RENTON – Marshawn Lynch’s status isn’t quite as certain as it seemed.
After saying that the running back will play Sunday in the Seahawks’ wild-card game against Minnesota, coach Pete Carroll told reporters Friday afternoon that the team isn’t ready to make a final determination about his availability.
Lynch is listed as questionable, a designation that equates to a 50/50 chance of playing. He was a full participant in all three of Seattle’s practices this week, which is typically a good indication that a player will be available. But Carroll didn’t assure that.
“We’ve got to go tomorrow and make sure he’s OK after today – that same-old thing,” Carroll said. “We’re just going to see how he’s taken to the week’s work and all of that. He looked good during the week and did some really good stuff, so we’ll just use all of the time that we have available.”
Even with Lynch’s not-quite-certain status and tight end Luke Willson being ruled out with a concussion, the Seahawks are as healthy as they’ve been in a while with everyone else expected to play. Strong safety Kam Chancellor (three games), left tackle Russell Okung (two games) and right guard J.R. Sweezy (one game) will all return after missing time.
“That’s great to get those guys back in action,” Carroll said.
Lynch appeared all week to be on track to play Sunday after missing the Seahawks’ last seven games due to an abdominal injury, which he had surgically repaired on Nov. 25. Lynch returned to the Seahawks this week after spending the last three working out with trainers in San Francisco.
Carroll’s comments Friday afternoon about Lynch’s status not being certain were a change of course from what he said during his weekly appearance on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. In a taped interview that aired Friday morning, Carroll said of Lynch: “Yeah, he’s going to play. He’s looked really good in practice. He’s practiced as hard as he ever has throughout the week just to prove to himself that he’s right I think as well as everybody else. So he’s ready to go and we’re anxious to see him fit in.”
Carroll said Friday afternoon: “I have not said yet that he’s playing. I know that’s been out there but I don’t know really until we finish the week. He’s looked really good and we’re hoping so and very optimistic about that.”
While he wouldn’t declare that Lynch will play, Carroll’s comments seemed to indicate that it’s likely. He said Lynch had a “great” week of practice and that he had “taken every rep that we needed him to.”
Willson is the only player the Seahawks have ruled out. He’ll miss his second straight game due to a concussion that he sustained in Week 16 against St. Louis. Willson was limited Wednesday as he practiced for the first time since then but sat out the last two days.
“He did some of the work, he practiced with us and then he just didn’t quite recover,” Carroll said.
Cooper Helfet and Chase Coffman are the other tight ends on Seattle’s roster. Coffman joined the team after starter Jimmy Graham went down with a knee injury and made his Seahawks debut last week against Arizona, catching four passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.
“We’re fortunate that he’s emerged so quickly for us and we can go with he and Coop and play the game that way,” Carroll said.