Chris Carson hasn’t been able to play as large of a role for the Seahawks to start the 2021 NFL season as he has in years past. He is dealing with a neck injury and has played 57 percent of the snaps in Seattle’s first four games.
That has opened the door for Carson’s backup, Alex Collins, to earn more snaps. So far, he has impressed.
Collins was a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks out of Arkansas in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was considered a potential starter when he was drafted.
It took some time, but it appears Collins is rounding into form. He has averaged 6.1 yards per carry this year, although average has come on just 13 attempts. He scored the Seahawks’ game-winning touchdown Sunday against the 49ers.
Collins is in line for more work with Carson unable to play against the Rams on “Thursday Night Football.” That will give fans their first extended look at Collins as a starter since 2018. Here’s everything to know about his NFL career to date ahead of the Seattle-Los Angeles Week 5 divisional battle.
Alex Collins was a two-year starter for the Ravens
Collins spent the 2016 season in Seattle but played sparingly as a rookie. He battled for a roster spot in 2017 along with Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, Chris Carson, Mike Davis, CJ Prosise and JD McKissic. He was waived on the eve of the season.
Shortly thereafter, Collins was signed to the Ravens’ practice squad to provide depth after Kenneth Dixon suffered a season-ending injury. He was promoted to the active roster after Danny Woodhead was hurt in Week 1 of the 2017 season.
That’s when Collins’ career began to take off. He averaged 10.4 carries for 67 yards in his first five games with the Ravens, and then in Week 6 he became the starter. He had two 100-yard rushing games that season and totaled 973 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
Collins went into 2018 as Baltimore’s starter. He wasn’t as productive — he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in 10 games — and suffered a foot injury that knocked him out for the final six weeks.
His career began to derail with the foot injury, but his biggest issue cropped in the 2019 offseason.
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Alex Collins was released by the Ravens after his arrest stemming from a car wreck
On March 1, 2019, Collins was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Owings Mills, Md., near the Ravens’ facility. No one was injured, and Collins said his car spun out on a snowy road.
Police responded to the scene and searched his vehicle. An odor of marijuana gave officers the probable cause to search the car. The search uncovered the following items, per NFL.com.
- A large glass jar containing approximately five ounces of marijuana
- A handgun
Collins was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana in excess of 10 grams and possession of a handgun in a vehicle.
The Ravens released Collins hours after his arrest. The NFL later suspended him for the first three games of the 2019 season. He was unable to find work that year.
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The Seahawks re-signed Alex Collins out of need
Collins spent the 2019 NFL season out of the league, and he didn’t sign anywhere during the first half of the 2020 season, either. Seattle finally brought him back after the team’s running back corps was thinned by injuries.
The Seahawks played the 49ers in Week 8 with just one fully healthy running back, Deejay Dallas. The team signed Collins to the practice squad after that contest to shore up its depth.
Collins played sparringly across three games for Seattle. He racked up 77 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. But his performance caught the attention of coach Pete Carroll, who praised Collins after Seattle’s Week 17 win over San Francisco.
“He’s an excellent football player, and he looks quicker than ever,” Carroll said, per Seahawks.com. “He looks quicker than ever and for him to go in there and finish that drive off, it was perfect. I’m really fired up for him and for us, of course. He’s a good ballplayer, we love having him around.”
Carroll’s comments help to explain why the Seahawks re-signed him in the offseason to compete for the No. 2 running back role. Collins ended up getting the job after Rashaad Penny’s calf injury.
What dance does Alex Collins do after scoring touchdowns?
Collins has a unique touchdown celebration: He performs Irish step-dancing moves when he scores.
Collins is an avid dancer and takes Irish step-dancing lessons during the offseason. He has been dancing since 2016, when his high school coach’s daughter “dared him to try it,” per the Seattle Times. He has credited the practice with helping him hone his footwork.
“I just feel more explosive since I’m always on my toes now,” Collins said in a 2017 interview. “I feel like I have calf muscles like the Hulk now.”
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