Morris might get a full-time role next season
MIKE SANDO; The News Tribune
Published: February 2nd, 2006 02:30 AM
The hotel ballroom buzzed around these and other largely overlooked Seattle Seahawks as hundreds of reporters played favorites during a massive media session Wednesday.
One of these role players might be needed Sunday in Super Bowl XL. The Seahawks’ season has proven as much.
The team earned its first Super Bowl berth in part because lesser-known players replaced injured starters.
Sean Locklear, Leroy Hill, Marquand Manuel and Joe Jurevicius became productive starters when injuries felled Floyd Womack, Jamie Sharper, Ken Hamlin, Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram.
And when a concussion knocked MVP running back Shaun Alexander from a divisional playoff game against Washington, Morris proved to be more effective. He carried 18 times for 49 yards after the Redskins held Alexander to 9 yards on six carries.
Morris’ case is different from the others because he entered the league as a high draft choice. A second-round pick from Oregon in 2002, he has done nothing to disappoint. The team simply hasn’t needed him much because Alexander has been the NFL’s most productive runner.
“With this offensive line, I think Maurice would put up some astronomical numbers both in the receiving and the rushing area if he was given the opportunity,” running backs coach Stump Mitchell said.
Morris might get that chance next season.
Like Alexander, he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
“It’s going to be an interesting offseason for me as well as a lot of guys on the team,” Morris said. “You just hopefully get a chance to have an opportunity.”
Unlike Alexander, Morris hasn’t had to update his résumé much since leaving college.
But at least he’s healthy.
“I haven’t taken a beating,” Morris said. “I’m just like an experienced rookie.”
Morris has 171 carries for 806 yards and one touchdown in four seasons. He also has 21 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown.
“With Maurice, you’re talking about a guy who is good catching the ball out of the backfield, that is going to carry the ball probably 17 times but he is going to have anywhere from five to seven receptions, which will bring his total to about 22 touches a game,” Mitchell projected. “I think Maurice is that type of guy.
“Unfortunately for him, he has been stuck behind Shaun.”