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February 10, 2015 at 10:34 AM

Seahawks general manager John Schneider says RB Marshawn Lynch mulling retirement

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch talks with the media Friday at the Arizona Grand Hotel. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch talks with the media Friday at the Arizona Grand Hotel. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

There have long been rumors that Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch might consider retiring after this season.

In a radio interview on 710 ESPN Seattle Tuesday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider made the strongest statement yet from the organization that retirement is indeed a possibility for the Seattle star running back, saying Lynch has yet to make a decision about playing in 2015.

“Whether or not he wants to play next year, I can’t answer that,” Schneider said in an interview on the Brock and Salk Show on the team’s flagship station. “I don’t know if he knows at this juncture.”

Schneider said Lynch, who turns 29 in April, “needs to find out where he’s at” so the team can go forward with negotiations on a new contract.

Schneider confirmed the team will re-do Lynch’s contract if he does return in 2015, saying “he knows if he’s back he’s not going to be playing at the same number he’s scheduled to make.”

Schneider did not go into specifics on the salary cap number. Lynch is scheduled to make a base of $5 million in 2015 with a roster bonus of $2 million a salary cap hit of $8.5 million, with $1.5 million in dead money.

Reports have been that the Seahawks would give Lynch a raise for next year and an extension, but one that could lessen the cap hit in 2015.

Schneider said Lynch understands that the team’s unwillingness to re-do his contract last year was about the team not wanting to set a precedent of renegotiating contracts that have more than a year remaining (Lynch held out for a week but returned after the team made some concessions to guarantee an additional $1.5 million in his deal for 2014).

Schneider said if the team had reworked Lynch’s contract last summer with two years remaining then “everybody would be standing outside my office looking for a new contract whenever they wanted. … so he knows that. But he also knows he’s  a huge part of what we are doing. He’s just extremely important to what we have going on here and moving forward and the decisions that we make throughout this off-season.”

Schneider noted that the team has played two consecutive long seasons and that could be a factor in Lynch’s indecision at the moment.

“It’s hard for these guys,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of football these last two years, and especially the way this guy runs the ball. It’s taxing on his body. And so he needs to reset himself and get in that mind frame of ‘okay, I’m ready to get moving here again and get prepared for another season of this.’ And so obviously we’d like to have a decision as quickly as we could so we can move forward. But we’d love to have him back.”

Asked again about wanting a decision quickly, Schneider reiterated: “You would hope. Sure, you would hope. But like I said this is a taxing thing on these guys. We’ve played a lot of football these last two years. It may not happen over night.”

Here are some other notes from what Schneider said this morning. …

—  Asked about Russell Wilson’s contract, Schneider hinted at Wilson being willing to get creative with his deal to give the team flexibility to continue winning, saying that “Russell Wilson wants to win championships” and that that means “thinking outside of the box a lot of times. We will do that with Russell. Russell knows there are certain dominoes that have to fall into place. … He knows, he gets it. He wants to win. He wants to win for a long time.” Schneider said he has already talked to Wilson’s agent and to Wilson but did not offer a timeline for when a deal may get done.

— Of the Super Bowl, Schneider said the team had 11 missed tackles and allowed 196 yards after the catch, which was the most all season.

— He noted again the team is ahead of last year’s schedule in its off-season preparation for the draft and free agency, making a decision to move those ahead after feeling things get cramped last year with the run to the Super Bowl.

— He said last year the team entered free agency focused on Golden Tate and Michael Bennett and noted that this year the team already has deals done with what would have been two of its marquee unrestricted free agents in Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright.

— He said the team will have 10 draft picks but noted that the compensatory picks are still to be determined and said that the draft “looks like it’s going to be pretty cool. … the board looks like it has some balance to it.”

— Asked about the Percy Harvin trade, he reiterated what he has said in the past that there was no one incident that led to it but that “just over a period of time it just became evident” it needed to happen. He said one thing that helped them make the trade was recalling how the team played in 2013 without him.

— He said he’s confident the Super Bowl loss won’t derail the Seahawks, talking about the resilience of the team and the coaching staff and that “I just have the confidence in the coaching staff and everybody that we have upstairs that we are going to get this thing back on track. Now, are there challenges? Absolutely. But to have a coach like Pete Carroll and players who at their core are true competitors within, we have a chance to be a championship-caliber football team for a long time.”



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