Chris Carson finished the 2020 season unsure if it would be his last in Seattle.
After four years with the Seahawks, the team that selected him in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, Carson became a free agent this spring, and while both sides were hopeful about working things out, Carson and the Seahawks also knew he had to make the right decision for his future and for his family.
Carson's free agency, which he admitted was at times stressful, lasted a little longer than he expected, but eventually he and the Seahawks were able to agree on a multi-year deal to keep him in Seattle.
"It was the team that gave my first shot in the league, so I felt like it was the right decision," Carson said Thursday. "… It was definitely difficult, the whole process. Teams made offers, there were definitely some teams that made it tough to sign with the Seahawks, but it was just the right feel. I prayed about it, me and my family talked about it, and we knew Seattle was the right fit."
For Carson, this contract and the financial security that comes with it were far from a given when Seattle took him with the fifth-to-last pick in 2017, No. 249 overall. Players picked that late frequently don't make 53-man rosters, let alone become starters like Carson did as a rookie, let alone post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons as Carson did in 2018 and 2019.
"That's a blessing," he said of getting to a second contract. "It's just part of my story. For me, isn't something I can always be proud of. I'm not supposed to be here. The odds are that a seventh rounder doesn't get to free agency like that, so it was it was a blessing… I'm just glad that I can be able to make some money playing the game I love."
And one of the first things Carson did with that extra money is buy for his family the house that they had been renting ever since they lost their house to an electrical fire in 2013.
"We just paid (my mom's) house off, that was something we wanted to do," he said. "… We finally paid it off, it's in their name, and they can do whatever they want with it."
Carson said one of the teammates he was hearing from this offseason before making up his mind was quarterback Russell Wilson, who wanted the team's top rusher back.
"He was definitely in my ear," Carson said. "We talked about it before the season ended that we didn't want this to be the last year we played with each other. He definitely was in my ear during the offseason."
Also in on the recruiting was fellow running back and close friend Rashaad Penny. And with Penny now healthy, Carson thinks those two could be a dangerous tandem in 2021.
"Besides Russ, Rashaad was one of the big recruiters trying to get me back," he said. "Everybody knows he's like a brother to me. If we stay healthy, I think we can be one of the top rushing duos in the league. We both bring different things to the game, different attributes, but we complement each other so well. I just feel like his limit is ridiculous once he starts getting his feet wet in the game. I think it'll be something special."
A look back at some of the best photos of Seahawks running back Chris Carson from the 2020 season.