Both in sports and in real life, time keeps marching on. Pro athletes who define an era and a team—like Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch did for the Seattle Seahawks in the early 2010s—move on and retire; no one can play NFL football forever. Lynch, however, is getting one last shot at the title with his former club.
Marshawn Lynch’s first stint with the Seattle Seahawks
While Marshawn Lynch is now synonymous with the Seattle Seahawks, the running back didn’t always wear navy and green. He established himself an offensive force during three collegiate seasons at Cal, then spent three full seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
Early in the 2010 season, however, Lynch was traded to Seattle; before long, he was breaking off massive runs and causing literal earthquakes in the city. The running back piled up 1,200 yards in 2011 and broke the 1,500-yard mark in 2012. His dominance on the ground helped the Seahawks win their first Super Bowl in franchise history; they probably would have won a second if head coach Pete Carroll gave Lynch the ball again. All good things, however, must come to an end.
Following an injury-shortened 2015 campaign, Lynch appeared to announce his retirement. After a year on the sidelines, however, the running back returned to action with the Oakland Raiders. He played a season and a half in silver and black before calling it a career for a second time. But everything changed when the Seahawks came calling.
The Seattle Seahawks desperately needed a running back
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks will face the San Francisco 49ers in the biggest game of the season. The winner will clinch the division title; playoff seeding and home-field advantage will also be on the table for both teams.
Despite the magnitude of that game, the Seahawks will be entering the game shorthanded in the backfield. Running back Rashaad Penny is done for the year with torn ACL; in their loss to the Cardinals, Seattle also lost Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise. Those injuries meant that the club only had one running back, rookie Travis Homer, available for action.
It was in that context that the Seahawks brought in two former players, Lynch and Robert Turbin. While the depth chart will have to be figured out, both running backs should be ready to go on Sunday.
What does Marshawn Lynch have left in the tank?
Marshawn Lynch hasn’t played since Week 6 of last season. Despite that layoff, Pete Carroll is excited to see what the veteran running back can do.
“He’s had plenty of time to be working and get ready in case something came up, and I’m anxious to see him when we get him here,” Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle. “There’s a lot of history here that’s great history. There was nobody that ever amplified the kind of mentality and toughness that we like to play with, so if we get a chance to get the Beast back on the field, we’ll see how that works out.”
Lynch should be helped by his familiarity with the Seattle offense and his running style; while every athlete will lose a step with age, his strength should still be more or less intact. He might not be the Marshawn Lynch of old, but he doesn’t have to be. It’s important to remember that the Seahawks are already a good team that happens to be looking for a stopgap.
If the running back can post a handful of solid games and keep opposing defenses from fixing their sole focus on Russell Wilson, he’ll be doing his job. Anything else will be an added bonus.
Grab some Skittles and strap yourself in Seattle. Beast Mode is back in town.