Seahawks RB Chris Carson retires at 27 due to neck injury

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson is retiring at the age of 27, and apparently not by choice.

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The two-time 1,000-yard rusher is hanging up his cleats due to a neck injury, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The Seahawks later confirmed that they have released him with a failed physical designation, which will allow Carson to collect millions in injury protection benefits.

The Seahawks posted a tribute video to Carson on social media.

Carson has been dealing with serious neck issues since last year, when he was sidelined in Week 4. That injury eventually required cervical surgery to address "chronic" neck pain, ending Carson's season after four games.

It was hoped that Carson would return for this season after getting an offseason to recover. Instead, Carson will retire after five seasons with the Seahawks, accruing 3,502 rushing yards, 804 receiving yards and 31 total touchdowns. Despite waiting until the seventh round to hear his name called at the 2017 draft, Carson ascended to starting status as a rookie and remained there (when healthy) for the next few seasons.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 11: Chris Carson #32 of the Seattle Seahawks  scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field on October 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Chris Carson was a bruising presence in the Seahawks backfield. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

How will the Seahawks replace Chris Carson?

Fortunately for the Seahawks, they approached this offseason not expecting to get much, if any, availability from Carson.

The team re-signed Rashaad Penny to a one-year, $5.75 million deal, bringing back the former first-rounder who averaged 134.2 rushing yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game over the final five weeks of last season. Like Carson, injuries have been a recurring issue for Penny, but he flashed enough the team wanted him back in its post-Russell Wilson future.

Alongside Penny on the running backs depth chart is second-round rookie Kenneth Walker III, who won the Doak Walker Award for college football's best running back with 1,636 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns at Michigan State.