It took an unexpected source to pump much-needed brakes on the runaway rumors Marshawn Lynch wants to un-retire, that he has already asked for the Seahawks to release him from his contract so he can play in 2017 for his hometown Oakland Raiders.
It took the star running back’s agent.
Doug Hendrickson, who is based in Lynch’s native Bay Area, talked on San Francisco’s KNBR radio Monday. Hendrickson was at the station’s studio with one of his clients, quarterback Davis Webb, a month before the 2016 quarterback for the University of California finds out where he will drafted into the NFL.
Hendrickson was asked by veteran KNBR host Gary Radnich how much of the rumors about Lynch and the Raiders is “media talk, and how much of it is maybe Marshawn and you guys got bored one day (and said), ‘Oh, what the hell,’ you know, ‘let’s just throw something out and see if it sticks’?
“Or, how much of this is really, ‘Hey, he’s coming back. It’s just a matter of working something out?’”
“Well, in all sincerity,” Hendrickson replied, “I mean, Marshawn’s been in Canada. I’m due to see him this week. So he and I have not spoken about this at all. So it was the media took the ball and kind of ran with it.”
Here is my story on how it’s been running since Friday.
“He’s one of the most unique guys I’ve ever been with in my life,” Hendrickson said on KNBR. “And, so, Marshawn, it wouldn’t shock me in three days (if) he says, ‘Hey, I want to play.’ It wouldn’t shock me if he says, ‘No, I don’t know where this came from. I don’t want to play.’”
Hendrickson said Lynch wouldn’t perhaps want to return to playing because he needs money. The agent said the retired running back’s “Beast Mode” line of gear, including what Lynch sells at his flagship store in downtown Oakland, a couple miles from where he went to high school at Oakland Tech, nets “seven figures” annually.
Lynch earned an estimated $49.7 million from football salaries, contract bonuses and incentive clauses on the field during his career with the Buffalo Bills then the Seahawks from 2007-15, according to sportrac.com.
“No, he’s hasn’t spent any of the money he’s made,” Hendrickson said. “He’s got a lot of money.
“He does miss football, no question. He loves the game of football.”
A league source told me Friday a Huffington Post report that the retired running back met with coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider on Thursday and “asked to be released” from the Seahawks is false.
Lynch was in the Seattle area Thursday. When he is in town he often stops by the Seahawks’ team headquarters in Renton to hang out with his former teammates through 2015. But I was told he didn’t ask the Seahawks’ decision makers or anyone of authority for anything that would back rumors he wants to return to playing -- and that his hometown Oakland Raiders are talking to him about him playing for them. Lynch was in Washington again on Saturday, with Seahawks center Justin Britt at a football camp at a middle school in the Spokane Valley.
Check out Lynch behind Britt at the 1:14 mark of this report on the camp day from Spokane’s KREM television.
Lynch wanting to play again, for the Raiders, may or may not be true. He has been rumored to want to finish his playing days in a Raiders uniform since before he famously tweeted his retirement in February 2016.
If Lynch, who turns 31 next month, indeed wants to come back to play he must first request to the NFL his reinstatement in writing. There has been no indication from the league nor Lynch’s agent that the retired running back has done that.
The Seahawks have retained Lynch’s contract rights while he’s been on their reserve/retired list through 2017 under the contract extension he signed before the 2015 season. That deal included a $7.5 signing bonus. Lynch would be, according to letter of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, subject to paying back the 2016 proration on that signing bonus, a sum of $2.5 million for the season he was “retired.”
The Seahawks wouldn’t have to actually collect that. And unless it got contentious I don’t believe they would. They have made special financial agreements with him before, such as when they waived the fines that the league’s collective bargaining agreement entitled the team to collect after Lynch held out during the first week of 2014’s training camp.
Then there’s the $9 million charge that would come back onto Seattle’s salary cap for 2017 should Lynch ask for his reinstatement and get it from the NFL. That cap charge -- plus from, say, the Raiders’ end, the fact Lynch will be 31 and not having played a full season in three years -- makes a trade hard to pull off. So the Seahawks might be more likely to decide to release him.
“I’m going to meet with him this week,” Hendrickson told KNBR. “I don’t know what his mindset is.
“I mean, he’s the kind of guy that can shift by the hour. So, we’ll see.”