries late last season, the organization doesn't want that to happen again and without one currently on the practice squad, Collins would provide immediate insurance if necessary.