Left guard James Carpenter heads into the final year of his contract 15 pounds lighter. Carpenter said there is a simple reason for that: He could run this offseason.
After spending last offseason mostly recovering from knee surgery, Carpenter was able to keep on trucking after the Super Bowl. He said his conditioning was good by the end of the season, and being able to move into the offseason without an injury allowed him to keep pushing forward.
“After the season, I just went straight to running,” Carpenter said. “I didn’t really take a break. I went and ran.”
The Seahawks sent Carpenter a clear message in the offseason when they did not pick up the fifth-year option on his contract. He said that did not push him to get in better shape.
“My motivation was really being able to run finally,” Carpenter said. “Kind of figured that because I’ve been hurt a lot and was in a competition last year. I kind of understood why they did it.”
He’s visibly slimmer. His main competitor at guard, Paul McQuistan, is gone. Carpenter is taking all the snaps with the first unit.
“Last year, if I had to do it, I had to do it,” Carpenter said of playing every snap. “This year, it’s a lot easier.”
The looming question for Carpenter is if this will produce his best season as a Seahawk after being drafted 25th overall in 2011. Being in better shape is at least a step forward.