Injuries opened the door for Christine Michael to return to Seattle; his play at the end of last season paved the way for a new contract with the Seahawks. Michael re-signed with the Seahawks Thursday, meaning the former second-round pick who Seattle traded before the start of last season, will be back in 2016.
The Seahawks originally acquired Michael in 2013, making him their first pick in that year's draft, but after Michael struggled to earn playing time in his first two seasons, he was traded to Dallas for a seventh-round pick before the start of the 2015 season.
But while things didn't work out for Michael in Seattle the first time around, the Seahawks gave him a second chance in December when injuries to Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls created a void at running back. Michael, who was released by Dallas, then signed to Washington's practice squad before being released again, returned to Seattle with a different attitude the second time around.
"It has been a challenge," Michael said late in the season. "It has been a humbling experience, but I'm back in Seattle, just focusing on that and being the best me I can be.
"Going to Dallas, it's close to home, so I had a lot of emotions—happy to go home, sad I was leaving (Seattle). Then going to the Redskins practice squad, I learned a lot, it was a humbling experience. It's a blessing to be on any team, but it did humble me some. I'm happy for the opportunity I got with Dallas and the Redskins and back in Seattle."
Seahawks coaches noticed a change in Michael nearly as soon as he arrived in Seattle, and it showed up on the field, with Michael rushing for 192 yards on 39 carries in three regular season games. Michael added 71 yards on 20 carries in Seattle's playoff win over Minnesota.
"I think he's more humble than he was," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in January. "I think he was really trying to be flashy and all of that. He has just come to work every day. He's really serious about fitting in, and it feels like he's matured in the sense that makes him a great candidate to play for us. We're really excited about him. He's produced when he's had his chances, he has played really hard, he has been really serious about every step of the way. The preparation and all of that, his concern for the football, all of the things.
"He's just done a marvelous job in a very short time. We have nothing but the highest of expectations. This is a classic example of if you just keep hoping and you stay with it and you give guys chances that sometimes they come right through for you. This is looking like that. It's only a few games, but they're really strong indicators that he's ready to take advantage of this opportunity. Nothing less than what we had hoped for a while back. Sometimes, it's a strange course that you've got to go to get here, but it's working out."
Additionally, linebacker Eric Pinkins signed his exclusive rights free agent tender Wednesday, and long snapper Clint Gresham was waived. Pinkins, who was drafted by Seattle as a defensive back in 2014, converted to linebacker before last season, and appeared in six games in 2015, recording two tackles. Gresham had been the Seahawks' long snapper since 2010.