Go to 2:18 to hear coach Pete Carroll's most unequivocal public pronouncement yet that he and the Seahawks want their 28-year-old star running back on the team beyond this season -- contrary to two national reports last month that said the Seahawks are tired of his "act."
"That came from totally somewhere else," Carroll said today of the report on Oct. 26 by ESPN's Chris Mortensen and one by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that same morning before Seattle's game at Carolina that said "I would not be surprised if the Seahawks took a RB very early in the draft and essentially replace Beast Mode on their roster.”
"We want him around here for as long as he can play," Carroll said following this afternoon's indoor practice here in Renton for Sunday's mammoth game against NFC West-leading Arizona. "There's never been any hesitation. There's never been another thought about that. That came totally from somewhere else.
"He's under contract for next year. We'd be thrilled to have him playing for us next year. So we'll do everything we can to get that done."
This is consistent with what we've been discussing for months on here: Lynch is too essential, too consistently and dependably productive and emblematic to Carroll's football philosophy of power running and defense, too important to the Seahawks' offense and team for the franchise to suddenly disown him a couple months from now.
As for the start of Carroll's comments, "if you ever would have asked me": Some of that predates my time here by a week or so, back in training camp in late July and early August. Carroll said then during Lynch's one-week contract holdout that netted him an additional $1.5 million in guaranteed cash on his current deal that ends after next season that he and the team weren't going to talk about Lynch's contract status.
But Carroll also got asked in a Monday press conference, Oct.. 27, the day after those "tired of his act" reports, directly about whether those reports had any validity.
"I have nothing to say about that because there’s nothing to that. I have no idea where that came from," Carroll said Oct. 27. "We have nothing to say about that. At this point I don’t think it behooves us to try and respond to all of these kinds of things in the locker room. Our players have told you how they feel, our coaches have told you how we feel about it and were in a really good place right now. It’s just not worth it so there’s nothing to that at all. I don’t know where that came from."
Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest then asked a follow-up, on if he would say he gets a chance to talk to Lynch regularly or infrequently.
"Whenever I need to," Carroll responded, curtly. "Look, what do you want me to say? Are you asking me about my personal relationship with my players now?
"We’re doing great. Everything is going great. He’s doing fine. He works his tail off. I report about him all the time because he’s done such a great job. Since the day he got back here, he looked terrific. He returned in great shape. He has busted his tail. He has done everything we have asked of him. We have a whole process of how we bring him back every week. We have managed that great. Our trainers do a great job with him. He’s always ready to play and he’s played his tail off so he’s doing great."
Lynch, who turns 29 in the spring, has had an recurring lower-back issue that had him on the sidelines getting it massaged last weekend and even kept him outside on the bench getting treatment at in 10-degree wind chills during halftime of the loss at Kansas City. But he also is fourth in the NFL with 813 yards rushing and first with nine rushing touchdowns. He is the only NFL player to rush for 1,000 yards and score at least 10 rushing touchdowns in every season since 2011.
His contract's final season of 2015 calls for him to receive $5 million in base pay with up to $2 million in roster and performance bonuses, with a cap hit of $8.5 million in 2015.
I'm thinking we can interpret the "we'll do everything we can to get that done" part of Carroll's comments to mean the Seahawks will attempt to re-negotiate with Lynch before next season with more money for Lynch in bonuses on a new deal for perhaps two or three years -- with less base pay and a lower salary-cap hit against the team.
Then again, a cynic may ask: What else is Carroll going to say, on the eve of the six games that will decide the Seahawks' season? The team needs Lynch at his absolute and motivated best right now.
We shall see.