BY Art Thiel 08:26PM 10/27/2014

Thiel: Seahawks’ Lynch will stay, then likely go

Star RB was figured to be in his last season in Seattle; now comes a story saying he’s next man out. Dismayed Carroll says no, but coach stirred media whirlwind by trading Harvin.

Marshawn Lynch always draws a big crowd on the field. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

For Seahawks fans who follow RB Marshawn Lynch’s spectacular, sometimes provocative, tenure in Seattle, it comes as little surprise that this is likely his final year with the Seahawks. He’s approaching the traditional expiration date for NFL running backs — age 30, and he’ll be 29 next season — and will have a salary cap hit of $8.5 million.

Plus, he can be cantankerous, which is either amusing or annoying, depending on your perspective. It can be both, as I discovered during Super Bowl week. At a mandatory group interview session at the team hotel, Lynch, who hates these sort of things, fidgeted for a few minutes and then rose abruptly from his seat in front of a table and walked gingerly across empty chairs to escape the horde.

My first thought was here’s a guy, legendary for his off-the-charts pain threshold and fearlessness, who may tumble from one of the chairs and miss the Super Bowl. That was the amusing part — and the annoying part, because many of the Twelves who worship him would have been denied his skills at the pinnacle moment for no good reason.

But his run to daylight left him unharmed, the Seahawks won and, atop the hood of his parade vehicle several days later, Lynch stood and danced — alone, to the surprise of no one — delighting many of the 700,000 gathered downtown to celebrate him and his teammates.

But now, after a 3-3 start, came Sunday an ESPN report claiming, via anonymous sources, that the Seahawks bosses “have grown tired of his ways, including pulling a no-show at the White House Super Bowl ceremony, his training camp holdout and his possible contribution to locker-room distractions.”

The story claimed that the Seahawks may have sought to trade Lynch by Tuesday’s 1 p.m. deadline if not for the broken foot of FB Derrick Coleman that robbed the team of its depth. Lynch and head coach Pete Carroll were said to barely speak.

The story came on the heels of reports of locker-room discord over the firing of WR Percy Harvin and claims of dismay by some players over the nature of Russell Wilson’s leadership. All, of course, have been denied by coaches and players.

At his weekly Monday presser to discuss the Sunday game, Carroll was plainly weary of the stories of club discord, especially after a grueling 13-9 win at Carolina that ended a two-game losing streak.

“I have nothing to say about that because there is nothing to that,” he said of the Lynch dust-up. “At this point I don’t think it behooves us to try to respond to all  of these things.

“Our players have told you how they feel, our coaches have told you how we feel about it and we are in a really good place right now . . . there is nothing to that report. I don’t know where that came from.”

Asked whether it was safe to assume Lynch will not be traded, Carroll smiled and said, “You are strong. You can go with that.”

But Carroll was not amused when asked about whether he speaks with Lynch, saying he banters with the Beast “whenever I need to.”

In his position, Carroll has no choice but to say what he’s saying, because his job is to win  football games, not to be a broker of honest information. He later attempted to take a little higher road.

“They are fine,” Carroll said of his players. “Our locker room is solid. They are together. They are really determined. I don’t think you can get any other thought than that. And they are surprised as we are as coaches that you guys have these questions about us.

“But we understand it’s part of it and we are not going to get frustrated by it. We are just going to keep working our business.”

Yet Carroll is getting frustrated by the controversies. But who started it?

Without getting into the particulars of the stories — it would be nice to hear Lynch’s side, but he would prefer to juggle chain saws — Carroll has to realize he put a match to the tinder by firing Harvin at midseason. By his own, albeit minimal, admission, he “couldn’t make it work.”

Had Carroll and GM John Schneider in the offseason decided that they couldn’t deal with Harvin’s toxicity, or had they decided after 2014 season that he had to go, the fallout would still have been substantial, but more manageable.

But to calve off a superstar player in the middle of weak start by the defending Super Bowl champions, well, it doesn’t get much juicier for sports media.

Regardless of the merits of the subsequent stories, Carroll had to know the episode would reap the whirlwind, particularly since it was the Seahawks who craftily tightened the lid on Harvin’s disruptions so successfully, then leaked the news when it suited their purposes.

Carroll can’t assume a posture of bewilderment, then of indignance, over media coverage when it was his whiff on an expensive personnel gamble that triggered the scrutiny. Difficult as it apparently was to manage Harvin, it is impossible to manage non-NFL media for a story this size.

Lamentable as have been some excesses in coverage, the media interest is part of the risk in bold moves with outlier personalities like Harvin and Lynch. The risk paid off in a Super Bowl title. But Carroll didn’t ride off after that; he proposed to repeat the feat.

He may yet do so. But in sports, especially in pro football, forces are strongly at work to preclude that. It is an industry in relentless pursuit of something new, and yesterday just gets in the way. Because of the timing and manner of Harvin’s walk of the plank, the Seahawks bosses should figure to get comfy being made uncomfortable for the rest of the season.

Notes

While taking Lynch off the market, Carroll said Schneider is on the phone prior to the trade deadline. “John’s working on it,” Carroll said. “You never know. All the way until the final hour he’s looking at stuff and entertaining thoughts and things like that. That’s just the way we’ve always been. So he’s still doing it.”  . . . Carroll was vague about the returns of two key starters, TE Zach Miller (ankle surgery), and MLB Bobby Wagner (foot), both of whom saw a noted foot specialist in Charlotte . . . C Max Unger, CB Byron Maxwell and DT Jordan Hill may make it back for Sunday’s 1:30 p..m. game against Oakland . . .  SS Jeron Johnson had a concussion and awaits results from the standard protocol.

 


YourThoughts

  • notaboomer

    yawn

    • art thiel

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Just-A-12th-FAN

    Keep “Cannot Deflect a Pass Maxwell” away from the field with a clipboard in hand. It’s like watching a receiver on ice skates and DB with sandpaper on his feet. The Raiders may not be good but if Maxwell plays it could help a Raiders receiver. Lynch just needs to go and prove what we know that he is the beast and can still be a heading force in the game. The others (media) can go get pissy on their own time, There is a job to do (no different than the workers who built the practice facility in Renton) with hard work, dedication to commitment to complete the project/game the way it was planned as a team. Blow all the Media BS out the door get back to SEAHAWK BALL
    Boycott any media that is found to falsify these reports without unverified information direct from the Seahawks

  • Just-A-12th-FAN

    Typo – last sentence should have said “verified”

  • Diamond Mask

    Lynch will do himself no good by playing anything but his best football this year. I trust his agent is whispering this in his ear. Outside of the dropped pass I didn’t see much difference in the way the Beast ran the ball on Sunday. The rest is blah, blah, blah. Go Hawks!

    • art thiel

      He is playing as well as he ever has, for the reason you stated. And he’s No. 8 on the NFL list of rushing attempts this year, so the Seahawks, despite games in which they don’t control the clock, are giving him the ball.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        It would seem that if they plan to get something for a very productive back in the off season this would be the year to trade the Beast but wasnt it Bevel that said it best? There is a determinable talent drop off after Lynch when they deploy their running back core. Lynch gives them something they struggled to produce in the personnel they worked with for years til he arrived. We went from a number of forgettable backs to ….A productive and durable back who churns out results year in and year out. He was what they were lacking in 2011. Father time will catch up to all the good backs( its inevitable) but he has been amazing in a Hawk uniform.
        It wouldn’t surprise me if they ship him down to his childhood team~send him home to the Bay Area and he finishes out his career in silver and black.It will be an interesting off season in this regard with all of the rich contracts due up for Seattle. In the meantime i hope beast has his best year yet and Pete and JS anguish about moving such a tenured back here in Seattle.

  • ll9956

    IMO, Pete is to be commended for his patience with some media types (Art excepted, of course), who resemble newborn birds in a nest with their mouths wide open, wanting to be fed–in this case, crumbs of gossip.

  • 1coolguy

    Considering what a problem Lynch was in Buffalo and how PC has worked him into the team so he has had a great career here, Harvin must have been a handful . PC is great at working with the different personalities, as witnessed not only here but also at SC, so for that to be an issue I would have to give the benefit of the doubt to PC.
    With all that the Hawks gave up for Harvin, we all know that decision was not made lightly. It will be interesting to know the truth after the season ends.
    As to picking up players, I am surprised they haven’t been able to bring on an experienced, versatile O lineman, considering they are playing Schilling, Gilliam and Britt. There HAS to be a guy out there that can add talent to this line for the rest of the season. Even if they have to talk someone out of retirement it would be a plus over the inexperience we are using to patch holes with now.

    • art thiel

      If there were lots of capable O-linemen, Paul McQuistan would be out of a job. But he got guaranteed money in free agency. It’s a hard job to do to NFL standards. Gilliam was a find, and has a long way to go.

  • 1coolguy

    “Plus, he can be cantankerous, which is either amusing or annoying”

    Very, very annoying, yet he is a great runner and worth putting up with the jive.

    • Edgar Martinez

      Why are you annoyed by it? He’s just quiet, and plays football. Who cares?

  • Edgar Martinez

    It seems like they are steadily phasing Lynch out of the offense. His carries are way down this season, yet his YPC average is identical. That’s the only sense I can make for his big reduction in carries, because it sure isn’t helping the offense. They seem to be willing to struggle a bit on offense now to make it easier to not have him in the future.

    • Pixdawg13

      Part of the reason his carries are down is that Percy was getting some of those plays. Part of it is that the Hawks haven’t run as many plays per game this year as one would expect. Look at the SD game, for example–TOP was ridiculously one-sided.

      • Edgar Martinez

        Id argue they haven’t run as many plays because Lynch hasn’t gotten the ball as much. Not the other way around. Both the SD game and DAL games featured like 2 carries for Lynch in the first half. And he only had maybe 2 carries until halfway through the second quarter in the CAR game.

  • RadioGuy

    Agreed that Lynch will probably be in Seattle the rest of this season. Letting Harvin go was an easier choice because there’s depth at WR and the team did just fine without him nearly all of last year. On the other hand, there’s almost no depth at RB and neither Turbin nor Michael have shown me that they’re up to replacing Marshawn as the starter.
    But after this season? Down the road for Marshawn…gotta clear salary space for a new contract for St. Russell.

  • jafabian

    IMO, it would be very unwise to trade away Beatmode right now. It would be difficult for the offense to be able to perform without both him and Harvin gone, both who have the offense centered around them. I don’t believe being a no-show at the White House is an issue. It’s not the first time that’s happened. I think Obama mentioning it just embarrassed them. I believe his hold out was annoying but Schneider all but said he expected it considering Lynch’s age and that there’s two players on the roster ready to take over. It’s not talking to Pete Carroll that is the issue. Pete doesn’t like Marshawn taking the field and not knowing what he’s going to do because Beastmode won’t talk to him. And if there’s even a sliver of truth of him underminng Russell Wilson to even a slightest degree that’s it. He can’t be here. Older players might not like it but DangeRuss is the man. Marshawn should take a page from Tavaris and just accept it for what it is and ride the wave.

    I’m a huge Beastmode fan. He’s the kind of RB that Mike Holmgren wanted when he was here. (though he had that in Ricky Watters.) A North-South runner who doesn’t quit. However if he can’t give the head coach the respect he deserves and is being trouble in the locker room then it’s time to part ways.

  • http://rip-ragged.com/dross Raymond Meyers

    Granted that the Percy Harvin story was big news, but a too-big-for-his-britches locker-room diva wearing out his welcome with a coach who’s more about team than players is hardly a new phenomenon in the NFL. The amusing and annoying part, to me, is the NFL press trying to pile on with made up story lines. Russell Wilson’s “black”ness, Marshawn Lynch being traded or not talking to the coach or switching to Starburst from Skittles. Then if Richard Sherman says, “The capital of New York is Albany,” why doesn’t he just shut up.

    Do we know anything about the relationship of Ricardo Lockette and Doug Baldwin?

    It’s all funny, but a little sad.

    • art thiel

      NFL teams are always soap operas, to some degree. Last season in Seattle was anomalous, this season typical.

  • lb

    Lynch is our best player, and none of the current RB’s can replace him. Does he have some social anxiety, probably. Is he a violent man playing a violent sport, undoubtedly. Being mean, stubborn, and tough make him who he is. Who cares if he doesn’t talk to the papers, or the coaches, or whomever, just give him the ball and block for him. Just think if our coaches had built an O-line that was equal to the other positions on offense and defense how little we would be worried if he was mad about losing a teammate, or didn’t attend the white house ceremony, or came to camp a little late. PC and JS saying what they did in the press didn’t make Marshawn happy, and both of them knew they were fullofsh*t when they said next man up or whatever fool thing it was. Marshawn is the man on the team. Those guys know it, those guys know if he gets through this year healthy he will be better than the other guys next year too, and worth the 8.5. More so than just giving it all to the QB. Hopefully they can find some common ground in this mess, and everyone can get behind everyone else. Oakland is a perfect team to get a roll going on.

  • Warchild_70

    I only look at Marshawn this way, a stud at R B, He may be gun shy of the lights,camera and blah blah blah (SO WHAT!) The Hawks NEED O linemen that know their position now not after a season or two. Also so we need a JJ Watt for a DE. Let’s all take a deep breath clear our heads and watch what should be the massacre of da Raiders Sunday. If it takes everything they have to win it, then it’s time to worry for now I’m going to break out the Jolly Time and fire up the 73″ and watch a rerun of Super Bowl 48. GO HAWKS!!!

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      Last night at home the one loss Cowboys lost to a 2~5 team. On any given night if you dont bring your best that could happen. I dont think Seattle will let this sacrifice slip away but if Oakland plays inspired like Washington did on monday night football? Your standard ugly win will ensue.Seattle simply must protect home field. I wouldnt be shocked if they dont cover the 14+ favorite Vegas has them installed as. But perhaps they have their best night offensively and surpass the greatness they flashed when we opened against the Packers. Which Seattle team will show up??We will find out sunday.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    The Day he came from Buffalo I remember how excited I was to watch Pete get started on integrating this monster of a back into the Hawk Offense.It mattered little to me that day that apparently he had worn out his welcome in upstate N.Y. or that he had gotten in trouble in a few drinking episodes out there and his youthful judgement could be deemed suspect. That year the Hawks finished the season 7~9 but there was potential in this Lynch Fellow. Then he dismantled the reigning SB champion Saints in the play offs in which has now become labeled in NW Sports lore as the Beastquake(a 60+ yard gain) in a home play off game in which the crowd induced seismic generation as the run was so exhilarating for the amassed fans that a ‘selfie” earthquake ensued.
    If it IS Marshawn’s last year here its indeed a sad thought. You can call the man alot of things i suppose. Odd and mysterious perhaps.Query and Quirky would aptly suffice. But I would never expect him to dog it or refuse to go back into a game. The man always wants the ball and always believes the next play is going to generate another beastquake like gain.He is all effort.Relentless sweat and toil effort. I appreciate Mr. Lynch for all of the right reasons and will miss him when he is gone.

  • Lohengrin

    For some unknown reason I keep hearing Chuckie Cheesehead Armstrong going, “No, we won’t be offering Randy Johnson a contract. He has a bad back.”