RENTON Marshawn Lynch hasn’t given Pete Carroll or the Seahawks any indication on what he may want to do next -- which is to say, as the coach of the independent running put it, “everything’s normal.”
Thomas Rawls is on track to return from a broken ankle and torn ligaments for the start of next season, and the team is excited now knowing what it has with the 2015 rookie breakout running back.
The Seahawks would “love” to bring restricted-free-agent-to-be Christine Michael back.
And Carroll says of his offensive line: “I don’t think we’ve nailed it yet.”
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Those were the highlights of the season-ending press conference Seattle’s coach gave for 29 minutes at team headquarters Monday, a day after the 31-24 loss at Carolina in the NFC divisional playoffs ended the Seahawks’ uneven season two wins short of a third consecutive Super Bowl.
When I asked Carroll for a gut feeling on whether Lynch, who turns 30 in April and has non-guaranteed salaries for the 2016 and ‘17 seasons left on his contract, will be in Seattle’s backfield next season, the coach said “I don’t know.
Asked if he’s gotten from a Lynch an indication of his mindset about the 2016 season, Carroll said: “I have not gotten that indication. I don't know. Everything is just normal right now. Just everything remains to be known."
I asked the coach how Lynch fits in the offense now after playing less than half the 2015 season because of hamstring, calf and abdominal injuries, the last of which required surgery Nov. 25.
“We’ll figure it out,” Carroll said. “It depends on how he comes back and how he works at it and all that kind of stuff. He had a difficult year physically. He’s never had to recover from an injury like that. He’s never had to deal with that kind of process. And he made it back to his credit. He worked hard to get back and made it back to play. It just was a terrible opportunity for him to have a chance to have an impact on the game (Sunday).”
And it sure sounds like the Seahawks will make every effort to re-sign wide receiver and 2012 undrafted rookie Jermaine Kearse, who could become an unrestricted free agent in March.
"I tell ya, he had a great game,” Carroll said. “As he would say, he 'turnt up yestaday’ (a career-high 11 catches, 10 with two touchdowns in the second half as Seattle rallied from 31-0 down).
“Just continues to in the big-game setting he continues to make big plays happen. He can do it all through the year, but he just seems to have a knack to make a special play. And they're not easy, either. Either the touchdown he got on the first one, or the second one -- it got tipped just before he caught the football. And the other great catches. His best catch of the day was on the sidelines. Phenomenal catch and body control to stay in bounds and all that.
"He is a terrific player. I don't know if other people appreciate him like we do. We love him in our system and we'd love him to stay with us."
The coach said the feeling after this season end is different than the pall over the team for the way it lost at the end of Super Bowl 49 last February. Carroll said the players upbeat leaving Monday into their offsason knowing how good they are and can continue to be. He likened it to the feeling the young Seahawks had following the 2012 season, when they lost late after rallying big to take a lead at Atlanta in a divisional-playoff game.
Amid the packing up in the locker room, linebacker Bruce Irvin said he may be willing to take a lower salary to stay with the Seahawks rather than become an unrestricted free agent in March.
“Pete and John asked me that when I met with them (Monday),” Irvin said about taking a below-market base salary to stay. “If it came to that, I would definitely come back. Three, four, five million? I would definitely come back. I’m established here. These are definitely my brothers. I honestly can’t even imagine myself playing with anybody else, being in a different meeting room, listening to different pregame speeches. It’s crazy to me. I would definitely come back.
“If they matched or it was a little less, I would definitely come back to Seattle.”