7:28pm: Lynch visited his former Seahawks teammates at their Oakland hotel when they closed the preseason against the Raiders, per Ed Werder of ESPN.com. The Oakland native didn’t reveal his future plans, though. “I would think he would tell us, and he hasn’t,” a Seahawk informed Werder (Twitter links).
7:08pm: Running back Marshawn Lynch insisted in June that his retirement would last, but that no longer looks like a sure thing. The five-time Pro Bowler is currently “up in the air” about whether to return to the NFL, a source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Lynch could come back as early as the fourth or fifth week of the season, Florio hears.
Notably, the 30-year-old Lynch is under Seahawks control at $9MM this season, though that money will only kick in if he leaves retirement. Should “Beast Mode” decide to come back, then, Seattle would have to decide whether to add him to its roster or move on either by way of a release or trade. In the event Lynch returns before the Week 8 trade deadline and the Seahawks elect to cut him, he’d become a free agent who could sign with any team. Otherwise, a post-deadline comeback would subject Lynch to waivers if released.
With Lynch at least temporarily out of the picture, the Seahawks are expected to rely on two of his former backups, Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls, as their go-to options at running back. Michael, 25, has averaged an outstanding 4.7 yards per carry in his career, though he has only amassed 106 attempts in three years. Rawls had a great rookie campaign in 2015, but he suffered a season-ending broken ankle in December and still hasn’t fully recovered since undergoing surgery.
On a per-carry basis, Lynch was less successful than both Michael and Rawls last year as he battled hamstring and abdominal injuries. Those ailments limited Lynch to seven games and career worsts in rushing attempts (111), yards (417) and touchdowns (three). However, Lynch – whom the Seahawks acquired from Buffalo in 2010 for pennies on the dollar (two late-round draft picks) – was the driving force behind Seattle’s offense for most of his five-plus-year career there. In each of his four 16-game seasons as a Seahawk, Lynch finished with at least 280 carries, 1,200 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He also made a pair of Super Bowl trips, one of which ended in victory.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.