What a difference a year — and $6.5 million more guaranteed — make for Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawks’ star running back continued to be a happy camper today during the team’s 10th practice of training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. And a happy Lynch is exactly what Seattle’s offense that is centered around him wants most.
Lynch’s morning on the field began when he strode out of the team’s locker room, smiled at a group of young, quiet (as if awed) fans behind a metal barrier to his right, then walked onto the field. There he found teammate Brandon Mebane. Lynch gave his fellow former California Golden Bear playful slaps on the front and back of his shoulder pads.
In practice the NFL’s busiest and most productive runner since 2011 continued to look fast – and content. He is getting far more carries and passes his way already in this camp than he did in 2014’s.
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Then again, this time last year he had just ended an eight-day holdout. He ended up pocketing $1.5 million up front in guarantees that had been future-year money. Then came March’s two-year extension through 2017 that gave the 29-year-old Lynch $5 million more guaranteed this year.
Today’s longer-than-usual practice exemplified how happy Lynch is now. On his way back to the huddle following one play he danced to the blaring rap music the hired DJ was mixing on the sidelines. On the first play of a team scrimmage he took blitz pickup literally. Lynch bear-hugged then lifted up nickel back Marcus Burley, who was rushing in off the right edge. Lynch playfully carried the DB that weighs 30 pounds less than he does 10 yards back through the line of teammates watching, clear through the offense’s huddle area.
Lynch is unlikely to carry the ball much if at all in any of Seattle’s four exhibition games that begin Friday against Denver. So we’ll have to wait until the Sept. 13 opener at St. Louis to begin finding out if the only NFL player with 1,000 yards rushing and at least 10 rushing touchdowns in each of the last four seasons will have another standout fall and winter.
But it’s obvious he’s having a fun summer.
WHAT ELSE I SAW IN THE 10TH CAMP PRACTICE
▪ Top rookie draft pick Frank Clark had his best day of camp. The defensive end, rushing from the outside, sped past fellow rookie and guard Mark Glowinski and others repeatedly during a one-on-one pass rush drill. Once Glowinski got desperate and blatantly grabbed Clark by both ends of his shoulder pads. Clark responded by blatantly going after Glowinski following the whistle. Teammates had to separate them.
▪ Rookie third-round pick Tyler Lockett continues to show why he’s going to be more than just Seattle’s new kickoff and punt returner. Lined up as a wide receiver outside right and head up on All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, Lockett got off the line past Sherman’s jam then ran past him by three yards on a deep post route. Russell Wilson’s pass was just a tad too long off Lockett’s outstretched hands.
▪ Kam Chancellor’s holdout reached its 12th day. The team could fine its strong safety and leader a maximum of $560,000 now per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, not that it will.
▪ Chancellor’s half brother Keenan Lambert, an undrafted rookie playing the same position, had a standout day. Playing as the No. 3 strong safety he broke up a pass intended for Jimmy Graham in the back corner of the end zone, then stomped toward the standout tight end while glaring at him. Lambert also ran free into back Christine Michael for what likely would have been a tackle and a loss of yardage had there been tackling. And Lambert peeled back from underneath zone coverage to break up a pass on a longer out route late in the scrimmaging.
“No, I’m not very star struck,” Lambert said.
He said through Chancellor he knows the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” off the field and has attended about a half dozen of its games at CenturyLink Field.
▪ Steven Hauschka drilled a 65-yard field goal, 1 more yard than the NFL record in a game. He had some help with a breeze at his back that was strong enough to make the “12th Man” flag just off the field blow straight out as Hauschka made the kick.
Matt Prater has the NFL record for a regulation game with a 64-yard field goal he made for Denver in 2013.
▪ In the think-of-everything department: Quarterbacks began practice with a drill in which a staffer rolled a shotgun snap back to them. They then picked up the ball and threw it as usual, trying to turn simulated chaos into routine throws.
▪ Kevin Pierre-Louis was the starting outside linebacker on what looked like a rest day for K.J. Wright from team scrimmaging.
▪ Wide receiver Kasen Williams came back down to earth after two meteoric practices. He dropped two passes, one when he tried for a one-handed grab that could have been two over rookie cornerback Tye Smith in the end zone. The second one was on the sideline on an out route with no defender near him. After the second one coach Pete Carroll went over to talk to the undrafted rookie from the University of Washington.
▪ Mohammed Seisay, acquired from Detroit last week in a trade for a sixth-round draft choice, intercepted a pass intended for Graham on an out-and-up route. But later he got frustrated with Chris Matthews. After Matthews made a catch on him on the sideline, Seisay ripped Matthews’ helmet off and to the turf. Matthews went at Seisay before teammates -- Lambert being the first peacekeeper -- intervened. Sherman then had a talk with Seisay.
“I can’t let that get the best of me,” said Seisay, who at 6-2 and 202 pounds looks the part of a big Seahawks DB.
But he also said: “I’m trying to come out here and make a name for myself.”
▪ Dion Bailey was the No. 1 strong safety in Chancellor’s absence for the second straight day, over DeShawn Shead. Burley alternated with Will Blackmon as the nickel back, after Blackmon had the job exclusively for the first nine practices.
▪ Today was Lemuel Jeanpierre’s day as the starting center, as he and Drew Nowak are now alternating days at No. 1, it seems. Emerging Keavon Milton was again the first-team left guard instead of Alvin Bailey.
▪ Graham, ex-Green Beret and rookie backup long snapper Nate Boyer and the Seahawks’ offensive players walked over to the lakeside sideline to sign autographs for the hundreds of local service members visiting camp today from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Base Kitsap and the U.S. Coast Guard Thirteenth District in Seattle.