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From Seattle to Green Bay: Christine Michael not the first Seahawks Running back to land with Packers

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From Seattle to Green Bay: Christine Michael not the first Seahawks Running back to land with Packers

NFL Draft day, April 2000. Phones buzzing, players wiping the cheerful tears from their eyes because some got the calls they were hoping for  — others were wiping them for different reasons. 

They were in the same position that a 21-year old Ahman Green was in 1998. Instead, he was watching from his agent Leigh Steinberg's office in California. Waiting. Steinberg, meanwhile, answering phone calls from the likes of Kansas City and Miami's front offices. After the "brutal" wait, as Green would recall, he finally landed in Seattle and spent his first pair of seasons with the Seahawks. Albeit Green didn't see as much work in Bob Bratkowski (1998) and Mike Sherman's (1999) offenses due to being the young buck behind seasoned tailback Ricky Watters, he averaged 5.3 yards-per-carry in those two years.

After a wildcard loss in January of 2000 in head coach Mike Holmgren's first year commandeering the team, Seattle wasn't sold on Green. Just three months later on that aforementioned sunny April afternoon, Green and his family were celebrating the fourth birthday of his daughter when his football future would change forever.

"Son, you're a Packer."

His father would proclaim those words to a shocked Green on the other end of the phone call. Once the swap of he and cornerback Fred Vinson to the Seahawks came to fruition, Green was packing his bags and preparing for his future with Brett Favre and a Packers team that was still in the rebuilding process a year after losing Holmgren, Reggie White, Robert Brooks and other key players through their peak years in the 1990s. Luckily for Green, he would be seeing some familiarity in the new offense he would soon set rushing records in. His offensive coordinator from the year prior, Sherman, would be Green's head coach for the next six seasons.

Once he left Seattle, soon-to-be Packers general manager Ted Thompson took over the organization of Green's former team. It wasn't until the tail-end of Green's first stint in Green Bay that the two would meet again for just two seasons, 2005 and 2006. 

Green would go on to have one of the most illustrious campaigns of any running back to ever represent the Packers' backfield. He surpassed 1,000 yards in every season with the Packers, with the exceptions of 2005 when they lost him to a torn thigh tendon and 2009, his second stint with the team at 32-years old. Green is currently the Packers' all-time leader in rushing yards, most 1,000-yard seasons and holds the individual record for most rushing yards in a season.

More than 16 years after the Packers made the move for Green, another Seattle running back fell on the team's radar in present day. After a red-eye flight, Chicago layover and still being able to practice for the first time with his new team, Christine Michael is the latest suitor in the Packers' backfield. 

In a running back carousel that the 2012 Packers team would gladly get onboard with, Michael is set to be the eighth player to take a carry out of the team's run packages this season. Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Don Jackson, Knile Davis, Aaron Ripkowski, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery have already been given their limelight in that role.

Despite having a 1,000-yard rusher in Dorsey Levens in 1999, the Packers made the move for Green likely because of the hint that, at age 30, Levens was beginning the downward trend. A fall from 1990s grace where he never really became the tailback savior the Packers desired when they drafted him at 149th overall in 1994. Not that he needed to. Between him and Edgar Bennett, the Packers' current offensive coordinator, the two-headed monster of a rushing attack was more than formidable. 

Now, far grimmer of circumstances plague the Packers' run game. After having to rotate Montgomery into the mix at tailback rather than his primary role as a wide receiver, a move needed to be made to solidify regularity. Even more so with Jackson suffering a knee injury in practice on Wednesday, the day Michael was told he'd be suiting up for a new coaching staff out east.

As the newest Seahawks running back-turned-Packer, Michael's mission is clear. Learn the playbook, understand blocking schemes, showcase his ability and give head coach Mike McCarthy a reason to utilize him for more than five offensive snaps per game, which is the same amount of carries Davis saw in his two-game run with the team.

Up to 2016, Michael had yet to see the endzone in any of his first 24 career games. It wasn't until week three of this season that Michael erupted for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards-per-touch. He would go on to score four more in the next six games, but now, with Thomas Rawls set to return to the Seahawks' rotation, his services were no longer needed. A similar ending to his brief career with the Cowboys.

It remains to be seen how he can mold into the Packers' offense — or whether he'll mold at all. Like Davis and Jhurell Pressley before him, who couldn't seem to last in Green Bay (even more so Pressley), Michael has sizeable shoes to fill. Shoes that Green once sported proudly.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Handsback's picture

He's cheap and nothing to lose and maybe something to gain.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I hope the comparison with Green proves apt. But, I don't think Michael is nearly as smart as the Batman.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

God, no. Not in any, way, shape or form. But too early to make assumptions on that yet, IMO. Who knows how well he can fit in, just thought the small correlation between Seattle and Green Bay was interesting.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Think you misunderstood the entire premise of the article.

croatpackfan's picture

Oh, I already read how bad guy is that Michael. He is fumble prone (has one fumble only this season!), he is locker room poison (Seattle fans convincing Packers fan into that "fact"), he possess bad character, he is under average RB etc, etc...
Well I have my eyes. I saw guy who runs well, he is not Lynch, nor Eddie, he is more Brandon Burks type of RB. But, he is fast and quick. He can outrun opponents D, He is not easy to tackle guy. And I'm always very alert when fans are talking about some players bad character and/or locker room poison.
I wish him well in Green Bay, I hope he will be Packers threat to opponent's defenses. I wish him another ring, this time with Packers...
After all he looks like Knile Davis much upgraded version (something like, not 2.0, but 4.0 or better).
Velcome Christine Michael. Give us all and you'll get back the same from us...

Nick Perry's picture

Michael is a pretty good RB, probably better than anyone the Packers have had on the roster in 2016, maybe better than Lacy. One thing is certain, open the holes you did for Eddie and Michael isn't getting run down from behind. Michael was having a pretty decent season behind a horrible Seattle O-Line. If the Packers can get and stay healthy, I'd expect some pretty good games from Michael.

If Michael could be 75% of Green we'd have a winner!

Rossonero's picture

As a Christine Michael owner in two fantasy leagues, I've been following him since I heard the preseason hype in Seattle. Pete Carroll raved about him, said he had an "awakening," and was like a "shot out of a cannon." Those are direct quotes.

He ran behind a dreadful offensive line that has given Russell Wilson fits too. I love the move and hope this means Ty Montgomery can get back to playing wide receiver -- if Mike McCarthy decides to use him. Well done on this move, Ted.

Rossonero's picture

Strengths
Low center of gravity back with good thickness throughout his frame to take and give out punishment. North-south runner who uses his strong legs to burst out of the hole to eat up six or seven yards in a hurry. More speed in the open field than you’d expect given his size, sets up defenders in the open field for a dangerous cut on the run. Capable of strong cuts on stretch plays, runs with lean and balance to blast or step through arm tackles near the line. Also willing to spin off tackles to free himself in space or stretch for an extra yard inside. Takes out blitzers with cut blocks in pass protection, also defenders at the second level as a lead blocker.

Weaknesses
Missed the end of both his sophomore and junior seasons due to injury. Not elite in his change of direction ability, will round some cuts and gets tripped up trying to change field. Will spin away from situations instead of taking what he can get. Ball security can be an issue, will run with the ball away from his frame (three fumbles in 2011). Not often targeted in the passing game, must prove he can be a reliable receiver. Whiffs too often when trying to land a punch in pass protection, and gets pushed back too easily when man-up.

NFL Comparison
Chris Ivory

Bottom Line
Scouts like Michael’s blend of low-center of gravity power and speed in exactly the same way that opposing defense don’t; but he must stay healthy to fulfill his promise after managing to play in just 13 games (with an impressive 1,530 yards and 12 touchdowns in that span) over the last two seasons due to a broken right leg in 2010 and a torn left ACL in 2011. A healthy senior year should translate into at least a top 50 draft slot, if not higher.

Razer's picture

You gotta listen to his lockerroom interview, man. It is refreshing, man. He's going to run the ball, man. Man-o-man.

Good luck man. We need you - man.

RCPackerFan's picture

Michael is a much better pickup then Knile Davis was. Davis was the 4th string RB on the Chiefs roster. Michael has real production. Michael can contribute to the team.

Michael was having a good year. Averaging 4 yards per carry, and 6 TD's. He also has 20 receptions on the year.

If he can come in and give us another threat at RB our offense could really take off...

MarkinMadison's picture

It is rare that you see a RB put on waivers at this point of the season with this level of production and without a major injury concern. Whatever the concerns are (attitude, intelligence) there is nothing to lose here.

Nick Perry's picture

I think it mostly because Rawls was coming back (He's practicing now) and will be ready any day. They also really like that rookie they drafted. Michael may have some baggage but so did Lynch and he worked out pretty well.

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