BRADY HENDERSON

Seahawks waive Christine Michael, promote Troymaine Pope from practice squad

Nov 15, 2016, 3:37 PM | Updated: 7:48 pm
Christine Michael was Seattle's leading rusher but had been passed up on the depth chart. (AP)...
Christine Michael was Seattle's leading rusher but had been passed up on the depth chart. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks have waived running back Christine Michael, bringing another end to what has been an up-and-down career with the team.

That was one of four roster moves the Seahawks made Tuesday. They also promoted running back Troymaine Pope from their practice squad and made a swap of defensive tackles, waiving Sealver Siliga and signing former Saint John Jenkins.

The Seahawks’ decision to part ways with Michael – for the second time in two years – does not come as a major surprise even though he was Seattle’s leading rusher with 469 yards through nine games. Thomas Rawls is returning from injury while rookie C.J. Prosise has emerged of late, supplanting Michael as the lead back and flourishing Sunday night in his first career start. Michael started seven of Seattle’s first eight games then only played 11 offensive snaps against New England in what seemed like a sign that he was about to become the odd-man-out in the Seahawks’ backfield.

The move seems to be further indication of Seattle’s confidence that Rawls is ready to play after missing the last seven games due to a cracked bone in his fibula. He only returned to practice last week. Coach Pete Carroll has said he expects Rawls to be available for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia but has stopped short of assuring it.

Even if he isn’t, Prosise showed in Seattle’s victory over New England that he’s a more than viable option in Rawls’ absence. He gained 66 yards on 17 carries and was Seattle’s leading receiver, catching seven passes for 87 yards. It wasn’t just the production that impressed his coaches and teammates but also the toughness he showed in running between the tackles, taking hits and even delivering them. Seattle’s sideline erupted when Prosise lowered his shoulder into a defender instead of stepping out of bounds following a reception. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin as well as Carroll brought it up later.

Plays like that had sometimes been noticeably absent from Michael’s game this season. He showed improvement since rejoining the team late last year, to be sure, but his diminishing production and playing time seemed to indicate that he had taken a step back. Michael averaged 5.2 yards per carry over the first three games but only 3.3 since then while also making the types of mistakes that kept his first stint with the Seahawks from ever getting off the ground.

There was a lost fumble in the closing minutes of the Seahawks’ loss to the Rams, a false-start penalty near the goal line in their loss to New Orleans as well as one play in Seattle’s win over Atlanta in which he ran out of bounds shy of the first-down marker instead of taking on an oncoming defender. He also had repeated issues with keeping his feet, often falling down on his own.

Michael had resurrected his career with the Seahawks, who drafted him in the second round in 2013 then dumped him for next to nothing after two unproductive seasons. An athletic marvel, he routinely dazzled in the summer during his first two years in Seattle but then hardly played when the games began to count. It wasn’t a matter of talent but one of trust, something Michael began to build up when he rejoined the team late last season.

With Michael gone again, the Seahawks will rely on some combination of Rawls and Prosise to lead their rushing attack. Where Pope factors into the equation remains to be seen. An undrafted rookie, he was a standout during the preseason but was waived on the final cut-down as Seattle decided to keep fifth-round pick Alex Collins instead. Pope spent time on the Jets’ roster and was signed to Seattle’s practice squad earlier this month. Collins, meanwhile, has played sparingly and fumbled Sunday night.

Jenkins, 27, has appeared in 49 games over four seasons with the Saints, who drafted him in the third round in 2013. He’s listed at 6 feet 4 and 346 pounds. Siliga appeared in four games after re-signing with Seattle last month.

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