RENTON – Don’t count Marshawn Lynch out yet.
Despite reports that he might not play in the Seattle Seahawks’ season-opening game Sunday at Arizona, Lynch said he’s preparing himself as if he will be available this weekend.
Lynch has not practiced for the past two weeks, including Wednesday, because of back spasms, although he participated in the team’s morning walk-through.
He has also not played in a game since Seattle’s Aug. 18 exhibition game in Denver.
“I feel good,” Lynch said when asked about his health. “It will be my body’s decision. But I’ve taken the appropriate steps to make sure that I don’t have to do something out of the ordinary to get ready.”
Also, Lynch for the first time publicly addressed his DUI charge in Oakland during the summer, saying he did not want to get into the specifics of the matter.
“That’s getting handled,” Lynch said. “That’s a legal matter, so I can’t speak on it. But I’m doing great as a person.”
Lynch, 26, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol on July 15 when an officer observed him driving north on Interstate 880 in Oakland, weaving in and out of lanes in a white Ford van, and nearly colliding with two cars.
After failing a preliminary sobriety test, Lynch was taken into custody and transported to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office’s north county jail in Oakland. Lynch submitted to a Breathalyzer test, and the test came back positive, meaning that his blood alcohol content level was over the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s office filed charges against Lynch for driving under the influence of alcohol. Lynch has not been disciplined by the league as of Wednesday, so it appears that he’s been cleared to play until the matter is resolved in court.
As for the back injury, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he will take a day-by-day approach and see where his star running back winds up at the end of the week.
If Lynch can’t go, Carroll feels more confident than he did last year with rookie Robert Turbin in the fold. The Utah State product finished the preseason with 165 yards on 38 carries and a 25-yard run for a score, for a 4.3 per-carry average.
“Right now, (Robert) Turbin will take all of the first-team snaps and get us ready,” Carroll said. “We’ll be prepared to rotate our guys just like we always do. And Lump (Kregg Lumpkin) will be ready to go if we need him, too. But you can’t cancel Marshawn out right now. It’s too early to know that. He looked fine today.”
Lynch’s teammates expect to see “Beast Mode” on the field on Sunday.
“I think he’ll be fine, but we’ll see,” Seattle offensive tackle Breno Giacomini said. “If not, we’ve got some other guys that will get in there and get the job done.”
Lynch said with Seattle’s defense playing at a high level right now, it might not matter who’s in the backfield.
“With our defense playing the way they’ve been playing, we don’t even need an offense,” Lynch joked. “But the way the offense has looked in preseason, I know that we’re playing for each other – offense for defense, and defense for offense.”
SWEEZY GETS NOD
Carroll confirmed that rookie, seventh-round draft choice J.R. Sweezy will start at right guard in the season opener at Arizona.
The North Carolina State product is a converted defensive tackle who has showed an impressively quick learning curve in picking up the new position since rookie mini-camp in May.
Sweezy supplants last year’s third-round draft choice John Moffitt, who missed most of training camp with an elbow injury that required surgery.
“He’s earned his way,” Carroll said. “He’s our starter.”
Sweezy, who started three games during preseason, said he’s looking forward to getting out on the field.
“I’m excited,” Sweezy said. “I’m excited to have this opportunity. I’m excited to be put in this place in switching to offense and it working out. I’m excited for the game. It’s just kind of surreal, but it’s happening now. I’m not nervous. We’ve already had four preseason games, so I’ll just approach it the same way.”
Sweezy joins quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner to give Seattle three rookie starters heading into Sunday’s game.
LIGHT ON WINSLOW
Carroll provided more details on Seattle surprisingly releasing Kellen Winslow during final roster cut-downs last week, saying that performance and health were not factors in the veteran tight end leaving Seattle.
The Seahawks gave up a conditional, seven-round pick in a May trade with Tampa Bay for Winslow. But the pick was contingent on Winslow making the final roster, so Seattle will not be obligated to give up the pick.
Winslow has had chronic knee issues throughout his professional career. He had a workout with New England this week, but reportedly failed a physical with the Patriots.
“He did all right,” Carroll said about Winlsow. “He made it through and we did a considerable effort to manage him, but he exceeded our expectations in how much he could work. And he never wanted out; he always wanted to practice. So I didn’t know that about him, and I was impressed with that.
“He hated having to miss something because he loves to play.”
That really leaves only one reason for Winslow’s release – money. The Seahawks were on the hook for three years and $13 million in salary for Winslow, including $3.3 million in base salary for the 2012 season.
The Seahawks reportedly asked Winslow to take a pay cut, which he declined. So he was released.
“Everything’s a factor – and every side of it,” Carroll said about Winslow’s contract factoring into the decision. “Whether they’re making a lot of money, or they’re not making a lot of money – we take everything into account to make those decisions, and consider every aspect of it, because we have to. That’s how we do it.”
Carroll did not rule out the possibility of Winslow returning to the team later this season.
“Kellen did a great job in my mind,” Carroll said. “And if there was a time down the road that we could get back to him, we would consider doing that.”
Receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstring) practiced on Wednesday. However, receiver Golden Tate has a sprained knee and did not practice, leaving his availability in question for Sunday. Braylon Edwards would start at receiver if Tate can’t go. Rookie defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (hamstring) also did not practice. … Seahawks owner Paul Allen flew into the team headquarters by seaplane and attended practice on Wednesday, talking with general manager John Schneider for most of the practice.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks/