The fact Paul Allen took time out from tweeting about a long-lost Japanese warship he recently discovered to reveal that he had met with Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch should give you an idea of just how much Lynch means to the Allen-owned NFL club.
The Seahawks chairman flew into Seattle last Friday for a sit-down with Lynch, Executive VP/General Manager John Schneider, and head coach Pete Carroll at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Hours later, the team announced Lynch had inked a two-year extension that will keep him in a Seahawks uniform through the 2017 season.
"We had an excellent meeting," Carroll said while seated next to Schneider on a conference call with team reporters to discuss the opening day of NFL free agency. "Marshawn was in a great place, was really excited to get to us, and to make this commitment. Looking down the road he was really enthusiastic about this season, about our team, about moving forward, and I was really pleased with his outlook and excited to be able to make a deal really for everybody - our locker room of course loves the guy, the coaching staff does, and for our fans as well."
At the NFL Scouting Combine last month, Carroll and Schneider were uncertain when asked to predict the future of the player that has led the team in rushing the past five seasons. Lynch, who has a history of chronic back issues, turns 29 in April. He was said to have been mulling retirement, but Carroll and Schneider made it clear they still wanted Lynch back. It was a situation Lynch's agent Doug Hendrickson addressed after his client's new deal was done when he said Lynch "just needed to reflect and figure out what he wanted to do."
A look back at some of the best images of RB Marshawn Lynch from the 2014 NFC Championship season.
"The Marshawn deal for us is huge because he's such a big part of what we're doing," said Schneider. "Like coach Carroll talks about all the time, we're talking about our offense starting with the run game and what a better guy to start it with than Marshawn."
Since Lynch's 2010 move to the Pacific Northwest following an in-season trade with the Buffalo Bills, there has been no better guy to start it with than No. 24.
In that span, his touchdowns (54), yards (5,930), and yards after contact (2,707) are tops in the NFL. He led the League with 17 total touchdowns last season and his 56 scores since 2011 are more than any player in professional football (Dez Bryant 50, Graham 46). The eight-year veteran's 1,306 yards on the ground in 2014 also helped the Seahawks set a single-season rushing record (2,762). He represents the type of unique talent and consistent production Seattle seeks to reward.
"Everybody around the League knows what kind of player he is," said Carroll. "He's a big deal to us. For us to be able to take this step together and be excited about the future is a big moment. I'm really fired up about it and was really impressed and pleased with his approach to it."