The Seattle Seahawks have had plenty of oddities happen to them during this defense of their Super Bowl championship.
Sunday brought something even more unusual than trading their $11 million wide receiver two days before a game.
Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency showed up unannounced and visited the Seahawks in Kansas City. That’s where Seattle lost to the Chiefs, 24-20.
“The Seahawks can confirm that we received a visit from the DEA today,” the team’s public-relations staff said after an inquiry from The News Tribune following the game.
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DEA agents also visited the San Francisco 49ers in New Jersey, where they were for their game against the New York Giants, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Washington, D.C.
ESPN, The Washington Post and other outlets first reported Sunday the DEA made the surprise inspections and interviews of team doctors and trainers to determine whether they are violating federal drug laws in the administration of prescription painkillers.
ESPN reported Sunday’s inspections “were motivated by allegations raised in a May 2014 federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of several prominent NFL players, who allege team physicians and trainers routinely gave them painkillers in an illegal manner to mask injuries and keep them on the field.”
The DEA is acting under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which requires among other regulations that only a licensed physician or nurse practitioner can distribute prescription drugs — and only within that physician or nurse practitioner’s geographic area of practice.
The Post reported a law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, saying the probe “focuses on practices across the 32-team league, including possible distribution of drugs without prescriptions or labels, and the dispensing of drugs by trainers rather than physicians.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement to ESPN.
“Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found,” the statement said.
ANOTHER ODD DAY FOR LYNCH
After a three-and-out on their first drive Sunday, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell went back to the plan that netted Seattle a team-record 350 yards rushing in last week’s win over the Giants: He called four consecutive runs for Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch then spent most of the first half when he wasn’t in the game getting his lower back rubbed by a trainer with balm as the bullish running back sat and leaned forward on a heated bench along the sideline. During timeouts when he was in the huddle he often bent at the waist, as if attempting to loosen his back.
Then as the rest of the Seahawks went into the locker room at halftime, Lynch stayed outside in the 21-degree air with a 10-degree wind chill. At the only break of the coldest-temperature November home game Kansas City has recorded, Lynch stayed outside.
“Yeah, he did,” Carroll said. “He thought it would be better for him to stay out.”
Asked if that was better for Lynch’s health, the coach said, “That’s what I understand.”
Lynch has missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday the past two weeks with what the team has listed as a calf issue and then this past Thursday a rib injury. Yet the four-time Pro Bowl running back has gained 140 and now 124 yards rushing in his past two games.
As usual, Lynch declined to talk to the media in the locker room following the game; he has talked there only once this season, following Seattle’s win over the Oakland Raiders three games ago. Lynch did talk to Michael Silver and former Seahawks teammate Michael Robinson, both of the league’s television network, on the phone following the game — perhaps to avoid a potential fine of $100,000 from the NFL if he refused to talk the press again.
“Do I think I’ll be gone after this season?” Lynch said to Silver, repeating a question the NFL Network reporter had asked him as Lynch sat on the Seahawks’ bus to the airport. “I don’t know, man. The Seahawks, their front office gets in the media; they talk a lot. I don’t talk too much. I just play the game.
“If they have something going on, I don't know about it.”
Lynch told Robinson the reason he didn’t go into the locker room at halftime was because “he couldn’t walk.”
FORMER SEAHAWKS BEAT former TEAM
Given the way injuries have affected the Seahawks’ depth, it might have been painful to see a couple of former Hawks playing so well for Kansas City on Sunday.
Strong safety Ron Parker led the Chiefs with 11 tackles, and defensive tackle Jaye Howard had three tackles, two for losses.
Parker has been released eight times by three teams, including the Seahawks in 2011 and 2012. Howard was a fourth-round draft pick of the Seahawks in 2012, but released in 2013.
“It’s everything I dream of; I was waiting for this day a long time, and it was just great to go out there today and compete against those guys,” Parker said. “They showed me a lot of respect. A lot of guys came up to me and told me how much they missed me and how good of a job I’m doing over here. At the end of the day, we’re all brothers.”
Howard was similarly motivated.
“I thought about it all week,” Howard said of having been released by Seattle. “And I just had to get revenge somehow.”
Howard said his experience practicing against the Seahawks helped somewhat, although “the whole offensive line changed since I was there.”
Howard recalls taking his release by Seattle personally.
“You do at the time, but it worked out for me,” he said. “I’m happy to be a member of the Chiefs. But at the time it (hurt); it definitely did.”
Seahawks WR and special-teams gunner Ricardo Lockette got ejected for punching the face mask of Chiefs S Kurt Coleman following a punt by Seattle in the second half. Coleman had gone undetected shoving Lockette on the Chiefs’ sideline before officials flagged Lockette’s conspicuous retaliation. Carroll wasn’t thrilled. “If a guy throws a punch for whatever reason, it’s wrong,” he said. “I don’t know what the circumstances were, but there are no circumstances where I will warrant that.” … Former Chiefs starting TE Tony Moeaki, who played college ball at Northern Iowa, had 12 family members and friends at the game. He also had the ball under his arm afterward that he caught from Russell Wilson for his first TD since Seattle signed him two weeks ago. … None of the Seahawks’ inactives were a surprise: S Steven Terrell, DB Marcus Burley, LB Brock Coyle, LB Bobby Wagner, T Andrew McDonald, G James Carpenter, TE RaShaun Allen. As expected, S Kam Chancellor started his first game in three weeks and had five tackles. He had been out with a groin injury and is still playing with bone spurs in his ankles.