RENTON, Wash. — When the Seahawks signed veteran running back Adrian Peterson Wednesday, longtime fans couldn’t help but quickly recall the names of Franco Harris and Edgerrin James.
Harris and James are each Hall of Fame running backs who joined the Seahawks at the end of their careers — the only running backs so far to have made the Hall of Fame and played for Seattle.
Whenever Peterson officially retires, he will join them when he is first eligible, five years later.
But first, the Seahawks will hope they can get a bit more out of Peterson than Harris and James, who each did little but add a few more yards to their already gaudy career totals before being released.
After spending 12 years with the Steelers, the then-34-year-old Harris played eight games for Seattle in 1984 gaining 170 yards on 68 carries before being released, giving him 12,120 career rushing yards, just shy of the then-NFL record of Jim Brown with 12,312, a total Harris had wanted to reach.
James, elected to the Hall last year, played seven games for the Seahawks in 2009 following 10 years with the Colts (seven) and Cardinals (three), gaining 125 yards on 46 carries before being released at the age of 31.
Neither Harris nor James played again.
Peterson is 36 and like Harris is being turned to in part out of necessity. Harris was signed after Curt Warner suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1.
Peterson is being signed with Seattle learning two weeks ago that Chris Carson will not play again this season and with backup running backs Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer nursing injuries that held them out last week. Plus, Alex Collins, who ascended to the starting job with Carson out, is also dealing with a nagging abdomen injury.
Peterson, wearing No. 21, went through his first Seahawks practice Thursday afternoon, about an hour or so after he met the media and insisted that he still has something left, despite having been released by Tennessee last week after gaining 82 yards on 27 carries — 3.0 per attempt for a player who has a career average of 4.6.