PHOENIX – If not for Eddie Lacy’s toe fusion surgery before his final season at Alabama, the Seattle Seahawks might have drafted him before the Green Bay Packers got their chance.
The Seahawks, who didn’t have a first-round pick in 2013, considered making a move up to draft Lacy. Coach Pete Carroll said Lacy’s “injury issue” made the Seahawks uncertain. They kept their first pick in the draft, No. 62 overall in the second round.
The Packers selected Lacy with the 61st overall pick.
“We backed off at the time when we had the opportunity,” Carroll said Wednesday at the NFL meetings. “So we missed him.”
The Seahawks didn’t miss when they got their second chance. They signed the free-agent running back this month to a one-year, $4.25 million contract.
Carroll said watching Lacy these past four years left no doubt the running back would fit into the Seahawks' power-running offense.
“We played against this guy,” Carroll said. “This guy has tremendous awareness, he has great feet, he has great sense. He has hand-eye stuff that tells me he has the special awareness that running backs have. And he knows how to run at the style he brings.
“He’s big and strong and physical and loves that part of it, but he also has great feet and can make you miss, and he can catch the football.”
All of those things were on display with the Packers. Lacy was a Pro Bowler as a rookie. He exceeded 1,100 rushing yards each of his first two seasons.
Lacy’s weight and conditioning issues, and an ankle surgery Packers coach Mike McCarthy said his former running back will have to “work through” this offseason, would seem to throw his future into more uncertainty. But the Seahawks weren’t willing to waste their second chance.
When he met Lacy this month, Carroll said he made sure the running back was committed to the game. He left that meeting convinced he would be.
“He’s a leader,” Carroll said. “He’s a tremendous leader in the Alabama program. I happened to go down there for their pro day, and they couldn’t stop talking about his impact on their teams and their players that are still going through the program. He lives down there and works down there in the offseason.
“I think he’s a great addition, and he’s going to be a great asset to our team.”
The Seahawks didn’t operate by blind faith. Beyond their research, they protected themselves in their contract offer.
Included in Lacy’s deal was $385,000 in workout bonuses designed to keep his weight in check. Lacy will earn $55,000 in three separate installments if he hits monthly weight goals: 255 pounds in May, 250 pounds in June and August, and 240 pounds in September, October, November and December.
“It’s how he stated it,” Carroll said. “We’ve laid out exactly how we’re going about this. He’s going to be big and strong and physical, and that’s where we’re starting. I couldn’t be more fired up to add him to our team. Our guys are going to love the guy and what he brings.”