There have been many weird events on this rocky Seahawks ride through the defense of their Super Bowl championship. But today's were extra odd.
Even more unusual than trading their $11 million wide receiver two days before a game.
DEA agents showed up to visit.
Yes, federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency showed up unannounced to talk to and inspect the Seahawks’ medical staff in Kansas City, where it was for the game at Arrowhead Stadium.
“The Seahawks can confirm that we received a visit from the DEA today,” the team’s public-relations staff told me in an e-mail from the team's plane after I asked following the game.
DEA agents also visited the San Francisco 49ers’ medical staffers at the New Jersey Meadowlands, where they were for their game against the New York Giants, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Washington, D.C.
ESPN, The Washington Post and other outlets first reported Sunday the DEA made the surprise inspections and interviews of team doctors and trainers to determine whether they are violating federal drug laws in the administration of prescription painkillers.
ESPN reported Sunday’s inspections “were motivated by allegations raised in a May 2014 federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of several prominent NFL players, who allege team physicians and trainers routinely gave them painkillers in an illegal manner to mask injuries and keep them on the field.”
The DEA is acting under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which requires among other regulations that only a licensed physician or nurse practitioner can distribute prescription drugs — and only within that physician or nurse practitioner’s geographic area of practice.
The Post reported a law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, saying the probe “focuses on practices across the 32-team league, including possible distribution of drugs without prescriptions or labels, and the dispensing of drugs by trainers rather than physicians.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement to ESPN Sunday.
“Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found,” the statement said.
Then there was the latest in the unique world of Marshawn Lynch.
After a three-and-out on their first drive Sunday, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell went back to the plan that netted Seattle a team-record 350 yards rushing in last week’s win over the Giants: He called four consecutive runs for Lynch.
Lynch then spent most of the first half when he wasn’t in the game getting his lower back rubbed by a trainer with balm as the bullish running back sat and leaned forward on a heated bench along the sideline. During timeouts when he was in the huddle he often bent at the waist, as if attempting to loosen his back.
Then as the rest of the Seahawks went into the locker room at halftime, Lynch didn't follow them in. He stayed outside.
It was 21 degrees, with a 10-degree wind chill. During the only break of the coldest-temperature November home game Kansas City has recorded, Lynch stayed outside for 20 more minutes, the only player from either team not inside?
“Yeah, he did,” Carroll said. “He thought it would be better for him to stay out.”
Asked if that was better for Lynch’s health, the coach said, “That’s what I understand.”
Lynch has missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday the past two weeks with what the team has listed as a calf issue and then this past Thursday a rib injury. Yet the four-time Pro Bowl running back has gained 140 and now 124 yards rushing in his past two games.
Lynch also had a $100,000 issue at stake following the game.
As usual, Lynch refused to talk to the media in the locker room after the game; he has talked there only once this season, following Seattle’s win over the Oakland Raiders three games ago. Lynch did talk to Michael Silver and former Seahawks teammate Michael Robinson, both of the league’s television network, on the phone following today's game. Did he call or at a minimum agree to talk to his good friend perhaps to avoid a potential fine of $100,000 from the NFL if he refused to talk the press again?
“Do I think I’ll be gone after this season?” Lynch said according to Silver, repeating a question the NFL Network reporter had asked him as Lynch sat on the Seahawks’ bus to the airport. “I don’t know, man. The Seahawks, their front office gets in the media; they talk a lot. I don’t talk too much. I just play the game.
“If they have something going on, I don't know about it.”
Lynch told Robinson the reason he didn’t go into the locker room at halftime was because “he couldn’t walk.”
Here's the thing with Lynch: Yes, he's far out of the ordinary. But the Seahawks still absolutely need him. If they hadn't given him the ball today, they may have been down four scores before halftime. He has 268 yards rushing in the last two games, following his career-high four touchdowns on the ground last week the got Seattle past the Giants.
Count me in the dwindling camp that thinks Lynch remains a Seahawk for next season.
Just another day in this weird 2014 season for the champs.
And, hey, I haven't even mentioned the 24-20 loss to the Chiefs with three failed fourth-down plays in the final 7:11 today in this post, either. Or the fact this team is in dire need of a center with invaluable Max Unger out for a while if not the final six games of the regular season with a high-ankle sprain and twisted knee. The Seahawks also need a guard. And a nose tackle and a linebacker and a ...
--Russell Wilson called this a "heartbreaking loss" and a game the Seahawks think "we could have -- and should have -- won."
Wilson also says he expects every one of the final six regular-season games will be thrillers -- like today's was, like the losses at San Diego, to Dallas, at St. Louis were.
“We’ve got six games left. And I bet all six games will come down the wire,” Wilson said.
“And if those six games come down the wire, I believe all six games we’re going to win.”