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Seahawks RB Alex Collins
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Seahawks bringing back running back Alex Collins for 2021

Alex Collins spent most of 2020 on the Seahawks' practice squad. (Getty)

The Seahawks entered the 2021 offseason with three running backs on the roster. Now, they have four.

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Alex Collins will be coming back to Seattle in 2021 after spending the second of the 2020 season on the team’s practice squad, per the NFL’s official transaction wire.

Collins, 26, appeared in three games for the Seahawks in 2020, rushing 18 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught one pass. He started his career with the Seahawks, who drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He was released after his rookie season and spent the next three years with the Baltimore Ravens, where in 2017 he rushed for 973 yards as the team’s lead back.

The Ravens waived Collins in early 2019 after he was arrested after a car crash. It was discovered that Collins had more than 10 grams of marijuana on him, as well as a handgun. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation for the incident and was suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Collins didn’t play in 2019, but he signed with the Seahawks’ practice squad in November of 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL changed rules when it comes to practice squad players for the 2020 season. Members of the practice squad could be activated for games twice without having to be placed on the 53-man roster. Collins was activated for Week 9 and Week 10, but he was also active for Week 16 as a COVID-19 list replacement due to two players on Seattle’s roster being placed on the COVID-19 list.

In Seattle’s Week 10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Collins was the team’s lead back due to injuries in the running back room and he carried the ball 11 times for 43 yards and a touchdown.

The Seahawks’ signing of Collins bolsters a running back room that may lose its two top rushers from 2020 and has also been severely injured.

Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are each hitting free agency, and each missed multiple games in 2020. Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer are all under contract for 2021, but Penny played in just three games as he recovered from a torn ACL, while Dallas and Homer each suffered season-ending injuries. Homer played in nine games while Dallas played in 12.

It’s unclear if one or both of Carson and Hyde will be back for 2021, or whether the Seahawks will sign or draft a running back to assume the team’s lead back role. Carson, a two-time 1,000 yard rusher, has been the Seahawks’ No. 1 back since 2018, so he’d likely be the team’s top choice. If not, Penny, a former first-round pick, may get the nod. There’s also a chance that the team goes with a running back by committee approach with the four backs currently signed, which would allow for Collins to potentially get more playing time that you may initially expect.

NFL free agency officially starts March 15, but players cut by their teams as well as players, like Collins, who were practice squad players, are eligible to sign right now.

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