A week after Seattle general manager John Schneider first said publicly that running back Marshawn Lynch is mulling retirement, the situation still remains murky.
Speaking at the NFL Combine Thursday morning in Indianapolis, Schneider said again that Lynch has yet to tell the team if he will play in 2015.
“Not yet,” Schneider said. “I think everybody needs time away, especially at that position and the way he runs the ball. Time to hit the reset button. I’ve talked to his people a bunch, his representatives. He knows we want him to play.”
Asked if it would shock him if Lynch retired, Schneider said: “You know … not really. He’s a guy that kind of just beats to his own drum, He does what he wants, and he would never let you know one way or the other. A lot of great running backs have just walked away. So I have no idea.”
Asked if there is a deadline for when the team wants to know, Schneider said: “We’d like to know soon. Like I said, I’ve talked to his people. They know.”
Pressed on if there is a strict deadline date, he smiled and said: “Not for public knowledge. Sorry.”
Asked later if Lynch has given Schneider specific reasons for why he would not play in 2015, Schneider said: “No he hasn’t really. He’s the ultimate teammate. The players love him, so does everybody in the building. He’d really be missed. He hasn’t given us any indication that he would leave or anything. I was asked a question if it would surprise me, and it wouldn’t, just based on the individual. He works his tail off. You know, that’s a hard job that he has.”
As for a few other notes:
— Schneider said cornerback Jeremy Lane is having knee surgery to repair an injury suffered on the same play on which he also broke his wrist in the Super Bowl. Schneider said the wrist is not really the issue now but the knee is and that it is questionable if he will be ready for the start of the 2015 season.
— Schneider said receiver Paul Richardson is also questionable for the start of the 2015 season while rehabbing from a recent ACL surgery saying “that’s going to be a tough one” to get back by the opening of the season.
— He said safety Earl Thomas has yet to have shoulder surgery but that Thomas should be ready for the start of the season. “It’s a normal procedure so he should do well,” Schneider said, saying “no, no” when asks if there was a concern about not being ready for the start of the season. “Especially Earl,” he said. “He attacks everything.” Asked about Thomas being available for the start of training camp, Schneider said: “I’m not sure because we are going to monitor him and make sure we do what’s best for the long term. He is going to be fighting and scratching to be out there as soon as he can but we just don’t know where we will be.”
— At the moment, it doesn’t sound like there are any other significant surgeries. It sounds like Kam Chancellor will not need a surgery to repair the knee injury suffered on the Friday before the Super Bowl.
— Schneider said he has been in talks with Russell Wilson’s agent but said there is nothing really new to report on talks of a contract extension. “Uh no, no timeline really,” he said. “I’ve talked to his people. They know where we are at.’’
— Schneider said the Seahawks have talked to the agents of Jermaine Kearse, who is a restricted free agent, but said nothing has been done yet on offering him a tender or a new deal.
— Asked about unrestricted free agent Byron Maxwell and the possibility of losing him, Schneider said: “I’m sure, down here at the combine you are talking to a ton of free agents, so Byron’s people are going to do the same thing. We’ve had great discussions with them, we have a good relationship with those guys. Byron is one of ours, it’s just it would be hard to see him leave but I would think his market will be very strong. He’s a heck of a kid, a heck of a player but we are going to keep doing things the way we started here. Just keep drafting people and playing young people and trying to keep the players that we can keep, try to identify the players that we have to reward and make those tough decisions about players that are under contract that you may have to let go to create some cap room. Those are just tough decisions as you go. We are not going to change anything we do and so if Byron does move on, we’ll hopefully have another young Byron Maxwell out there. He’s a great guy.’’
— Schneider said last week on the radio that the Seahawks will have 10 picks in the 2015 draft including compensatory selections. But he acknowledged the team could have 11 — as many have projected. The team will find out March 22-25 at the NFL League Meetings. “I’ve been told 11,” he said. “But I don’t want to be disappointed so I’m thinking 10. So we only have 10 right now so I don’t want to be disappointed if we get to the owner’s meetings and it’s only 10. And it could be 10 and a higher fourth, too.”
— Schneider said March 19 was picked as the cutoff date in the Percy Harvin trade because that was “early enough in free agency for them (the Jets) to be able to move forward but early enough in the draft class for us to have a plan.”
We’ll know within a month …
Here are some more quotes from what Schneider had to say today:
Are you over the loss yet, and how did you feel about the final play call of the Super Bowl? “No, I’m not over it. I think it’s always going to stay with you. It’s a part of life, you know. There’s a lot of big games that I’ve been a part of that don’t go your way. Can go all the way back to high school if you want. No, I think it drives you.
On why running backs don’t get taken in the first round often anymore and if that will change this year: “You know, I don’t have an answer for that. I just know that every year you scout and evaluate like every position the runners that are out there, whether it’s free agency or the draft. I personally think this is a pretty good running-back group this year. I don’t have an answer for you whether it is cyclical or not.”
Across the league, do you think the running-back position is still valued? “I can’t speak for other teams, but I would think so. I would think everybody wants to run the ball and protect the ball. Yeah, it’s a huge part of it.”
And you’ve got a back that shows you obviously value the position? “Oh Marshawn? Yeah, he’s phenomenal. He’s a heartbeat guy. When you have a guy like that you do everything you can to let him go to work. The guy loves playing football.”
On wear and tear with running backs and if Lynch is unique in that way: “That’s a great question. He’s done a phenomenal job, especially these last two or three years, working down there in the Bay Area. He’s really done a nice job taking care of himself. Every time he’s come in he’s come in ready to go. This year he looked quicker and faster than he has in the last several years, especially before he started working down there.”
On if he trusts Christine Michael and Robert Turbin to take over if needed: “Robert’s a great player with his knowledge of the position. He can just step in a game and roll. He’s got more experience than Christine. Robert was our 2-minute back. Christine, he had a great fall (and) when Marshawn wasn’t around, was holding out. He had a great preseason and we expect big things for him as we move forward.”
On having the 32nd pick last year: “Yeah, that was fun.”
How important is that 32nd pick with the way the draft is now structured with the first round only on the first day, and how much were you fielding phone calls? “Last year was a little unique because of all the quarterbacks that were involved. We were hoping somebody wanted to move back up to grab one of the quarterbacks. We were just concerned that something was going to happen in front of us. … But No. 31 is better — if anyone is out there listening.”
WR Kevin Norwood, how do you expect his role to change? “Kevin was hurt early in training camp and had to catch up a little bit. As a rookie it’s really hard. Rookie receivers have a hard time anyway. He was doing great toward the end of the season. I know he was really disappointed he wasn’t able to dress for the Super Bowl. That was a very hard decision for us. But he’s a very reliable receiver, a really clutch guy. He acts like he’s been in the league for three years. He’s a real pro.”
On if the uncertainty in Lynch’s longterm future means they would think about scaling back his workload if he does come back: “I don’t think Marshawn I think like any other running back he just wants it, you know? And can’t blame him, that’s kind of how you roll that you get that feeling that you want the ball often. He actually does a great ob with his teammates where he wants them to get opportunities. He did it a ton with Justin Forsett, he did it in college with Justin. But I think he wants to carry the ball as much as possible.’’
On if Shaq Thompson looks like a safety or a linebacker at the next level: “I’d rather not get into how I feel about specific players and view them. I just know that being around Shaq, being in Seattle, that first of all he’s a great kid and everybody speaks very highly of him and he’s obviously extremely talented – I think he played several positions other than that.’’
On Chris Matthews and how he played at the end of the season: “Chris had a great camp. Obviously everybody loves big receivers You’d rather have a guy that looks like that rather than a guy that looks like myself – short, pasty white guys. Nothing against white wide receivers, — I wasn’t going down that road. But Chris had a great camp he just didn’t hit the 53. We had him on our practice squad for a minute, we were banged up, so we had to move on from Chris and he was out for probably about a month and we were able to get him back on our practice squad and get him back in the flow and he knew there were some things with the coaching staff that he needed to improve on. And he had done a really nice job in the pre season with the special teams — I think it was against Oakland that he almost blocked a punt. No, it was Denver. Anyway, he did a great job in the preseason on special teams so coach Schneider (Brian, Seattle’s special teams coach) was really excited to get him back out there — a big body that can run. And then it was really cool to see him get his opportunity and have a pretty big game. Just the way he attacked the ball in the air for a guy who is that tall, some guys tend to wait for it and he’s a guy that is really learning to go and take it out of the air and play like a big man. We kind of joke with him about it all the time — play like a big man.’’