KANSAS CITY—It didn't happen right away for Christine Michael—in fact, it took a lot longer than he or the Seahawks would have hoped—but just about every time Michael steps on the field lately, he looks more and more like the player the Seahawks were hoping to get with their second-round pick in 2013.
Michael struggled to find playing time in his first two seasons with the Seahawks, then was traded away for a seventh-round pick before the start of his third season, only to be cut by two more teams that season, Dallas and Washington. Michael returned to the Seahawks because injuries left Seattle thin at running back late in the year, and made the most of his second chance, posting the two best rushing totals of his career in a three-game span, with 84 yards against Cleveland and 102 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Back with Seattle after re-signing as a free agent, Michael has continued to build off of his strong finish to 2015 with consistent play in training camp, and he backed that up Saturday with 44 rushing yards on seven carries, all of which came in the first quarter of Seattle's 17-16 win at Kansas City.
"He's an NFL football player, he has really made it clear to us that he's serious about the work, he's serious about the consistency," Seahawks coach Carroll said. "He has taken pride in the way he has brought it day-in and day-out all through the offseason and into camp, and he's an explosive, dynamic athlete. So we're just going to keep growing with him, and when Thomas (Rawls) gets back out there, those two guys give you a little 1-2 punch we're excited about. I thought Christine did really well. I really liked what he did."
And it's not just coaches who are noticing the changes in Michael; his teammates have seen the difference too.
"Christine Michael ran the ball well, he had some huge runs," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "… He has been so dedicated to the game, he wants to get better. When he's not in a drill, he's constantly next to me catching balls or working on his game, and that's fun to see. All of our running backs are like that right now. Just the dedication to the game, the dedication to the craft, it shows on game day. He ran the ball extremely well, got to the edge, hit the hole when he needed to, trusted his reads at the line and made some big first downs."
After the game, Michael was more interested in talking about the play of his offensive line than his own performance, but he did admit that, "My attitude is definitely different. I just say every day to myself, 'I just have to do my job, take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, one play at a time and just try to contribute to this offense and this team.'
"I'm just playing my role, I'm just trying to get better," he added. "Trying to learn from the young guys and teach at the same time. I'm just having fun. I'm going into my fourth year, just treating my body well, learning more about myself as a player and just trying to stay ready to go."
Look through the best photos from the Seahawks preseason game at Kansas City on Saturday, August 13.