Marshawn Lynch came onto the field a little late, watched practice without participating and walked into the Seahawks locker room without talking.
In those ways, it was just another training camp day for Lynch, who doesn’t get much action this time of year anyway.
But on Friday morning, cameras were lined up outside Seahawks headquarters at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on the way to the practice field just in hopes of catching Lynch’s return after a week of missed practices.
He ended his holdout Thursday afternoon after agreeing to a restructured contract that could earn him an extra $1.5 million more this season — the third year on a four-year, $31 million deal.
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Running backs coach Sherman Smith said that Lynch had his physical and was cleared to practice, so he should be on the field soon.
“It’s evident what he means to this team,” Smith said. “He brings toughness; our running game is predicated on Marshawn’s running style and what he does. He’s a special guy to us. I’m just glad he’s back and we’re looking forward to getting him ready for our Thursday night game against Green Bay (the season opener Sept. 4).”
The plan doesn’t change much, Smith said, because the veteran Lynch is so lightly used in the exhibition season under normal conditions. The workhorse back has carried the ball more times the past three seasons than any other back in the NFL.
Lynch’s experience will make it easy for him to step in when called upon, Smith said.
“He understands what he needs to do to get ready; he understands the offense, so he’ll be fine,” Smith said.
Asked if he was relieved to have the four-time Pro Bowl back in attendance, Smith said it’s also a matter of being excited about the quality of play he’s seen from Lynch’s backups — Robert Turbin and Christine Michael — during Lynch’s absence.
“Christine and Turbo have been doing a great job in practice and they’ve been getting ready to play,” Smith said. “We’re better with Marshawn because he’s one of the best backs in the league. But we were going to try to get the job done if he wasn’t here.”
Turbin recognized Lynch’s return as a positive development for the team.
“He works hard and brings a passion to the game and a toughness to the backfield,” Turbin said. “He has wide respect among his peers.”
KEARSE TAKES THE STAND
On a day when the news was about Lynch, receiver Jermaine Kearse was brought to the podium to make post-practice comments. The first several questions were for his response to Lynch’s appearance.
“So this is going to be all about Marshawn, huh? Ah, it all makes sense, now,” said the receiver from Lakes High and the University of Washington. “We’re all just excited to have him back. He’s going to be ready to go. I’m pretty sure he’s already in shape, pretty sure he’s been training hard.”
Kearse had been lightly used most of last season. But in the postseason he became a factor in the offense, with seven catches for 134 yards for a 19.1-yard average and he caught a touchdown pass in both the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl. The catch in the win against the Denver Broncos was for 23 yards in which he broke four tackles along the way.
He said he spent time in the offseason going over game films to study the things he needs to improve.
The offense he sees at this point in training camp “has progressed significantly, and we’re a lot more explosive,” he said. “We’ve got some great weapons outside, and Russell (Wilson) is looking better than ever.”
LIGHT WORK DAY
Friday’s practice lasted only an hour with the players not wearing helmets. It amounted to a walkthrough workout as they prepared for a mock game Saturday afternoon in preparation for next Thursday’s exhibition opener at Denver.
As no players wore helmets, it was a little difficult to judge the status of players who had been out with injuries. Apparently back in action after missing time was receiver Paul Richardson (shoulder). Players who have been getting rest, Doug Baldwin, Percy Harvin, Zach Miller and Michael Bennett were back on the field. Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and Kevin Norwood (foot) remained out.
Since it was a walkthough, both Kam Chancellor and Malcolm Smith were on the field with the team. Both coming off surgeries, they have not practiced with the team during regular sessions but reportedly have been active in walkthroughs that are closed to the public and media.
With Anthony McCoy and Jesse Williams being placed on injured reserved, and wide receiver Randall Carroll released, the Hawks signed linebacker Marcus Dowtin and receiver Ronald Johnson.