Seattle Seahawks

Punting Marshawn Lynch? Proof how loose Seahawks are for NFC title game

The rap music that had been blaring throughout practice had just ended. Marshawn Lynch picked up a stray football — and punted it as high as he could.

The 1,300-yard rusher was trying to hit the ceiling of the Seahawks’ indoor practice field at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

He just missed. It clanged high off the metal wall behind an end zone as the rest of the NFC West champions began forming a circle around coach Pete Carroll to adjoin the final full practice before Sunday’s conference title game against Green Bay at CenturyLink Field.

Jon Ryan, Seattle’s real punter, loved it. He gave Lynch a fist bump.

That’s how loose the Seahawks are for this game that will determine whether they become the first team since the 2004 New England Patriots to return to the Super Bowl the season after winning it.

“The demeanor is the same it’s always been,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Championship mindset.”

Rap music. The coach hosting basketball-shooting contests on a full-sized rim in a meeting room before practices, and throwing footballs during them. The lead running back punting to the ceiling — and the punter fist-bumping the rugged Pro Bowl back.

Yes, “championship mindset” is different with these Seahawks.

“Preparation was the kind that we need,” Carroll said Friday. “And it makes us feel good going into the weekend. It’s what we hope to accomplish each week.”

The bullish Lynch, by the way, has more all-around football skill that his NFL career has revealed. This week Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recalled when he and Lynch were college teammates at California in 2004, Lynch’s first season there and Rodgers’ last.

“Marshawn was an extremely gifted athlete,” Rodgers said. “He used to always challenge me in throwing competitions. And I won’t say I beat him every single time, because he’s got a heck of an arm — distance-wise, not accuracy.

“He was a great teammate. We had a lot of fun. Oakland guy. He loved being in the Bay Area and represent for his city, as he used to say. He’s a talented guy. It’s been fun to watch him and follow him and see him at the various events.”

BRITT QUESTIONABLE

Rookie right tackle Justin Britt is the only Seahawks starter iffy to play Sunday. He’s questionable with a sore knee he got coming out of last weekend’s win over Carolina.

“He was limited (Friday). We’re going to find out on game day,” Carroll said, adding that Alvin Bailey would start if Britt, who started all of the first 17 games, cannot play in this one.

EXTRA POINTS

Backup S and special-teamer Jeron Johnson is questionable with an elbow injury. He hasn’t played since getting hurt in the regular-season finale Dec. 28 against St. Louis. … Lynch, C Max Unger (ankle), DT Tony McDaniel (shoulder), TE Tony Moeaki (calf) and CB Tharold Simon (illness) are probable. … Recording artist Katharine McPhee will sing Sunday’s national anthem. Rockers Alice in Chains will play at halftime. … Asked what makes the Seahawks’ 12th Man fans such a huge advantage for the team in games such as Sunday’s, Carroll said: “They care so much that they give so much. The makeup of the people that are in this area, they really care about their teams. I noticed it when we were in college (coaching USC) coming up here. In the old Kingdome, it was crazy in the Kingdome. Whatever it is … it’s something in the water here. We have great fans with great heart.”

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