In recent years, the powerful running back has flirted with retirement on a number of occasions. But when he has been on the field, Lynch hasn’t looked anything like he did during his prime.
Still, the future Hall of Fame candidate hasn’t completely ruled out another NFL return. In fact, he recently told Conan O’Brien exactly what it will take for him to unretire.
Marshawn Lynch put up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers in Seattle
Marshawn Lynch may have started his career with the Buffalo Bills, but he achieved superstar status in Seattle. The 12th overall pick from the 2007 NFL draft ran for nearly 2,800 for the Bills before the team traded him to the Seahawks for a pair of mid-round picks.
That deal turned out to be a steal for Seattle.
In his first full season with the team, Lynch ran for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns. The following year, he earned his first (and only) first-team All-Pro selection after racking up 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
The bruising running back proceeded to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns in each of the next two seasons.
In addition to his impressive regular-season production, Lynch carried an even bigger load in the playoffs. The Oakland native played a significant role in the Seahawks capturing a Super Bowl title in 2013. He could easily have another ring if Pete Carroll had given him the ball on the goal line against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 49.
Still, Lynch deserves tremendous credit for racking up tough yards in the postseason. Overall, he totaled 970 yards and 12 touchdowns on 211 carries in 13 playoff games with the Seahawks. Though his peak may have been short-lived, Lynch certainly put up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers during his days in Seattle.
The former Seahawks star is no stranger to retirement talk
Marshawn Lynch dominated from 2011-2014, but he experienced a significant drop-off in 2015. Sports hernia surgery limited the perennial Pro Bowler to seven games. Lynch averaged just 3.8 yards per carry and only found the end zone three times all season.
Following a dismal 20-yard playoff performance, Beast Mode decided to call it a career.
At least, for a little while.
Although Lynch “retired” for the 2016 season, he found himself back in the NFL the following year. This time, he resurfaced with his hometown Raiders. Surprisingly, he ran for nearly 900 yards and seven touchdowns in his age-31 season.
But after an injury-plagued 2018 season, Lynch hung ’em up again…for a bit.
The Seahawks brought back the franchise icon late in the year due to injuries to their backfield. Lynch ran for 34 yards and a touchdown in a 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Although he found the end zone three times in the playoffs, the veteran back averaged just 1.8 yards on 18 carries.
Both Lynch and Carroll refused to rule out a return in the aftermath of Seattle’s divisional-round loss to the Green Bay Packers. However, the 34-year-old remains a free agent.
Lynch reveals what it will take for him to unretire
Given his age and the wear-and-tear on his body, Marshawn Lynch definitely doesn’t have much left in the tank. But that doesn’t mean he’s recorded his final NFL carry.
The topic of his retirement came up during his recent discussion with Conan O’Brien. Interestingly, Lynch revealed that teams have inquired about his availability.
However, it will take more than interest to get him back on the field. In fact, he told O’Brien exactly what it will take for him to unretire.
“If the situation is right then it could happen,” Lynch explained. “I’ve been asked the question by a couple teams here recently. Like, ‘Are you ready?’ I’m ready if y’all are Super Bowl ready.”
He further added, “That’s what it would take for me to come out and play again. It would have to be a guaranteed Super Bowl game for me.”
Obviously, it’s impossible to predict who will represent each conference in the biggest game of the season. But it’s clear that Lynch has no intentions of coming out of retirement simply to collect a paycheck.
But will we see the former Seahawks star wearing a helmet and shoulder pads at some point this season? Based on how he’s looked the last few years, it seems unlikely that NFL teams view Lynch as an upgrade at the running back position.
Still, it only takes one team (that’s Super Bowl-caliber, of course) to convince him to get off the couch.
Even if he does make another NFL return, though, don’t expect to see Beast Mode ever again.
At this point, Marshawn Lynch is simply just another guy.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.