First the news from talking with general manager John Schneider this morning here in Indianapolis at the NFL scouting combine: It came well after his main podium appearance, in a side hallway in the lobby of Lucas Oil Stadium where he said nickel back Jeremy Lane also needs knee surgery, the result of the end-zone interception and return in the first quarter of the Super Bowl Feb. 1 on which Lane also broke his arm. That means Lane will likely miss the start of next season, at least the preseason if not the real games.
Schneider said Lane sustained a major knee injury while getting knifed down to the turf on a low, shoulder blow by New England receiver Julian Edelman at the end of that return to the 14-yard line. Now that doctors have basically put his fractured arm back together they will fix his knee.
The GM also said All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas has yet to have the surgery he needs to repair his the left shoulder he dislocated in the first half of the NFC championship Jan. 18 and played with the rest of that game and in Super Bowl 49. Not sure why that hasn't happened yet, but the fact it's late February and he's yet to have the procedure means Thomas is likely to miss or at least be greatly limited at the start of training camp in late July.
Compound that with Schneider today sounding resigned that Seahawks are about to lose starting cornerback Byron Maxwell to a "strong" market for him in unrestricted free agent next month and the fact the team isn't yet sure if Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor needs knee surgery, and Seattle has depth issues in the secondary that have moved up in priority for free agency and the draft.
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Man, do the Seahawks sure wish Lane had just taken a knee for the touchback when he intercepted Tom Brady's pass 5 yards deep in the end zone in the Super Bowl.
For the non-news news: Schneider and the Seahawks haven't gotten any more clarity on whether Marshawn Lynch wants to return to play in 2015 or retire as a 29-year-old star running back who just led the NFL with 19 total touchdowns this past season.
"Not yet. I think everybody needs time away -- especially at that position and the way he runs the ball -- time to hit the reset button," Schneider said. "I've talked to his people a bunch, his representatives. He knows we want him to play."
Asked if it would shock him if Lynch did retire, Schneider said: "Not really. He's a guy that just kind of beats to his own drum. He does what he wants. He would never let you know one way or the other. There have been a lot of great running backs who just walked away. So, I have no idea."
And that's the issue for the Seahawks: Lynch not letting the team know one way or the other. Seattle and Schneider want to know sooner than last year, when Lynch left his status in limbo until he ended a mini-contract holdout eight days into training camp through late July. Schneider is trying to move the needle far sooner this time, as in, before free agency that begins March 10, so the Seahawks know whether they need to acquire or draft a top running back to replace him.
"Yeah, we'd like to know soon," Schneider said, adding the team has a deadline date on Lynch's choice but "not for public knowledge."
The GM also said he is having ongoing, "amicable" negotiations with the agent for quarterback Russell Wilson on a new contract beyond the one that expires following the 2015 season. No timetable on getting that done.
Schneider said defensive tackle Brandon Mebane is recovering well from the hamstring he tore in November and that the veteran should be healthy by summer.
As for Lynch, I sense the Seahawks expect him to come back to play the final season of his four-year contract but Schneider is merely saying with Lynch you just never know. Schneider has already said Lynch is going to get a new deal that will void the $5 million base salary and $2 million roster bonus based on being on the active game-day roster each regular-season game. It will be a one that is likely to have a lower base salary but higher bonuses and guarantees for Lynch that will lower his salary-cap number for 2015 that is currently scheduled to be $8.5 million.
"Marshawn, he's phenomenal. Obviously he's a heartbeat guy," Schneider said. "A guy like that, you do everything you can to let him go to work. The guy loves playing football."