Coach Pete Carroll declared Marshawn Lynch “will play” in the Seahawks’ playoff opener Sunday at Minnesota, then said later Friday he never said that as the team listed its returning star running as questionable.
“No, he’s questionable,” Carroll said following Friday’s practice, using the official NFL term for a 50-50 chance to play. “We’ve got to go (Saturday) to see if he’s OK from (Friday’s practice). That same old thing. We just want to see how he’s taken to the week’s work and all of that.
“He looked good during the week and did some really good stuff. But we’ll just use all the time we have available (until kickoff).
“So I have not said yet that he’s playing. I know that’s been out there, but I don’t know, really, until we finish the week. ... We’re hoping so, and very optimistic about that.”
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As Carroll said that, Lynch was about 50 yards to his left shooting baskets on the side of the practice field with fellow running backs.
But here’s what the coach said earlier Friday on Seattle’s 710 AM radio, when he was asked if Lynch was “a go” for Sunday: “Yeah, he’s going to play. He’s looked really good in practice. He’s practiced as hard as he ever has throughout the week just to prove to himself that he was right, and I think as well as everybody else, so he’s ready to go and we’re anxious to see him fit in.”
You can hear that interview here:
Lynch has taken every snap each practice this week; Carroll noted that. The coach also remarked how much leaner the 29-year-old running back is as a result of his month rehabilitating with personal trainers in his native Bay Area. The bottom line: Unless he refuses to take the field Sunday in Minneapolis, he is playing.
But as with everything surrounding Lynch, especially with him, it’s up to him and no one else. So it could be Carroll simply doesn’t want to talk and decide for Lynch. Or it could be gamesmanship knowing the Vikings are listening.
The rest of the Seahawks’ injury situation is equally promising. Every player returning from injury will play Sunday with the exception of tight end Luke Willson. He is out while still recovering from a concussion he got two games ago against St. Louis.
Chancellor will play for the first time since he bruised his backside Dec. 13 in the win at Baltimore. His return will be important as Seattle tries to stop NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson for the second time in a month and cover Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, who led Minnesota with five touchdown catches in the regular season.
Willson’s absence aside, Sunday will be as fully healthy as the Seahawks have been since Lynch went out in mid-November.
Oh, by the way, the updated forecast for Sunday in Minneapolis, where the game will kickoff at noon local time: a high of 5 degrees, a low of minus-4 with a wind chill during daylight hours approaching 10 below zero.