Jeremy Lane thrust himself, and by extension the Seahawks, into the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick by joining the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback in not standing for the national anthem before an NFL game.
Lane, Seattle’s fifth-year defensive back, sat alone on the Seahawks’ bench on the east side of the Coliseum in Oakland during the anthem before Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders. Lane sat expressionless while world-class saxophonist Mike Phillips played the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Late in the first half the Coliseum’s public-address announcer and its giant video boards recognized Phillips for what was indeed an exquisitely played anthem. On the Seahawks’ sideline, linebacker Bobby Wagner was among those in the stadium applauding.
This week, as the national controversy raged over Kaepernick’s stand against racial inequality in our country, three-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said he thought some Seahawks had talked about sitting during the national anthem.
“I think some of the guys have talked about it,” Sherman said Monday. “I haven’t particularly been in those discussions, but I’m sure some of them ... I sure if it’s going to happen — we do a national anthem every game, so we’ll see.”
Immediately after Lane sat Thursday, Sherman came over the bench and sat next to his fellow defensive back. The two talked briefly.
Lane then started at right cornerback as Seattle’s starting defense played just one series before exiting the final tune-up before the Sept. 11 opener against Miami.
At halftime, Lane walked off the field and into the tunnel to the locker room with his arms folded across his chest and without an expression on his face. That’s how he stood on the sidelines throughout most of the first half. He walked out of the locker room late after halftime then jogged around the outside of the field to the Seahawks’ sideline during play early in the third quarter.
BEAST MODE REUNION
Marshawn Lynch stood in the doorway of his place, in his hometown. He smile lit up the entire block of Broadway between 8th and 9th Streets in downtown Oakland.
He was the happiest, proudest doorman in the Bay Area on Thursday.
The retired Seahawks running back laughed and joked with Tom Cable as Seattle’s offensive line coach stood on the sidewalk just outside Lynch’s BeastMode retail store Thursday afternoon. Cable was one of his closest confidants through last season and a friend dating to when he was coach of Lynch’s hometown Raiders from 2008-10.
Cable was also one of a stream of Seahawks players, coaches and staffers to visit Lynch’s store hours before Seattle played the Raiders in the preseason finale. The Seahawks’ team hotel in downtown Oakland was a block and half from the store, which Lynch opened in early 2015 to sell his own brand of athletic wear he continues to promote through retirement.
Lynch posed with linebacker Brock Coyle and his mother, who was in from Montana, in a photo Coyle posted on social media.
Lynch retired in February after a nine-year NFL career, including 5 1/2 years in Seattle. He gained 6,347 of his 9,112 rushing yards and 7,656 of his 11,091 career yards from scrimmage for the Seahawks after a trade with Buffalo early in the 2010 season.
That was coach Pete Carroll’s and general manager John Schneider’s first year running the franchise.
Lynch scored 65 of his 83 career touchdowns for the Seahawks. He made four of his five Pro Bowls and became an All-Pro in 2012 with Seattle.
He is fourth in franchise history in rushing yards and attempts (1,457). Lynch ranks second in team history in rushing touchdowns (57), third in total TDs (65) and seventh in points scored (392). He also went to two Super Bowls with the Seahawks, winning Super Bowl 48.
The chances of former Washington Huskies wide receiver Kasen Williams and undrafted rookie receiver Tanner McEvoy to make the team after injuries late in the preseason took hits when neither played. Both were in full pads and participated in pregame warmups, though. … Former Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin was in uniform for the Raiders for pregame warmups and greeted Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, but Irvin did not play. Oakland kept almost all its starters out Thursday.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle