RENTON – Marshawn Lynch’s return to the practice field began with an end run.
Half a dozen cameras and at least twice as many reporters stood at the edge of the practice field, waiting for Lynch to emerge for his first practice since ending his week-long holdout. Lynch came out a side door and onto the field, causing cameramen to scamper in order to take a picture from behind as he jogged out.
And that was the most exciting thing that happened on Lynch’s first day back at work, the team’s leading rusher watching his teammates participate in a walkthrough that included neither helmets nor pads.
Lynch stopped to sign autographs as he left the practice field, but not to answer questions. His presence on the practice field said plenty to his team, though.
“It’s evident what he means to our team,” said Sherman Smith, Seattle’s running backs coach. “He brings toughness to our team. Our run game is predicated on Marshawn’s run style, and what he does. He’s a special guy to us. I’m just glad he’s back, and we look forward to getting him ready for our Thursday night game.”
Now, the end of that statement needs to be clarified. Smith wasn’t talking about next Thursday’s exhibition opener at Denver.
“Our Thursday night game against Green Bay,” Smith said.
Yep. That’s more like it. Lynch hasn’t done much of anything in preseason games as a Seahawk, totaling 16 carries over the previous three years combined. That’s an average of 5.3 preseason carries per year.
So while Lynch didn’t do anything more than watch Friday, that shouldn’t be considered too significant, especially when you consider the team’s emphasis on preparing backups Robert Turbin and Christine Michael for larger roles in the running game down the road.
For now, it’s enough that Lynch is back, receiver Randall Carroll released to make room for Lynch to be activated.
“It’s relief that you have one of your best players back,” Smith said, “but excitement because also Christine and Turbo have been doing a great job in practice and they’re getting ready to play. We’re better with Marshawn. He’s one of the best backs in the league, but we were going to try and get the job done if he wasn’t here.”
• DL Jesse Williams became the second player the Seahawks placed on injured reserve. He will be out for the season after suffering a knee injury Wednesday. The Seahawks signed LB Marcus Dowtin to take his spot on the 90-man roster.