Chronic Back Injury Puts Lynch’s Career At Crossroads

Marshawn Lynch‘s stance on retirement continues to fluctuate, but the latest information regarding the running back’s stance relates to injury, not dissatisfaction,’s Ian Rapoport addressed on NFL Total Access and colleague Dan Hanzus recaps and expands.

Sources close to Lynch told Rapoport the Seahawks running back deals with compressed cartilage in his back, and the condition “will not heal” and could get worse based on Lynch’s power-based style. Numerous football players have come forward with the chronic conditions they’ve faced after their playing days conclude, but a player as mercurial as Lynch evidently knowing of a condition that won’t heal is a red flag for his future.

The Seahawks already contributed slightly more money to Lynch during training camp last summer, converting various bonuses and incentives he would’ve received in 2015 to a $1.5MM bump last season, per the Seattle Times. Rapoport noted earlier this month of a contract extension the Seahawks proposed to Lynch that would provide him $10MM this fall despite entering his age-29 season. The former Bills running back plays on a four-year, $30MM deal — the fifth-highest in the league, according to — and has dominated carries in the Seattle backfield since rejuvenating his career there following a 2010 trade.

Despite this developing condition, Lynch has been extremely durable during his four-plus years in Seattle, suiting up for 76 of a possible 78 regular-season games since the Bills shipped him west. Over the four full seasons he has carried the load for the Seahawks, Lynch hasn’t accumulated fewer than 280 carries in any of them. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) hasn’t slotted Lynch below its top-five annual running back rankings since 2011, illuminating his value at a position where value has cratered this decade.

Primary backup Robert Turbin and elusive but rarely used speedster Christine Michael are the Seahawks’ current fallback options.

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