By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – Tuesday was all about that inaction, boss.
Marshawn Lynch didn’t do a single drill nor was he available to answer any questions from reporters, and yet his presence at Seattle’s first minicamp practice – watching from the side with his hood pulled up – had everyone talking.
Marshawn Lynch attended Seattle’s first minicamp practice amid reports he’s not happy with his contract. (AP) | More photos
“Yeah, it was a big story,” said coach Pete Carroll. “We expected him to be here, and he’s here.”
Lynch wasn’t doing much, though, sitting out because of what Carroll said was a sore ankle. Not that anyone really cared about Lynch doing anything. His attendance showed that at the very least a reluctance to subject himself to $11,575 for missing the first day of minicamp. Had he skipped all three days of the mandatory workouts, he could have been fined $69,455.
But there was no line being drawn on Tuesday. Not by Lynch, who chose to show up after reports last week stating he wanted a pay raise and was expected to miss the minicamp. The team wasn’t making any demands, either, Carroll emphasizing the rest Lynch needs every offseason and the expectation that Lynch will remain the team’s featured running back.
“We expect him to come right back in and battling and doing the things that he does,” Carroll said.
And as the Seahawks commenced with Operation: De-Escalation, the question of Lynch’s satisfaction with his current contract – or more accurately his reported lack thereof – remained the elephant in the room, one that Carroll made clear he wasn’t going to discuss.
“There’s nothing in our conversations about that business side of it that we’ll talk about,” Carroll said. “There’s no reason to. We haven’t talked about other guys in that regard so we’re not doing that now.”
Translation: No one is saying Lynch is completely satisfied with the two years remaining on the contract he signed with the team in 2012. That means there’s a whole lot of uncertainty left in this story. How much more does Lynch want? Will the team be willing to give him that? If the Seahawks aren’t, what will Lynch do?
What Tuesday showed was that neither side has dug in its heels. Not Lynch, who attended the first team function since taking part in the victory parade the week after the Super Bowl. And certainly not the Seahawks, as Carroll didn’t come close to offering any criticism – let alone an ultimatum – for the running back.
Carroll downplayed the uncertainty surrounding Lynch on everything up to his availability to participate in this week’s minicamp.
“He takes a big pounding during the year,” Carroll said. “It takes him a long time to get his body back to where he doesn’t feel the rigors of the season past. In this case, it’s unique, but he is a unique player and he has a unique role on our football team so we have to do what we have to do to take care of him.”
That includes taking a gentle touch as Lynch returned to the team on Tuesday, even if it was just to watch a June practice from the sidelines.