Here’s a look at the running back and fullback positions for the Seattle Seahawks heading into training camp, and their chances of making the 53-man roster:
Lynch has a new contract that will pay him $12 million this season, so no worries this summer about him holding out, as he did last year for eight days. Maybe this will be his last season because of his back issues, and maybe it won’t. But he is the heart and soul of the Seattle offense, and he should be even better this year with defenses needing to account for tight end Jimmy Graham.
Turbin is a quality backup with excellent blocking and receiving skills, but it’s uncertain if he’ll be ready to go for the start of the regular season after undergoing offseason hip surgery. Turbin did not participate in offseason workouts.
It’s "step up or step out" time for Michael, now beginning his third season. The Seattle coaches are high on Rawls, a free agent rookie from Central Michigan who started his college career at the University of Michigan. Pete Carroll loves Rawls’ toughness, seeing him as a bruising runner similar to Lynch.
That’s not good news for Michael. He needs to do everything right in camp or he might find his days in Seattle have ended. Maybe the Seahawks could trade him for a late-round pick if they decide Rawls is the better option.
Long shot: Rod Smith
The free agent rookie from Ohio State would need to beat out Rawls to have a chance, and that appears unlikely. Rawls has emerged as the rookie the coaches love. Smith does have a size advantage at 6-3, 225, compared to the 5-10, 215-pound Rawls, but that’s about it.
Lock: Derrick Coleman
Coleman missed most of last season after breaking his foot in a freak accident during pregame drills at St. Louis on Oct. 19, but he shined during offseason workouts and looks 100 percent healthy. He’s a solid blocker and an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield.
Likely: Will Tukuafu
Tukuafu’s versatility and ability to play on both sides of the ball make him valuable. At 6-2, 280, he also can contribute on the defensive line, and he’s a mountain of a lead blocker for Lynch on short-yardage situations.
Long shot: Brandon Cottom
The free agent rookie out of Purdue has excellent strength at 6-2, 260 and has shown he can catch the ball. But it will be tough to beat out either of the two men ahead of him. The coaches like his skills and Cottom may be headed to the practice squad.