LONG BEACH, Calif. -- At the absolute least, C.J. Prosise has given the Seahawks a new potential trade chip.
But the habitually injured running back's return to prominence in the team's preseason game at the Los Angeles Chargers shows why his coaches are keeping faith Prosise can be so much more than trade bait for Seattle.
Prosise's brilliant flashes in the second quarter Saturday night in Carson, Calif., showed why he is still on the Seahawks in the final year of his rookie contract after 10 injuries in three-plus years since they drafted him.
"I don't give up on guys very quickly," coach Pete Carroll said.
"Knowing what his situation has been and the circumstances, he has been staying with it every step of the way.
"There comes a point if a guy can't stay healthy maybe he won't be able to play. But he's bouncing back. Fingers crossed that he's able to do that. He's such a versatile player and he adds so much.
"We'll see what happens."
Judging by those comments, Prosise may have just won back a job.
He admitted it's proving time.
Then again, it always is. It's not like he's been on the field so consistently that any Seahawk can depend on him.
"I mean, every time I step out there I've got something to prove," Prosise said late Saturday night outside the visitors' locker room at the L.A. Galaxy's soccer stadium. "I want to make the most of my opportunities. Every time I'm out there I've got something to prove.
"Every time I step on the field, I want to show somebody something.
"I definitely had something to prove."
There is now less than a week until the final cuts of the preseason are due to the league, from 90 players per team down to 53. The deadline to set regular-season rosters is Saturday.
As sure as Labor Day is the first Monday in September, general manager John Schneider makes a Seahawks trade or three on the holiday weekend before setting Seattle's roster at the start of each regular season. One around cutdown day in 2017 brought nickel back Justin Coleman from New England. Last year, reserve safety and special-teams mainstay Shalom Luani arrived in a trade with Oakland to join the 53-man roster for the 2018 season.
Another trade is almost surely going to happen next weekend. Seattle needs pass rushers. It has depth issues on the offensive and defensive lines. It has a surplus of receivers on a team that passed the fewest times in the league last season. It has salary-cap space and some extra draft choices the next couple of years, the result of earlier deals.
And the Seahawks weren't the only team around the league that saw what Prosise did against the Chargers.
But if Carroll hasn't given up on Prosise by now, after he's missed two-thirds of the games he could have played in so far in his career, the coach won't get rid of Prosise after what he did in L.A.
Or will he?
Asked what kind of urgency he feels to make up for lost time, to make the team basically in a week, Prosise said: "I mean, I'm just going to go out there and continue to make the most of my opportunities. I don't really feel much urgency.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing."
For the Seahawks, that'll work.
Prosise gained 27 yards on three consecutive, slashing runs in the second quarter against the Chargers. Then he scored on a 1-yard touchdown run up the middle behind backup center Joey Hunt. It was a plowing run the third-down, pass-catching running back and former Notre Dame wide receiver isn't supposed to make.
"I've been working on my patience, a lot," he said. "I've been working on my patience, reading my keys and keeping my pads low."
Then he showed his unique versatility in receiving, like, well, a former Notre Dame wide receiver. He tapped a pass from Geno Smith to himself, ran past defenders and gained 15 yards to get Seattle off its own goal line with 1 minute left in the first half. That sparked a hurry-up drive to Jason Myers' 58-yard field goal that increased the Seahawks' lead to 16-3 at halftime.
He said he wasn't quite sure how he caught that.
After his touchdown run his teammates mobbed him in the end zone. They didn't wait for him to get to the Seahawks' sideline to begin celebrating with him.
"Oh, yeah, I definitely did (feel the love)," Prosise said. "Especially the running backs. We are such a close-knit group. Every guy was on the field, celebrating.
"It was just a fun feeling. Great to be a part of. So I'm excited."
Quarterback Russell Wilson was one of Prosise's heartier back-slappers after the touchdown.
"I think the thing with C.J. is, he's a great running back. He can catch anything. He can run the ball really well. You saw him step in the hole and step back out, make some key runs and key plays," Wilson said.
"Him scoring that touchdown was big for him. I think he was really excited about that. Obviously, we were all really excited for him. He's had a tough battle trying to get back and everything else. He's a guy that can really play a lot of great football.
"It was good to see (number) 22 make some plays."
Or just play, period.
Prosise has played in just 16 of 48 NFL regular-season games since he entered the league. He's had knee issues. Abdominal issues that required surgery. A bad ankle. A worse hamstring. Last year it was hip injury.
Why is he still here?
He romped for 158 yards rushing and receiving in an upset win at New England his rookie year in November 2016. He followed it with a 72-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of the following game, against Philadelphia. That set a Seahawks record for longest scoring run. Those two, wowing weeks have basically bought Prosise four years with Carroll and Seattle.
But in the second quarter of that Eagles game in 2016 he broke the scapula on the back of his shoulder. His rookie season was over.
And so it's gone for Prosise. He carried the ball one time in all of 2018--and lost 3 yards. Last month, he missed the first day of training camp because...he was sick.
But, like those Patriots and Eagles games his rookie year and performances, his bolt through the Chargers on Saturday shows why the Seahawks haven't released him already.
Will they now, with versatile third-down back and kick returner J.D. McKissic also back from injury, and after Seattle drafted running back Travis Homer this spring largely for what the rookie can do on passing downs?
The Seahawks have Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, who also had a resurgence including a fourth-down touchdown plow against the Chargers, returning as their one-two backs in what was the NFL's leading rushing offense in 2018. McKissic and Homer figure to make the team, or did until Prosise ran wild Saturday. The way Seattle runs so often, it's possible Nick Bellore makes the team as its only fullback. The Seahawks could release Bellore this week then bring him back after week one; vested veterans get their entire contracts for the season guaranteed if they are on the team for week one of the regular season, but not if they are signed after week one.
McKissic played the second half against the Chargers, after Carson, Penny and Prosise had already splashed. Prosise is likely competing with McKissic for the third-down job Homer may not yet be ready for. Homer, the sixth-round pick, missed valuable time this month with a quadriceps injury.
For now, Carroll is going to watch what Prosise does this week, including in Thursday's preseason finale against Oakland at CenturyLink Field. Stringing together consecutive games--heck, just staying healthy enough to practice in consecutive weeks--has been Prosise's problem.
"It was a really good night for C.J. It's just been such a struggle for him to really get out there," Carroll said. "He had a really good week at practice. He looked like that at practice. I don't think anyone was surprised.
"We're just happy for him.
"So, we'll come back next week and he'll go at it again and put another week under his belt. Just show what he can do. It just makes that acquisition more solid and competitive. And we couldn't ask for more."
Prosise had one more thing to add after his return to relevance against L.A.
"Oh," he said, smiling, "I'm perfectly healthy."
Kind of refreshing for him to say, too.
"Oh, yeah. Definitely," he said. "Especially..."
His voice trailed off into a knowing laugh.
"It's definitely a return," he said. "I mean, it's my first game I've played in, almost, really a year. So it's definitely a return.
"I'm just excited. I'm just excited to be back out there.
"I love this game. Having it being taken away the last couple years has been tough one me. Just everything, all the hard work, coming into fruition, it just really makes me happy."