Lynch is in camp, but he’ll be staying firmly on sideline

Seattle’s bruising running back has suffered an ankle injury that he’s working to rehab

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comJune 18, 2014 

RENTON — Marshawn Lynch strolled onto the Seattle Seahawks’ practice field about 1:34 p.m. Tuesday.

His hood was up and pocket apparently full of snacks. He casually watched his teammates practice during the first day of mandatory minicamp. Lynch hugged general manager John Schneider, joked with several teammates and chatted with offensive and defensive players. This will be his posture for the next two days because he will not participate in minicamp.

But, Lynch’s arrival answered the most pressing question of this three-day practice session.

“It’s a big story,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll joked. “We expected him to be here and he’s here.”

Reports suggested Lynch, unhappy with his current four-year, $30 million contract, would not show up at mandatory minicamp.

He showed up Tuesday, but did not participate. At minimum, his presence saved him from a $10,000 fine. Carroll said staying on the sideline also afforded Lynch an opportunity to rest a “tweaked” ankle. Carroll did not specify when or how Lynch injured his ankle.

“As always, right now, if there is any question at all, we’re going to opt to give guys more time,” Carroll said. “We want to make sure he goes into the last month (of the offseason) feeling great.

“We have rested him a lot in the offseason. He takes a big pounding.”

Carroll did not elaborate when asked directly if Lynch had asked for his contract to be reworked. Lynch, 28, is entering his third season under the deal he received in 2012. His base salary in 2014 is $5 million and includes at least $2 million in bonuses, which makes him a $7 million salary cap hit.

“There’s nothing in our conversations — the business side of it — that we’ll talk about,” Carroll said. “There’s no reason to. We haven’t talked about other guys in that regard, so we’re not doing that now.”

A jumbled message from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell at a Seahawks “town hall” with fans two weeks ago produced another layer to this story.

In response to a fan question about second-year back Christine Michael, Bevell said he thought the Seahawks would use a “running back-by-committee” approach. Bevell later elaborated that he meant during organized team activities, which concluded last week, as opposed to the regular season.

Tuesday, after reiterating how much he loves what Lynch brings to the team via a forceful running style, Carroll said there has been no discussion about a shared group approach at running back.

“We have never even approached that because that’s not even a question,” Carroll said. “It’s never even come up.”

Lynch rarely practices during the season, even when healthy. He has every Wednesday off, leaving him on the practice field Thursdays. Friday is merely a more relaxed practice and Saturday is a down day.

Carroll said the Seahawks will continue to take steps to preserve Lynch’s body. He has averaged 300 physical carries per season the last three years with Seattle. Lynch will not practice this week.

“In this case it’s unique, but he’s a unique player on our football team,” Carroll said. “We’ll do what we have to do to take care of him. You won’t see him get the ball a lot in preseason. We’ll work all the way to opening day to have him right and ready to go. That’s most important.”

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas

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