Rookie RB Travis Homer Stepping Up For Seahawks: "We Love The Way He Plays"

From buried on the depth chart to starting in Week 17, it’s been an eventful couple of weeks for rookie running back Travis Homer. 

When it came time for starting lineups to be introduced prior to Seattle's Week 17 game against the 49ers, Travis Homer wasn't sure what Marshawn Lynch was up to.

Moments later, at Lynch's suggestion, those two running backs, along with Robert Turbin, all ran onto the field together, Lynch's way of sharing what could have been a big moment for himself in his first game as a Seahawk since the 2015 season.

"That was Marshawn's (idea)," Homer said. "I didn't really know what he was doing at first because he didn't really explain it, but when I saw what was going on, I was like, 'OK, this is pretty cool.'"

And it wasn't just that Lynch wanted to share that moment with his fellow running backs, he likely also recognized that Homer deserved a moment in the spotlight because the rookie running back was about to have the biggest game of his young NFL career.

Starting for the first time in his professional career, Homer led the Seahawks with 62 yards on 10 carries, and added 30 more receiving yards on five catches. Yes, Lynch's return was the big story last week, but Homer's play was just as significant for Seattle's offense going forward.

Homer played so well, in fact, that Lynch told the rookie he was inspired by him on the sideline during the game.

"I'm feeding off of you," Lynch could be heard telling Homer on footage shown on Seahawks All Access. "… You're inspiring me right now. Keep inspiring me. Keep inspiring me, all right?"

Lynch then offered some in-game coaching, telling Homer, "When you get to contact, try to knee yourself in the chin so you step out of it."

Homer hearing that from Lynch, "was definitely a cool moment for me. To have one of the greatest come up to me and say what he said, I took that to heart."

To Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, that moment was another example of how Lynch has come in and embraced being a good teammate and a mentor to younger players.

"It's kind of a classic mentoring moment when the guy that you look up to—and Homer does look up to him for years and years when he was growing up, he made that comment that Marshawn was a big deal to him—to have that kind of willingness on the part of 24 to share himself and share his scars and all that and pump him up and all, praise him, too, it's really powerful," Carroll said. "It's a real tribute to Marshawn."

With Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise all on injured reserve, the Seahawks needed somebody to step up if they were going to be able to maintain their style of offense, and Homer showed he has the ability to do that for the Seahawks.

"He's got a really good style and attitude about running the ball," Carroll said. "He's just downhill and gives you everything he's got. That suddenness really is an asset. We love the way he plays. Love the style of his play."

As much as Carroll loves Homer's style as a physical though undersized back, he asked the sixth-round pick out of Miami to tone it down a bit in Week 16 when Carson and Prosise both left the game with injuries, leaving Homer as the team's only healthy running back for more than a half.

"He's throwing his body at it about as much as a guy can do it," Carroll said. "When we had the two running backs hurt, he gets the next carry and he gets the ball going up the sidelines, he just crushed into the guys going out of bounds. I'm going, 'Homer, no!' Because he's all we had. I told him, I said, 'look, you have to pick your spots here because we don't have any depth.' He looked at me like, there ain't no way. He didn't listen to a word I said. He was going to go downhill and that's the way he plays. I love it about him. Discretion isn't really going to be one of his strengths."

Homer becoming Seattle's starting back seemed highly unlikely only a few weeks ago as he held a regular role on special teams, but never saw the field on offense behind Carson, Penny and Prosise. But like any backup waiting for his moment, Homer stayed ready, and eventually got his moment last weekend, responding with a strong performance that was so good, it inspired a legend.

"I wasn't expecting this, but you've just got to be ready for anything," Homer said. "We do a good job in the running back room to make sure everyone knows everything. Everyone helps out a lot." 

Everyone, including one of the best running backs of his era.

"He was giving me tips all throughout the week, just telling me what he has seen what I can do, this and that," Homer said. "… He's a great dude. I'm glad I got the opportunity to learn below him."

Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.