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June 4, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Christine Michael takes advantage of Lynch’s absence

Marshawn Lynch was absent again from OTAs, which shouldn’t be alarming or surprising. But that did leave the door open for Christine Michael, the Seahawks’ second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M, to get some more reps. Robert Turbin, Lynch’s backup a year ago, spent most of the time with the first team while Michael slid in with the second team.

There is no tackling during OTAs, an important point to highlight, but Michael showed the burst and speed that made him (at times) such a dangerous player in college. On one carry he took a handoff and blistered through the linebackers and secondary, pulling away down the field. He did that on a couple of other carries too. Michael looks like an NFL running back, meaning physically he passes the eye test. That doesn’t mean much, of course, but without much else to go on so far, it does mean something.

But I also wanted to point out another part of Michael’s game: His power. He isn’t in the exact same mold as Lynch, but he is a physical enough runner to bounce off and shed tacklers. I’ve watched a number of his highlights from his time at Texas A&M, but here’s one I think quickly does a good job of showing both his burst and his power. Notice his ability to make one cut and go and also his ability to lower his shoulder when he needs to. Both of those make him a good fit with Seattle’s running game.

Michael’s role on this team will be an interesting story to follow. Obviously, Lynch is the starter without a shred of doubt. Turbin was a solid No. 2 as a backup last year, rushing for more than 100 yards in a game against Arizona. Leon Washington, the running back with the most carries after Lynch and Turbin, carried the ball only 23 times.

On the surface it doesn’t appear the Seahawks will expect much out of Michael this season, but he provides the potential for a big play that could make him an intriguing guy to give carries too. Plus, you can never rule out injuries at the high wear-and-tear running back position, and the Seahawks might look to lesson Lynch’s load some this season.

We’ve all heard Michael’s story at Texas A&M by now: A supremely talented running back out of high school who was a star when he played but struggled to stay healthy. He slid to third-string in his final season at A&M after a coaching change, and there were reports that he clashed with new A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. That final year, in some ways, overshadowed the potential Michael showed in his first three years.

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