Has Marshawn Lynch played his last game as a Seahawk?
He’s almost assuredly played his last one for Seattle this month, at least.
Pete Carroll essentially ruled Lynch out for Sunday’s home game against Pittsburgh. The coach almost did the same for beyond this weekend, too.
One thing Carroll and the Seahawks still are not ruling out for Lynch is abdominal surgery.
Lynch flew to Philadelphia on Monday to see Dr. William C. Meyers. He’s a specialist on core-muscle injuries such as sports hernias, a soft-tissue injury that often keeps players out six to 12 weeks. The Seahawks expect to learn Tuesday afternoon what Dr. Meyers recommends for an abdominal issue the five-time Pro Bowl selection and 2012 All-Pro first felt at the end of practice Nov. 12.
“He’s on his way to Philadelphia, I know that. And then (Tuesday) he has his meetings with doctors and we’ll find out what they tell us,” Carroll said Monday.
A day earlier Lynch sat out Seattle’s win over San Francisco while replacement Thomas Rawls rolled to team and league rookie rushing records.
Asked if the Seahawks sent Lynch to Philadelphia only for an evaluation or if Lynch could have abdominal surgery while there, the coach said: “I don’t know that about the surgery.
“It could happen. I don’t know that. That’s a possibility. But that’s not ... it’s to go back there for the evaluation to find out what’s next and there are a couple choices, possibly, depending on what the doctor says is necessary, and then we’ll just wait and see what that all means.”
No one is declaring the Marshawn Lynch Era over with the Seahawks. But it sure appears to be diminishing. It took eight minutes of questions and talking about the rampaging Rawls plus quarterback Russell Wilson before Carroll got a question about Lynch.
Carroll said Lynch may get more than an evaluation but also treatment back east.
Asked if there was any scenario that the running back could get a clean OK in Philadelphia and be able to play against the Steelers, Carroll used the “legitimate” euphemism he often employs for major injuries.
“I don’t know about that, now. It’s legitimately bothering him,” the coach said.
Carroll said Lynch “pretty much played through” the abdomen issue against the Cardinals when he had eight carries. Those were his fewest since September 2014 for a game he’s played from start to finish. Carroll said Lynch felt the injury worsen somewhat late in that Arizona game.
Lynch was in team sweats on Seattle’s sideline Sunday, while Rawls stormed into the lead role with a Seahawks rookie-record 209 yards rushing.
Since late September Lynch has missed three games plus all but one quarter of a fourth contest. He’d missed just one game over his first five seasons with Seattle.
He’s had calf, hamstring, nausea and now abdominal issues this season since playing only the second quarter of the win over Chicago on Sept. 27. His 417 yards rushing this season is almost 800 yards fewer than his lowest season total as a Seahawk.
The contract extension he signed in March through the 2017 season calls for him to earn a non-guaranteed $9 million in base pay next season. That’s a price the Seahawks will almost certainly seek to renegotiate down — if not shed.
“We’ll hopefully have Marshawn back. To have one of the best running backs in the game makes my job a little bit easier to have him out there making plays,” Wilson said Monday. “Just praying that he’s healthy, for his own sake, then also for our team’s sake. He’s a difference maker, for sure.
“To think about Thomas Rawls and how he’s stepped up for us, it’s big.”
Mammoth, in fact.
Rawls has had two 100-yard rushing games and Sunday’s 200-yard breakout while Lynch has been hurt. The league confirmed Monday the undrafted free agent from Central Michigan became the first rookie in NFL history with 250-plus scrimmage yards, a touchdown rushing and a score receiving in a game.
Rawls also broke Curt Warner’s record for most rushing yards in a game by a Seahawks rookie set in 1983. That was 10 years before Rawls was born in Flint, Michigan. Rawls’ 209 yards rushing against San Francisco were second-most in a game by any Seahawk. Shaun Alexander’s team record is 266 yards, set in 2001 against Oakland.
And Rawls did it in a way that made the Seahawks feel they have a version of Lynch that is 7 1/2 years younger and faster.
“He makes somebody miss to find somebody to hit,” Carroll said.
That fits the bullish runner his coaches at Northern High School in Flint nicknamed “The Train.”
Carroll called Seattle’s 29-13 win over the 49ers with Rawls rolling along “probably our most consistent game” of a wholly inconsistent season. He credited Rawls and offensive line’s improved blocking in the running game with the improved pass protection that allowed Wilson to complete 24 of 29 passes with three touchdowns. The completion rate of 82.8 percent was Wilson’s highest in any game of his four-season career.
Now the Seahawks (5-5) need to do it at least five more times over the last six regular-season games to have a realistic chance at returning to the playoffs. That task starts Sunday against the Steelers (6-4), who are coming off a bye, then continues Dec. 6 at Minnesota (7-3).
“To see the running game happen again, the pass protection was pretty solid, I think we’re making a good move here,” Carroll said. “We’re going to need everything we can get. We’re going to need all hands on deck and all that for what’s coming up. But a good step forward this (past) weekend.”
OPEN COMPETITION AT CB
Carroll threw open the starting right-cornerback job for this week between DeShawn Shead, Cary Williams and Jeremy Lane.
Williams started the first 10 games. But Shead replaced him in the third quarter for the rest of the win over San Francisco after the 49ers burned Williams for multiple big completions.
Carroll said the Seahawks will activate Lane off the physically-unable-to-perform list before the Steelers game, meaning that will be the 2014 nickel back’s season debut after the broken arm and torn knee ligament he got in February’s Super Bowl. Carroll said Lane will compete for both the inside, nickel-back job Marcus Burley had Sunday and outside at cornerback.
“We’re going to get him on the roster and we’re excited to get him back,” the coach said. “I told him that (Monday) afternoon that this is his week to go for it.”
Carroll said it’s likely both WR Doug Baldwin and C Patrick Lewis play Sunday after spraining their ankles against San Francisco. Baldwin was due to have an MRI on Monday and may not practice until late in the week, if at all. … Looks like OLB Bruce Irvin will miss a second consecutive game with a sprained knee. “It’s going to be a pretty big recovery if he can get back this week. It would be pretty special if he can pull that off,” Carroll said.