As a member of the San Francisco 49ers for the first four years of his career, Carlos Hyde became plenty familiar with the Seahawks, and the running back realized he'd someday like to play for a Pete Carroll-led team that values the running game.
Hyde made that desire a reality last month by signing with the Seahawks as a free agent after rushing for 1,070 yards last season with the Houston Texans.
"It's been a place that I've always wanted to play ever since I left San Francisco," said Hyde, who was a second-round pick of the 49ers in the 2014 draft. "Going against those guys for four years being in San Fran, I've just seen how they always run the ball back to when Marshawn was there. They're a big running team, and the ways they ran the ball, I feel like it's a strength of my game."
Hyde noted that the Seahawks run fairly often out of shotgun, something he has done with success throughout his career from Ohio State to the Chip Kelly-coached 2016 49ers to the Texans last season.
The Seahawks signed an experienced and accomplished back like Hyde in part because their top two running backs last season, Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, are both coming off of season-ending injuries—Pete Carroll said earlier this offseason that Penny could have to open the season on the physically unable to perform list. And while Hyde acknowledged that Carson is the likely starter after back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons, he still plans to come in and compete as if he's going to be Seattle's No. 1 back.
"I'm looking forward to competing," he said. "There's definitely going to be competition with Carson and Penny, guys who have already been there, who are already established. So you definitely got to come in and compete, you're coming in trying to take a guy's job who's already been there. Carson has been putting up a thousand yards like it's nothing each year. So it's definitely tough coming in trying to replace a guy like that, but I'm definitely open to the competition. It's not my first year in the league, I'm going on year seven, so I'm use to competing. It brings out the best in me, so I'm looking forward to it.
"Whatever it boils down to, whatever coach tells me, this is what we need you to do, I'm all for it. I'm coming in right now with the mindset of trying to be that guy, every down back, be the guy for the team."
Like Carson and Penny, Hyde is also coming off of an injury, though the shoulder injury he sustained in Week 2 last season did not cause him to miss any games before eventually having surgery this offseason.
"I think I'm on time to participate when we get to camp and everything," he said. "And by Week 1, I'm pretty sure I'll be ready to go."
Hyde also talked a bit about former 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick, who has been out of the league since 2016 when he spent the season kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. Kaepernick's name has come up a lot lately as protests continue around the country following the murder of George Floyd. And with the NFL landscape appearing to be shifting—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a video statement that included, "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest"—Hyde is among those who hope Kaepernick could end up back in the NFL in 2020.
"The NFL could start by signing Kaep back," he said. "If they sign Kaep back, that'll show that they're really trying to move in a different direction. Kaep was making the statement four years ago about what's going on in today's world, and the NFL didn't bother to listen to him then. I think they should start by doing that."
Asked about being teammates with Kaepernick during that 2016 season, Hyde said, "I remember Kaep making his peaceful protest, and I was all for it. I understand the message he was putting out. I understood, because I came from Cincinnati, Ohio—Lincoln Heights in Cincinnati, it's not the best area. I would see police brutality, pretty much everybody in the neighborhood struggling, violence, drugs, all that. There's not opportunity there. I was fortunate enough to have my grandmother live in Naples, Florida, so I was able to get away from all of that and pretty much start my life over. But not everybody is fortunate enough to have grandparents who live other places. So with that, I was all for what Kaep was saying, I'm still for it."