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 all but ruled out Marshawn Lynch for Sunday’s home game against Pittsburgh -- and the coach almost did it for beyond this weekend, too.
One thing Carroll and the Seahawks still are not ruling out for the NFL’s rushing and touchdown leader since 2011: Abdominal surgery.
Lynch flew to Philadelphia Monday to see Dr. William C. Meyers, a specialist on core-muscle injuries such as sports hernias. The Seahawks expect to learn Tuesday afternoon what Dr. Meyers recommends for an abdominal issue Lynch first felt at the end of practice Nov. 12.
“He’s on his way to Philadelphia, I know that. And then tomorrow (Tuesday) he has his meetings with doctors and we’ll find out what they tell us,” Carroll said Monday, a day after Lynch sat out the win over San Francisco while replacement Thomas Rawls rolled to rookie rushing records.
Asked if the team sent Lynch to Philadelphia simply for an evaluation or if it was under the idea 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.”
Carroll said Lynch may get more than an evaluation but also treatment back east.
Asked if there was any scenario that Lynch could get a clean OK in Philadelphia and then return to the team in time 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 of the pain Lynch played through Nov. 15 in the loss to Arizona.
Carroll said Lynch “pretty much played through” the abdomen issue against the Cardinals when he had eight carries, his fewest this season in a game he played from start to finish. “And afterward, late in the game, he started to feel it activate, kind of.”
Lynch was in team sweats on Seattle’s sideline while Rawls stormed into the lead role Sunday with a Seahawks rookie-record 209 yards rushing in the win over San Francisco.
Lynch has missed three games and three quarters of a fourth in the last two months. He missed just one game in his first five seasons with Seattle.
He’s had calf, hamstring, nausea and now abdominal issues this season since playing only one quarter of the win over Chicago Sept. 27.
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 on Sunday became the first rookie in NFL history with 250-plus scrimmage yards (Rawls also had 46 yards receiving), a touchdown rushing and a score receiving in a game.
The 22-year-old Rawls also broke Curt Warner’s 32-year-old record for most rushing yards in a game by a Seahawks rookie. Rawls’ yards rushing were second-most in a game by any Seahawk, 57 yards behind Shaun Alexander’s team record set in 2001 against Oakland.
And he 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.
The coach called the 29-13 win over the 49ers with Rawls rolling “probably our most consistent game” of a wholly inconsistent season. Now the Seahawks (5-5) need to do it at least five more times over the last six 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.
For now, no one is declaring the Marshawn Lynch era over with the Seahawks. But it sure appears to be diminishing.