When Seattle Seahawks running Eddie Lacy first discovered he'd be playing his old team the Green Bay Packers Week 1, he laughed. Out of all the teams he was going to face in his first game, it really had to be the one he just left?
Months later, the time has come for Lacy to see what the visiting locker room looks like inside historic Lambeau Field as the Seahawks begin the regular season against the Packers. In a clash between two of the NFC's best, Sunday's game certainly matches the hype. Lacy knows the environment inside Lambeau all too well and anticipates it being a hostile setting come kickoff.
"It's just a real historic place and the fans take pride in making it as loud and as uncomfortable as they can," Lacy said on Thursday. "For me, it's going to be the first time being on the opposite side of that. I'll get to see how it is from the other side."
A staple of Lambeau Field is the infamous Lambeau Leap, which originated in 1993 by legendary Packers safety LeRoy Butler. Lacy, who scored 29 touchdowns while a member of the Packers, said he's been debating the last two days whether or not he'll do it as an opponent if he scores. Part of him wants to, but he also doesn't want to be pushed down from the stands.
The Seahawks agreed to a deal with the former Packers running back in March. As a physical runner for Green Bay, Lacy posted two 1,100+ yard rushing seasons with 20 touchdowns his first two years in the league before dealing with injuries in 2015 and 2016.
"Well number one, we have to recognize Eddie was an excellent excellent player for us for three years and it is unfortunate that you don't get to continue on with your own guys and that is usually the way we go forward," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said of Lacy via conference call this week. "He made a decision that he felt like he needed to make, so I just hope he is doing great off the field and we look forward to competing against him on Sunday. I have great respect for Eddie as a player and he was a good teammate in his time here in Green Bay."
Even though this offseason he was recovering from an ankle injury that cut short his 2016 campaign, Lacy thought he would re-sign with the Packers before ultimately picking a fresh start.
"I thought I would be back there, I was there for four years and I thought it would continue," Lacy said. "Sometimes it doesn't work out like that (and), sometimes a change of scenery isn't bad."
Lacy has a different role with the Seahawks than he had with the Packers. In Green Bay, he received the bulk of the carries with James Starks serving as his backup. Offensively, the Seahawks rely more on their rushing attack than the Packers — who focus more on the pass — but with the Seahawks, Lacy will be involved in a committee with Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and rookie Chris Carson.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll knows who will start at running back this weekend but hasn't revealed who that will be just yet. Carroll said Wednesday that Thomas Rawls (high-ankle sprain) is questionable for the game and that Lacy is more than ready to handle an increased workload like he saw at times Green Bay if needed.
"He's had a great run with us getting to this point," Carroll said. "He's done everything we have asked of him, for weeks and weeks now, he's made every practice, he's been able to do everything, and every rep that we have offered him. He's conditioned well and he's prepared to play. We've seen him for years; we know what kind of player he is, so he's had enough glimpses of the look in preseason that you can see him get to rumbling with the football. We're fired up about him playing and he's ready for a full load."
Added Lacy: "I'll definitely take however many (carries) they give me. I haven't played since October, but going through the first preseason games and getting a feel back and getting hit, and reassuring myself that my ankle is perfectly fine … I feel like I'm equipped to do what I have to do."
Lacy said that he doesn't feel he has anything to prove against his former team, but an electric game against the Packers certainly would greatly benefit the Seahawks as they look to win their first road game against the Packers since 1999.
"I'm just going to go out and play the game that I love to play," Lacy said. "It just so happens that I'm on a different team playing against where I came from."
Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Mariners' game against the Mets.