RENTON, Wash. – The Seahawks’ first goal when they face Buffalo this weekend is to beat the Bills.
If they get that done, however, the Seahawks may also want to find time to offer some heartfelt thanks to Bills for finally giving into Seattle’s persistence two years ago.
You see, had Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll not been so hell bent on acquiring running back Marshawn Lynch in 2010, the Seahawks would not just be a team with a different running back, but rather one with a different identity.
Lynch is more than just Seattle’s leading rusher, he’s the heart and soul of an offense that’s primary goal is to punch an opponent in the mouth, then punch them in the nose (metaphorically speaking, of course) just for good measure. The play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has had a lot to do with Seattle’s offensive improvement this season, but above all else, the Seahawks are still a team that runs its offense through Lynch, who heading into a reunion with his former team, is enjoying the best season of his six-year career.
“I don’t know if anything is more symbolic than what we’ve done with Marshawn and him playing the way he’s played and him being the guy he is,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “I think he really is the key element to putting this thing together from the attitude perspective at least.”
If Carroll, who coached against Lynch at the college level, had his way, the Seahawks would have started the 2010 season with Lynch taking handoffs from Matt Hasselbeck, but it took a while to pry him away from the Bills. But finally, after weeks of phone calls, the Seahawks got Lynch a month into the season for what ended up being the bargain price of a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fifth-rounder.
“We went after him for a long time, and I just kept bugging John and bugging John,” Carroll said. “I mean it was eight or nine weeks or something, whenever we got him, we had been on it through the offseason and all of that. John probably called them back 10 times to get this done. … There were a number of times when John would look at me and say ‘Look, I just called them last week,’ and I’d say ‘Oh, come on, let’s try again. You never know.’
“We were very persistent about it and finally the opportunity arose for us. This is what we had hoped. We had hoped that he would be a big-timer and that we would make him fit in and feel comfortable and like his surroundings, and really contribute in a big way, and he has done everything. He’s done everything we could ask of him. He’s already off to the most productive season he’s had, with games to go. I couldn’t have told you how many yards he would’ve had, but I’m thrilled that he is in the position that he’s in, and that he has meant so much to our club.”
So what finally led to the Bills agreeing to a trade?
“I think John just wore them out,” Carroll joked. “I think that he wore them down after a while.”
Lynch, who declined to talk to reporters Wednesday, has been exactly what the Seahawks were hoping for, if not more, since getting a fresh start in Seattle.
Dating back to Week 9 of last season, no running back in the NFL has more rushing yards than Lynch’s 2,207, and this year his 1,266 yards ranks second in the league to Adrian Peterson. He is averging 4.9 yards per carry.
Receiver Sidney Rice sat out Wednesday’s practice with what Carroll described as a bruised foot, and his status for the weekend is unknown. Cornerback Walter Thurmond was a new addition to the injury report. He was listed as limited with a hamstring injury.