After the Seattle Seahawks playoff clinching victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson had their names thrown into the coach of the year and MVP conversations with no real chatter of either of them winning the award. Pete has been outstanding this season and amazingly has never won coach of the year but Matt Nagy is far and away the leader for the award having taken the Bears to a division title in his first season in Chicago following four straight losing seasons before his arrival. Wilson has also been brilliant, matching a career high in touchdowns and setting a career best quarterback rating through fifteen games, but he is still fourteen touchdowns and fifteen hundred yards behind Patrick Mahomes, which he is not going to make up in one game. While it is nice to have both of these guys in the conversation for such coveted awards, there is a Seahawks player that should be a legitimate candidate to take home some hardware at the NFL honors, and that’s Chris Carson as comeback player of the year.
There are a couple of great stories this year to counter Carson’s bid for CPOY, including Andrew Luck and JJ Watt. Some people want to include Adrian Peterson in the discussion and while his numbers this year have been spectacular, he is coming back from being old and finishing 2017 on a horrible team, the adversity he experienced pales in comparison to Luck, Watt, and Carson. Andrew Luck sat out all of 2017 and at one point could not even grip a football, fans wondered if they would ever see the same player again and those worries were squashed flat. Luck has lead an otherwise talent-less team to the brink of the playoffs behind thirty-six touchdowns and over four thousand three hundred yards, both ranked in the top six in the league. Also playing in the AFC South division, JJ Watt entered 2018 coming off back to back seasons being cut short from injury. JJ player just eight games from 2016 through 2017 and doctors were fearful he would never be able to run at full speed again. Fast forward to today, and Watt is ties for third in sacks and tied for first in forced fumbles. Both Watt and Luck have overcome so much in their return to the top, but there places on the team were never in doubt, whenever they came back, their positions and max salaries would be there waiting for them. Carson had to overcome a gruesome injury in addition to having his team spend a first round draft pick to replace him.
Carson entered the 2017 season as a seventh round draft pick of the Seahawks and eventually made it onto the opening day roster behind the human hamburger Eddie Lacy and CJ Prosise with his paper skin and glass bones. Carson briefly captured the hearts of Seattle fans with a ninety-three yard performance against the 49ers, before breaking his leg in what looked to be a much more devastating injury. After fighting his way up the ranks from a seventh round pick to being a starter for Seattle, Carson had to earn his spot all over again when the Seahawks drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round. On the mend from a broken leg and with a highly touted rookie hot on his heals, Carson made the most of every single time he touched the ball and has established himself as one of the most dominant runners in the league. With Penny and Mike Davis taking up over forty percent of the snaps and nearly nine hundred rushing yards and missing two games this season, Carson still ranks eighth in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns while averaging four and a half yards per carry. Chris is a true complete back who can run with power and elusiveness with seventy-three red zone touches and eighty-eight broken tackles, ranked seventh and third in the league.
The NFL comeback player of the year is awarded to a player who has shown perseverance in the face of adversity. No other player has been able to achieve so much compared to how much they had working against them than Chris Carson. He is not as high on the leader board as Luck and Watt, but while they were coming back from serious injuries, Carson had to compete against Penny and Davis while also returning from injury. There is a clear case for the Seahawks running back to at least be considered in the top three for the award, if not the front runner, we will see if all the voters do there homework and come to the same conclusion.