Carson was firmly in the lead to enter Week 1 as Seattle's primary runner even before Rashaad Penny had finger surgery, ESPN.com's Brady Henderson reports.

Penny's injury may be the impetus for Carson's rising stock, but the second-year back was already making a strong case for himself before the rookie had surgery. The Seahawks are actually optimistic about having Penny available for Week 1, at which point he'd slot in behind Carson as the likely No. 2 back. Of course, the Week 1 starting job doesn't provide any season-long assurances -- something Carson learned last year when he suffered a severe leg/ankle injury Week 4. Given the draft capital they coughed up this spring, the Seahawks won't hesitate to give Penny more opportunities if Carson gets off to a slow start.

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