GREEN BAY, Wis.—Marshawn Lynch was non-committal when asked if he wanted to come back to play next season, but it's entirely possible that Sunday's loss in Green Bay was the 33-year-old running back's last with the Seahawks, and perhaps in the NFL. And if that indeed was it for Lynch, his teammates were thrilled to have gotten to play three more games with the player who became a Seattle icon in his first stint with the team from 2010-2015.
Lynch, who signed with the Seahawks in Week 17 having not played since October of 2018, filled a need for a team that had lost its top three running backs to season-ending injuries. Lynch scored four touchdowns in three games with the Seahawks, but his bigger impact might have come off the field in how he mentored young players, especially rookie running back Travis Homer.
"For Marshawn to come back, it meant a lot to us," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "What Marshawn was able to do, to be able to talk to the young guys like Homer, to lift him up and inspire him, to be able to just step in with great leadership and great focus, and a lot of fun too. He did some special things. It was a lot of fun playing with 24 again."
Lynch's two touchdowns in Sunday loss were the 11th and 12th postseason rushing touchdowns of his career, tied for the fourth most in NFL history with Pro Football Hall of Fame running back backs Terrell Davis and John Riggins. The three players ahead of them are also all in the Hall of Fame: Emmett Smith (19), Franco Harris (16), Thurman Thomas (16).
Lynch succinctly described his comeback with the Seahawks as "solid" and his four touchdowns in three games as "pretty solid," but then Lynch, who is usually short with the media, used his time in front of a camera to preach financial responsibility to young players.
"It's a vulnerable time for a lot of these young dudes," Lynch said. "They need to be taking care of their chicken right, you feel me? If it was me, or if I had an opportunity to let these little young (players) know something, I'd say 'take care of your money, African, cause that (expletive) don't last forever.' Now I've been on the other side of retirement and it's good when you get over there and you can do what the (expletive) you want to, so I'll tell y'all right now while y'all in it, take care of your bread so when you're done, you go ahead and take care of yourself. So while y'all at it right now, take care of y'all's bodies, take care of y'all's chicken, take care of y'all's mentals. Because look, we ain't lasting that long. I had a couple players that I played with that they're no longer here. They're no longer. So start taking care of y'all mentals, y'all bodies and y'all chicken, so when you're ready to walk away, you walk away and you can be able to do what you want to do."
And if it wasn't clear from the context, chicken=money in the above quote.
Prior to meeting with the media, Lynch also ventured to Green Bay's locker room to catch up with former Cal teammate Aaron Rodgers.
"Marshawn and I became fast friends back in 2004, the only year we got to play together," Rodgers told reporters. "He is one of my all-time favorite teammates and I only got to play one year with him, but he has just an incredible personality and charisma and he's just so fun to be around. There was a conversation years ago about picking him up in a trade that fell through. That would have been a lot of fun to play some more years together, but I just have a ton of respect for him and his career. He's one of those transcendent players that is so likeable and so respected by so many people, and I'm just fortunate to have gotten to play with him for a year. So we were just catching up, talking about some silly stuff that happened back in the day and seeing where he's at. He's a lot of fun to be around and it's fun to see him."
No one knows for certain if Sunday's game was it for Lynch, but if it was, the Seahawks were glad to get another chance to have him as a teammate.
"It was amazing to have him back," linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "He came back and you could just tell he's experienced a lot since he left. He's traveled a lot and obviously playing for different organizations and things. And he came back and his willingness to want to share that information with young guys and myself, it was something that everyone in that room is forever going to remember because he shared a lot of things people can take and use, not just football, but in life. We really grateful for him coming back and giving us everything he had. It was fun to watch him again, watch him run people over and extend to the goal line. It was special."