Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny Ahead of Schedule, DE Darrell Taylor's ETA Remains Uncertain
Though he won't be eligible to return to the practice field until after the team's scheduled Week 7 game against the Cardinals, coach Pete Carroll indicated running back Rashaad Penny is making excellent progress in his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery.
Penny, who tore his ACL in Week 14 last December, has been on the PUP list since the start of training camp and Carroll made it clear throughout the offseason Seattle wouldn't rush him back. Expecting he would miss at least the first six games all along, if not longer, the team signed veteran Carlos Hyde in May as a proven insurance option behind Chris Carson.
But Carroll's latest update suggests Penny could return immediately when eligible, which would be in Week 8 when the Seahawks are slated to host the 49ers in a key NFC West matchup at CenturyLink Field.
"Rashaad's doing a really good job, he's really trim and looking good," Carroll told reporters on Friday. "I would think he's ahead of schedule for maybe what they could have predicted, maybe middle of the season or something like that. I think he's gonna push sooner than that. He's had a great offseason under these circumstances and he looks really good right now, so hopefully we can expect him to be available - not in the next couple weeks - but not too far off."
While Penny appears to be on track to return in October, Carroll didn't have as favorable of an update on rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor, who continues to work his way back from January surgery to repair a stress fracture in his leg. The second-round pick out of Tennessee didn't participate in camp and also spent time away from the team for the birth of his child.
When asked if Taylor would have a chance to be activated when eligible to come off the NFI list, Carroll couldn't provide a timeline for his return.
"I don't know. It's been a tough return and I'm not sure when that time's gonna come. He's got weeks before that, but he's working really hard at it, he cares so much, he wants to get it done, so we'll just have to stick with him."
If there's a positive spin on Taylor's status, Carroll said the rookie ran some this week, a sign of progress as he tries to work his way back on the field. Unfortunately, it's too early to tell if that step means he's on track to be back by Week 8.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March, the Seahawks brought Taylor in for a pre-draft visit. At the time, the team's medical staff was encouraged by his progress after having a titanium rod inserted into his leg and when asked if he had a setback, Carroll admitted his return has simply taken longer than anticipated and now the organization will just have to play the waiting game.
"We felt he had a chance to be back sooner than what this is now, you know? We weren't sure he was gonna get PUP'd and all that stuff and put on IR and all that, so we held out hope that maybe it wouldn't... We're just gonna have to wait it out and get him when we can get him."