By simply showing up at the Seahawks' minicamp, however, Lynch ended the holdout that never actually happened, even if he did not participate in the workout because of a sore ankle.
“It was a big story,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said sarcastically of Lynch's much discussed decision to attend minicamp. “We expected him to be here and he's here.”
Lynch's presence was anything but a given before Tuesday, despite the minicamp being mandatory. He skipped Seattle's voluntary organized team activities, then reports surfaced last week that he would miss minicamp as well because he is unhappy with his contract. A report on the league's website even suggested Lynch was considering retirement if he didn't get what he was looking for from Seattle, but for now at least, Lynch is back with his team and was embraced by teammates and coaches while watching practice, despite his less-than-stellar attendance during the voluntary portion of the offseason.
While coaches and players say every workout is important — why have offseason workouts if they don't do any good? — Carroll acknowledged Tuesday that not every player's situation is the same. Lynch is an incredibly physical running back and has averaged more than 300 carries per season over the past three years. The way Carroll sees it, the need for Lynch to recover physically trumps whatever he could gain going through a few extra workouts in May and June.
“We have rested him a lot in the offseason,” Carroll said. “He takes a big pounding during the year, it takes him a long time to get his body back to where he doesn't feel the rigors of the season that's passed. 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. You won't see him get the ball a lot in preseason. We'll work all the way to that opening day and see if we can have him right for then. That's what's most important.”
Lynch was not available for comment after practice—it's standard policy for players who don't practice to be unavailable to the media, and it's also standard policy for Lynch to not be available in general—but Carroll wouldn't address the reports that Lynch is looking for a new contract, saying the team's practice is to not talk about “the business side of it.”
“We haven't talked about other guys in that regard, so we're not doing that now,” Carroll said.
As for that ankle injury, Carroll said, “He's got a sore ankle, so we're going to make sure we take care of him. As always, right now if there's any question at all, we're going to opt to give guys more time now.
“There's enough there that we don't want to mess with it… I think he just tweaked it or something a while back and we're just taking care of it and making sure he's OK.”
Carroll was also asked if he had gotten the sense that Lynch had any uncertainty about his role on the team going forward—the Seahawks have praised second-year running back Christine Michael at every turn, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell even used the phrase “running back by committee” before backtracking—and said that wasn't a question at all.
“We expect him to come right back in battling and doing the things that he does,” Carroll said. “(Robert Turbin) and Christine, those guys want some time too and they're battling, they've had great offseasons for us, but Marshawn has really been the guy for us and we love everything about the way he plays and what he brings to this team. He's never taken a step backwards at any time for us in all the years he's been here. From the day we went after him and got him, we had sights on him becoming the player he has become, and he's never disappointed us. Hopefully he'll be really healthy and ready to go at season's start, and if we've accomplished that with this offseason, then that will be very successful for him and our team.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.
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