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RENTON, Wash. — Running back Thomas Rawls returned to the practice field for the first time on Tuesday since sustaining a broken ankle that ended his rookie season in December.
Rawls was activated from the physically unable to perform list on Sunday. However, with the team holding a “mock game” scrimmage, Rawls was held out an extra day before getting his first chance to get work in practice.
“I think it fit real good in the timeline,” Rawls said after practice on Tuesday. “Just taking it day by day and getting better. Just visualizing and getting my feet wet a little bit out there and I’m so excited and glad to be out there with the fellas.”
Rawls was limited to individual work during his firsts day back on the field.
And I Rise Again pic.twitter.com/zBnLwXrVgd
— Thomas Rawls (@TRawls810) July 1, 2016
“We’re not going to rush him at all, we’ll take our time,” head coach Pete Carroll said on Sunday. “We’ll just get him to take his confidence and get that back, but it’s great to see him back out there.
“I know it means a lot to him, too. He’s worked so hard to get here and now he finally crosses this threshold where he’s back with his teammates, so it’s a good deal.
Rawls was injured in a game against the Baltimore Ravens in December. After already gaining 44 yards on six carries on Seattle’s opening possession, Rawls was engulfed by Brandon Williams and Chris Canty, who fell on him with his ankle caught underneath.
The injury ended a stellar rookie campaign that vaulted Rawls into the clear choice to replace a retiring Marshawn Lynch. He rushed for 830 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games with seven starts in place of an injured Lynch.
His 209-yard effort against the San Francisco 49ers was the second-most rushing yards in a game in franchise history, trailing only Shaun Alexander’s 266 yards in 2001.
Carroll and general manager John Schneider have repeatedly said that Rawls, and tight end Jimmy Graham, are both expected to be ready for the start of the regular season on Sept. 11 against the Miami Dolphins.
Rawls coming off the PUP list is a solid indication that he is still on track for the opener.
“Give us a couple of week,” Carroll said. “There’s plenty of time here. We’ll figure it out. I’m sure he’s going to be chomping at the bit come by the last preseason game, at least, if not sooner.”
Rawls and three other running backs were unable to participate in Sunday’s mock game. Christine Michael sat out due to sickness.
Meanwhile, third-round pick C.J. Prosise and seventh-round pick Zac Brooks each were sidelined with hamstring injuries. The team only had fifth-round pick Alex Collins and free agent signees Cameron Marshall and Troymaine Pope — each signed just this week — to handle backfield duties.
Collins caught an approximately 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevone Boykin that was one of the biggest plays of the scrimmage. He’s had an increased workload with Rawls, Prosise and Brooks missing time.
“It was good for me because it shows where I’m at and what I need to focus on and what I need to study,” Collins said of getting extra reps. “Getting all the reps just benefits me. I just need to learn a little bit more, figure out the defense a little bit more and work on my keys, work on my reads and just get in the playbook a little more.”
Prosise and Brooks are both expected back within the next week.