Carson is retiring at 27 years old due to a lingering neck injury, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The Seahawks released Carson on Tuesday with a failed physical designation. The designation will give Carson, the team's leading rusher in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, several million in injury protection benefits, according to Rapoport.
Seahawks’ General Manager John Schneider said having to release Carson with a failed physical designation was a “big disappointment.”
"He's been an incredible pro, a guy who brings an amazing energy about him,” said Schneider. “His running style is what we've always wanted here in Seattle. He's the type of runner that the whole team feeds off of. The type of player defensive players get off the bench to watch him run—they can feel his energy. He's the type of runner whose style affects the whole team, not just the offense.”
Prior to his retirement, Carson was training and preparing for the 2022 season in case he was cleared to return.
Carson played in four games last season before a neck injury that would ultimately end his career prematurely. Coach Pete Carroll said Carson had a nerve in his neck impacted by a vertebrate. Season-ending surgery was the best option for Carson's recovery, Carroll said in November 2021.
The seventh-round draft pick from Oklahoma State rushed for 3,502 yards and 24 touchdowns in 49 career games for the Seahawks. He posted two seasons with over 1,000 rushing yards and had the fifth-most yards on the ground in the 2019 season.
"Ever since the first time I saw Chris on film, I loved his style, and I was thrilled when we were able to get him when we did," Carroll said Tuesday. "To see him grow and become such an impacting part of our program with such a great style and all of that, it was a thrill to watch. We'll miss him and everything he brought to our program."
With Carson's future uncertain, Seattle drafted Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft to bolster its running back depth.
Now, Walker and Rashad Penny will battle for the first-team role in an offense without Russell Wilson.