UPDATE: Yesterday the local sports world was all atwitter about the return of Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks. The Oakland native made live miserable for the San Francisco 49ers in his prime.
Today’s question posed by the local press is, “How much will that matter” on Sunday evening in Seattle?
Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 12.24.2019
It’s quite possible that what’s unexpectedly emerged as a massive pregame story line — the return of Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks — won’t have even a minor impact on Sunday’s game.
Can a 33-year-old running back really hop off his couch and jump-start an injury-thinned team in a game that will determine the NFC West champion?
The odds are better that Lynch, who went through his first NFL practice in 14 months Tuesday, will have a few forgettable carries against the 49ers rather than offer an unforgettable performance.
On Tuesday, after his first practice, Lynch, known for not speaking with the media, showed he was still at least the same interviewee that he was in his prime.
“Happy holidays,” Lynch said in his lone words to Seattle reporters. “Merry new year. You all have a great day. It’s great for me to be back. Thanks.”
Still, Lynch announced his first “retirement,” via Twitter, during Super Bowl 50. After he was ejected from a home game in 2017, the Oakland native, then with the Raiders, watched the rest of the game in the stands and hung out with fans on BART when it was over.
So it’s understood that the physical, five-time Pro Bowler known for his “how-did-he-break-that-tackle?” runs is known for doing the unexpected, on and off the field.
So what can Lynch realistically offer the Seahawks (11-4) when they host the 49ers (12-3) on Sunday in his first game with Seattle in four seasons?
“I don’t think,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said, “that we should ever set any expectations that are too low for Marshawn.”
The Seahawks spiced up a game that didn’t need any more seasoning by signing Lynch on Monday night. After injuries devastated their third-ranked rushing attack, they will play for the division title with Lynch, just-signed Robert Turbin, 30, who last played in an NFL game in October 2018, and rookie Travis Homer, a sixth-round pick who has played 34 career offensive snaps.
On Tuesday, Carroll indicated the Seahawks, who had maintained a relationship with Lynch over the years, had informed him of their interest when running back Rashaad Penny tore his ACL on Dec. 8. They also brought in Turbin for a workout after Penny’s injury.
Carroll expressed confidence in their ability to skip offseason workouts, training camp and 15 regular-season games and still flourish in the finale.
“These guys have been working,” Carroll said. “They’ve known there were opportunities that were coming. And in the true competitive sense, these guys have always been all about, they’re working. They’ve worked hard to be ready. So I’m not worried about that. … These guys are going to be just fine. I’m not worried about it a bit.”
Lynch visited Seattle’s facility on Dec. 12 for what was then viewed as a personal visit. He has spent the past few weeks doing intense workouts in San Francisco with his longtime coach, Tareq Azim, NFL Network reported.
Could he provide an emotional jolt for the Seahawks, whose myriad injuries beyond their backfield help explain why they are home underdogs?
“Well, we didn’t have a car parade or anything,” Carroll said. “But they were fired up to see him. I said to Marshawn, ‘Some of these guys were watching you in high school.’ He says, ‘I think they were maybe in grade school.’