Seahawks Notebook: With help from nutritionist and HOFer, RB Rashaad Penny ‘at his best’
For second-year Seahawk Rashaad Penny, Seattle’s thinning running back group brought an opportunity to get additional reps at Thursday’s open session of OTAs.
With starter Chris Carson and rookie Travis Homer sidelined, Penny took the majority of his snaps with the first-team offense. What seems obvious, at least at first glance, is that Penny returned to offseason training slimmer – he told reporters he lost weight after seeking help from a nutritionist. Less obvious is how he’s handling the expectations of a first-round pick as he heads into his second season.
“You get anxious, overexcited, you’ve got high expectations being a first rounder,” Penny said after practice, when asked what has changed between seasons one and two. “But at the end of the day, it’s just all about coming in and doing what’s at hand. We have a great running back in Chris Carson, so I try to take little details from him, try to be his best friend.”
The 5-feet-11 Penny entered the offseason under 230 pounds, and told reporters he’s hoping to stay at that weight.
“That’s probably the best I’ve ever felt,” he said.
Penny has also found a valuable mentor – since January, he’s been working with Hall of Famer (and fellow San Diego State University alum) Marshall Faulk.
“Just learning different reads and things (from him),” Penny said. “We probably go Mondays and Wednesdays, probably four to six. Just the little things. I’ll send him a playbook, and he’s showing me what to look for. We’ll also watch videos on FaceTime. So I’m just trying to learn the dynamics of being more of a pro.”
Now, he’ll be looking to fill a more regular starting role with Seattle. Last year, Carson took the bulk of the carries and became the Seahawks’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 2014, while Penny rushed for 419 yards and two touchdowns. It didn’t help that he started the season by having surgery on a broken finger — a surprise to a player who was praised for his durability post-draft.
“It was frustrating to me as a rookie,” Penny said. “I didn’t know how to take it. I’ve never been hurt playing football in my life. So when that happened I just hit a wall. And I’m glad that I’ve grown up over these past months and this offseason. I started taking everything seriously by treating my body right and doing the little things. Also, I think what helped me was losing all that extra weight. And now I feel better, I don’t have any nagging injuries, I’m at my best.”
• With D.J. Fluker out, rookie lineman Phil Haynes filled in at right guard with the first-team offense.
• Rookie wide receiver Gary Jennings was able to get some work in on the field Thursday. Jennings missed all of May’s rookie camp with a hamstring injury that was expected to sideline him for a few weeks.