On a few occasions this week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had to do a double take, followed by a laugh.
But sure enough, that really is Marshawn Lynch back in Seattle's backfield after signing with the team earlier this week, along with another fellow Seahawk, Robert Turbin, to bolster a backfield hit hard by injuries.
"Every once in a while, I got to tell you, I'm chuckling about it," Carroll said Friday. "There he is. He's back with us. It's exciting, and I like it, too, just like the fans like it."
And Carroll isn't just excited about the return of Lynch and Turbin for nostalgia's sake, he also likes what he saw out of those two in practice this week as they prepare to play in a regular-season finale against the 49ers that will determine the NFC West title.
"Both Marshawn and Robert Turbin did a nice job and worked hard with us and fit right in," Carroll said. "It's hard to imagine how it could be so seamless in terms of their learning and all, but they're veteran guys and they get it. They did a great job. We feel them. We felt that in practice, and looking forward to those guys participating in this game."
Neither Lynch nor Turbin has played this season, but Carroll said that didn't show this week.
"They fit right in," Carroll said. "You couldn't tell anything different that they weren't (in shape). The workouts before we got them here, that showed as well. We were somewhat assured that they'd be OK, and they looked really good out here."
Carroll wouldn't say how much either would play in comparison to rookie Travis Homer, but said those two are ready to help in some capacity despite having to learn an offense that's a little different than the one they played in during their previous stints with the Seahawks.
"We didn't teach them the whole notebook, we teach them the game plan, so that's somewhat less," Carroll said. "They handled everything. Really, they did. You'll see how the plan in how we're going to play these guys. I don't have any hesitation at all in what we're doing."
The addition of Lynch in particular added more this week than just backfield depth. He is, after all, one of the most iconic players in franchise history, and the buzz his signing has generated could be felt inside the VMAC, which was just fine with Carroll.
"There's no question, it's undeniable, there's an energy and a juice about him being back here," Carroll said. "He's been such an extraordinary player and character over the years. For this opportunity to come back at this time with all that's going on, Christmas and everything, New Year's just around the corner, it's just fitting that we were able to figure it out. I'm thrilled by the way he brought it and learned and studied and worked at it to fit in. It's only been an addition coming in. I'm fired up for it."
Carroll acknowledged that some young players might be a big starstruck around Lynch, noting that DK Metcalf remembers watching Lynch star in the NFL when the rookie receiver was only 13, but said Lynch has handled that part of his return well.
"He's such a good guy and he was so gracious about the way he re-entered," Carroll said. "He made it easy on those guys."
Lynch was very brief with the media this week, as expected, limiting his public comments to nine or so seconds on Tuesday, saying, "Happy holidays, merry new year. Y'all have a great day. It's a great feeling to be back. Thank you."
Turbin, however, spoke at length about his return to the Seahawks, calling it "a dream come true. It's like getting drafted all over again. This is the place I wanted to be if I had my choice… It was a dream for me all year. People would ask me, 'If you had your choice, where would you want to go?' I said, 'Man I would go back home, to Seattle. I would love to play there again.' Here we are. When we found out it was kind of funny. A big smile on my face, a big smile on his, like 'How did this happen again? How are we in the backfield again together?' Really ironic. It's a great situation."