The Seahawks signed Marshawn Lynch this week because of need.
With their top three running backs out for the season, someone had to join Travis Homer in Seattle's running back room, and the Seahawks determined that Lynch and Robert Turbin were the best fits.
But while need led to the reunion with one of the most beloved figures in franchise history, the signing of Lynch could provide more for the team than whatever yardage he is able to gain against the 49ers this week and in the playoffs.
"He brings a lot to the table," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's as physical a player as I've ever been around, as great of competitor as I've ever been around. When you get to add somebody like that to your team, it only helps and enhances the mentality that we already cherish anyway. We'll find out how he can play and how he does—it's been a little while off. He looks great in the first couple looks at him in as far as his conditioning and all that. His weight is down. He's in a really good spot for coming and going for it. He was very serious about getting ready for this opportunity. The stroke of misfortune in some regards really opens the door, which happens at times. He's ready to take the full opportunity at hand and see what he can do to help us."
Carroll and the Seahawks have maintained a good relationship with Lynch since he initially walked away from the game following the 2015 season, and in conversations with Lynch this week, Carroll saw a player who feels like he still has a lot to offer after having his 2018 season with Oakland cut short by injury.
"He is highly motivated to do everything he can do in this game, he really is," Carroll said. "He wants to do everything he could possibly do, and he wasn't done. He got in the situation where he was injured and had a rehab and all that, and it just didn't fit together right away, but he's not done playing, he wants to go, so this is his entree, and he's going to go for it. He won't hold back, he won't hold back one bit. I'm looking forward to see what happens."
Despite a long layoff, those who know Lynch believe he can make an impact both between the lines and in the locker room.
"I definitely feel like anything this dude puts his mind to, he can get done," said linebacker Bobby Wagner. "I'm excited to have him back, excited to see him run the ball. Whenever he puts his jersey and pads on, he's a guy nobody wants to tackle no matter how long he has taken off."
Wagner added that the addition of Lynch "definitely gives the team a little energy to see a guy like that, a guy people look up to, a guy who has so much history here, so much history throughout the league—not just on the field but off the field—to have a guy like that come in the room and watch him run the ball again, it'll be fun."
Luke Willson, who played with Lynch for three seasons, recognized that Lynch's signing is affecting more people than just those who will go to work with him this week.
"I'm sure the city's buzzing right now, as they should be," Willson said. "It's going to be really exciting on Sunday to see 24 rolling. It'll be pretty sweet."
Added Carroll, "I'm not surprised," about how Seahawks fans have celebrated this news. "He has impacted a lot of people around here, people who love the Seahawks. He has been something very special, so I'm thrilled for the fans that they're having fun with it and all of that, and I'll be really thrilled if he knocks out about 110 in the ballgame."
As for what is realistic for Lynch and Turbin this week, Carroll said he needs to see them in practice this week before knowing that, but also noted that rookie Travis Homer is ready to take on a bigger role, as he was forced to do last week when Carson and Prosise left the game with injuries in the second quarter, leaving Homer as the only available running back the rest of the way.
"Travis is ready to go," Carroll said. "He's knows everything. He's been through our system for the whole year. He showed that he was ready to play football and he did a good job in the game. We lean on him because of his background with us and his toughness and his speed and his play making. We're pleased to have that opportunity. That's good fortune to have him ready to go. We'll just fit the guys in. Give me a couple days here. This is the first day."
The Seahawks have changed offensive coordinators and offensive line coaches since Lynch and Turbin last played for Seattle, but Carroll said that while terminology has changed, there are enough similarities in the two systems that they should be able to get up to speed quickly.
"There's a lot of similarities," Carroll said. "For the most part, it's similar. It's more similar than it isn't. There's terminology that's tacked onto stuff in motions and formations and things like that that are some new things that he has to pick up. The fundamental part of it, it's very much the same."
Take a look back at some of the best photos from Marshawn Lynch's six seasons spent with the Seattle Seahawks as the running back rejoins the club in 2019.