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March 17, 2023

Rashaad Penny is after a career restart and a full 17 games with the Eagles

Penny has been a good running back when available. The problem is he often hasn't been. He's looking to change that in Philly.

Rashaad Penny knows what kind of narrative has been attached to him as a player,  and he knew his career was in need of a restart because of it.

The 27-year old running back has shown flashes of great speed, power, and vision over his five years in Seattle, but the problem is, that's only been when he's available. Just as often, he hasn't. 

Since entering the NFL as the 27th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Penny has missed either some or significant time with injury in every passing season. In '18, it was his knee. In '19 it was his hamstring and then his ACL, which bled into nearly all of 2020. In '21, his calf cost him a few games, then in '22, just as he was really starting to get into a groove, a broken fibula in Week 5 took him out for the rest of the season. 

The talent and potential are clearly there, and only a cursory look at the numbers is needed to see that. Penny is averaging a whopping 5.7 yards per carry for his career thus far, and before he went down last season, he ran the ball 57 times for 346 yards at a staggering rate of 6.1 yards per touch. 

But just as glaring is that out of a possible 82 regular season games he could've appeared in, he's only dressed for 42 of them. 

It's ultimately what pushed the Seahawks to move on with their breakout rookie in Kenneth Walker III, and what soon led Penny to sign with the Eagles on a one-year deal once free agency opened. 

At a reported max value of $2.1 million, it's a low-risk, high-reward move for GM Howie Roseman and co., who knew they were going to be strapped for cash heading into the offseason. And for Penny, it's a chance to begin rewriting his narrative, with all the tools needed to do it. 

"I feel like it's a great place for me to refresh, restart my career," Penny said Thursday in his introduction to the Philadelphia media. "I'm just excited to be here and I can't wait to get to work, playing with a finalist for MVP at QB and a great running back room, great weapons at receiver, and obviously, arguably the best o-line, I'm definitely excited to get to work."

And if this works out, both the team and player could very well be exactly what one another needed. 

Penny said Thursday that he's been cleared from the broken fibula and that getting through all 17 games in 2023 is going to be the goal.

"I want to do whatever to help this team win, and of course for me, I want to play 17 games," he said. "I want to be available, I'm positive, and I'm very excited to be here. I know a lot of big things are gonna happen."

Easier said than done, as his career so far has shown, but the Eagles' offense right now may be the best equipped to help him get through it.

The o-line should remain as one of the NFL's top units going into next season with Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, and a returning Jason Kelce. Jalen Hurts can open up plenty of other opportunity on the ground with his own ability to take off and run, and the rest of the running back corps in Kenny Gainwell, who is expected to take on more after a strong playoff run, and Boston Scott, who re-upped for another year, are sure to help manage the load. 

If all of that can keep him on the field, then Penny – at 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds – can give the Eagles the type of north-south, power-style runner that they haven't really had since LeGarrette Blount during the 2017 Super Bowl run, albeit with a bit more versatility. 

"I feel like more of a slasher," Penny said. "I run hard, but I really try to run past people because I feel like that's what I could do too as well, so just trying to tie my game into being more power and setting guys up to run past them."

But again, to do any of that, Penny has to be on the field and stay on it. 

The Eagles are giving him the restart. It's on him to pen the rewrite, and in the process, help them make their way back to the Super Bowl after falling just short. 

"I don't think about it as much anymore," Penny said of his injury history. "I'm still positive, optimistic, I'm ready to get going. 

"I think this is a great group and me watching them last year, the Super Bowl run, it's amazing. I'm here to do the same. I just want to help this team win, and I feel like this is about to be a good start for me."

MORE: Eagles 2023 depth chart

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